Could Warriors, Raptors strike NBA draft trade for Jalen Suggs?

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Could Warriors strike NBA draft trade with Raptors to land Suggs? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

With the 2021 NBA Draft a week away, the Warriors reportedly have been very active in trade discussions for the No. 7 pick.

Conventional wisdom would assume such a deal would be in exchange for veteran pieces or part of a larger package for a star, but there is another option. Could the Warriors be eyeing a trade up the board? We've already discussed the possibility of Golden State leaping up to No. 1 for Cade Cunningham or to No. 3 if the Cleveland Cavaliers want to move down.

However, the most likely trade-up partner might be the Toronto Raptors at No. 4. While most assume the Raptors will select Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs to replace pending free agent Kyle Lowry, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie reported Wednesday that Florida State forward Scottie Barnes also is in the equation and Toronto could make the pick available for a trade down.

If the Raptors are indeed infatuated with Barnes and want to trade down, the Warriors could present a possible trade partner, allowing Toronto to move down three spots to No. 7 and add more draft capital with the No. 14 pick.

The Warriors are in need of a secondary scorer who can shoot from the outside and attack the rim. Suggs, the consensus No. 4 player in this draft, would fit that need and be worth the price to move up.

The 20-year-old guard is an explosive athlete who many project to become an All-Star in the future. He's a terrific driver with a great feel for the game. In his lone season at Gonzaga, Suggs averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from deep. His shot needs a little improvement, but there is no reason to think the notoriously hard-working Suggs won't be able to get to a point where he can consistently be a threat from deep. Even now, his shot is good enough to be seen as a threat from outside at the NBA level.

The Warriors are in win-now mode and would prefer to either deal their picks for veteran players who are a proven commodity or select a player who can provide immediate help to a team looking to get back into title contention.

If they do stick at No. 7 and No. 14, options such as Moses Moody, Josh Giddey, Chris Duarte and James Bouknight are appealing players who have skills that will help the Warriors next year. Jonathan Kuminga could be tough to pass up if he falls to No. 7, but he's seen as more of a project for a team in win-now mode.

Suggs, however, is exactly the type of player the Warriors would like to acquire in the draft. He has few holes in his game, can both initiate the offense and play off the ball, is a fearless rim attacker, good passer and has All-Star upside.

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The issue with this scenario is that the Raptors would, in theory, be trading down with Barnes as their target. But recent reports suggest that the Orlando Magic, who sit at No. 5, also are heavily interested in Barnes, which would preclude the Raptors from trading down. In this scenario, the Raptors would have to be confident that Barnes would fall past both the Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 6.

There will be no shortage of rumors in the week leading up to the NBA draft, and the Warriors certainly will be the center of many. A trade-up scenario isn't the most likely route for the Warriors, but if the Raptors are open for business, it's worth a call for Golden State to land Suggs, who fits what the Warriors are looking for.

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