Chris Mannix welcomes analyst Fran Fraschilla to break down how well Jalen Green will be this season with the Rockets' young roster, why the Raptors chose Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs, Alperen Şengün's impressive Summer League play and Sam Presti's choice to nab Josh Giddey at No. 6.
Chris Mannix: All right, I want to jump into some Summer League stuff, and I want to start Fran right at the top, with the top three guys. I wrote about this a little bit last week over at SI, where I think five years from now, we're probably going to have a pretty interesting discussion about these top three picks: Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley.
In Cade Cunningham, I see a player that can't miss in a way. I think he's going to be a regular rotation player no matter what. I think he has the potential to be way better than that of course, like an All-Star, All-NBA, all those things. But I don't see how Cade Cunningham is not a pretty high-level starter on your team. The difference I see in Cunningham and Jalen Green is that I think Jalen Green has superstar potential.
I think Jalen Green is going to be the winner of Rookie of the Year because he's going to put up some incredible numbers this year in Houston. And I think as his body fills out, when you look at the skill set and the shot-making ability and how he gets the basket and all the things you know that are going to improve with him in the years to come, I think he has the highest ceiling out of all three.
Mobley, to me, is the biggest question mark. I look at Evan Mobley and I see not unique talents—that's probably too strong, but rare talents in a big man, Chris Bosh–like talents in a big man, maybe a better passer than Chris Bosh was at different points in his career. But I don't see a lot of aggressiveness in him, and I wonder if that's going to cost him. Physicality, he's got to get stronger as well. But the mental toughness that I think you need to see from great players, I haven't seen that yet, either in college or at this summer league from Evan Mobley. So give me your take on the top three guys and I'll kind of follow up with you.
Fran Fraschilla: I agree with everything you said. Now, the thing about Cade Cunningham, and that's a guy I watched very closely because I cover the Big 12, and I know the program really well. And of course, I also have lived in Dallas for many years, and I know Cade from back then. The thing about Cade that I think you have to understand, the reason I think he was the No. 1 pick is he was the safest pick of the guys you mentioned. Plug him in right away, high skill level. But I will say this about Cade that I think people still continue to overlook. His feel for the game and his ability to make his teammates better, I think is going to be his greatest strength in the league. I think it's incumbent upon Troy Weaver, who, by the way, has had two great drafts in my opinion, and they're stockpiling some nice young players. I think Cade Cunningham's greatest strength, Chris, is going to be that when they put more talent around him and free agents decide that that's a destination, that his ability is going to be enhanced. Incredible IQ for the game, great passer, great in pick-and-roll, actually a really good off-ball defender. He just has a knack. He has an "it" factor.
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