Auburn basketball: B/R projects Rockets drafting Sharife Cooper in 2021

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

Bleacher Report believes Sharife Cooper could be headed to Houston in the 2021 NBA Draft, with the Rockets selecting the Auburn basketball star in the late lottery.

Last night was a major night for both the Houston Rockets and for Auburn basketball.

More relevantly to why you’re reading this article right now, the Tigers were able to pick up a major conference win over SEC rival Georgia due to the spectacular play of Sharife Cooper.

As my co-editor Mary Kate Hughes wrote this morning, Cooper’s play against the Bulldogs was worthy of praise, not whatever baseless venom Dan Dakich was spewing after saying Cooper’s play was going to “fall off” after his debut against Alabama:

"When it was all said and done, Sharife Cooper had accumulated 28 points, 12 assists, and five rebounds, leading the Tigers to a 95-77 win over the Bulldogs.I wouldn’t exactly call that “falling off” after the first game.Not to mention that Sharife simply makes this Auburn team better as a whole. His fantastic ability to read the floor allows him to create space for his teammates and set them up for low-block dump-offs and spectacular alley-oop finishes…which is exactly what he was recruited for all along. As a true point guard, Sharife helped six teammates put up double figures and set a new career-high himself."

Dakich is a fool, and his opinion doesn’t represent the majority of the basketball-watching world.

In fact, according to Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, Cooper could be selected to the Houston Rockets in the late lottery of the 2021 NBA Draft:

"14. Houston Rockets (via Thunder): Sharife Cooper (Auburn, PG, Freshman)Finally ruled eligible, Cooper debuted with 26 points and nine assists against Alabama on Saturday, showcasing his value as a shot-creator and playmaker. Auburn teammates were looking at open shots all day thanks to Cooper’s ability to break down the defense and find shooters and lob targets off the dribble. His shooting and decision-making looked shaky, but they can improve. There isn’t any teaching Cooper’s knack for consistently creating high-percentage looks, either for himself or others."

Now, I did mention the Rockets were in the news yesterday as well…here’s why:

For those that live under a rock, the Rockets just traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in one of the all-time blockbuster trades the NBA has ever seen.

Two All-Stars (Harden, Victor Oladipo), three teams (Houston, Brooklyn, Indiana), four draft picks, four pick swaps, and several possible All-Stars (Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen) were all moved on Wednesday night.

With Harden gone, the Rockets may be able to band together with their new core of Victor Oladipo, John Wall, Christian Wood, Eric Gordon, and DeMarcus Cousins.

Either way, there is clearly a playmaking void left by Harden’s presence. We’re not saying Cooper could immediately fill it in 2021, but, like Harden, Cooper is a dynamite scoring/playmaking guard projected to be drafted in the late lottery.

No one is talking me out of thinking Cooper’s stock could only continue to rise as he continues to storm through the SEC, leading Auburn basketball as the team with the biggest chip on their shoulders.

Kentucky, YOU’RE NEXT.

*cue Goldberg music*.

War Eagle!

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