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NBA Mock Draft 2021: Edition 2 (Lottery Edition)

Evan Mobley, USC

 1. Detroit Pistons

Cade Cunningham, G, Oklahoma State

By winning the NBA Draft lottery, the Detroit Pistons also won the Cade Cunningham lottery. It would be shocking for them to go anywhere but the Oklahoma State product, a combo guard who checks just about every box an NBA team could be looking for. Cunningham was the catalyst on a Cowboys team coming off their best season in years.

2. Houston Rockets

Evan Mobley, F/C, USC

Evan Mobley is the ideal big man prospect for the modern NBA, a well-rounded forward/center who offers elite rim protection ability who can also step out and shoot the ball at a high rate. He'll need to bulk up to survive the physical NBA, as he is just 215 pounds, but he offers a perfect starting point for a Houston organization attempting to develop a core post-James Harden.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers

Jalen Green, G/F, G League

Unlike the other likely top selections in this Draft, Jalen Green didn't get the opportunity to show his stuff in the collegiate ranks, instead going right to the G League. Even so, he's almost certainly a lock to go somewhere in the Top 4. Cleveland makes the most sense as a landing spot, considering Jalen Suggs would be an odd fit next to Darius Garland and Collin Sexton on their current roster.

4. Toronto Raptors

Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga

Jalen Suggs had an impressive one-year stint at Gonzaga, capped off with his jaw-dropping buzzer beater to take down UCLA. He would be a major help for just about any team in the lottery but particularly Toronto, a team with a playoff roster who suffered through a frustrating 2020-21. The addition of Suggs could trigger the official end of the Kyle Lowry era, a guy who is clearly nearing the end of his long career.

5. Orlando Magic

Scottie Barnes, G/F, Florida State

There is a clear drop-off here after the Top 4 players in this cycle, which makes Orlando's position at five very intriguing. Don't be surprised if Scottie Barnes is the pick, a prospect who flashed serious two-way potential at Florida State but is still rounding out his game. The shooting mechanics are still a work in progress, but Barnes' raw tools are worthy of Top 5 consideration.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder

Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League

If you're looking for the ultimate wild card in the 2021 NBA Draft, look no further than Jonathan Kuminga. Kuminga reclassified and joined the G League, where he flashed elite athleticism but serious issues shooting the ball. He is just 18 years old and is still growing, but any team drafting him has to understand that he is a project. With a slew of picks over the next several years, OKC has no plans to win now, meaning they could take their time and wait on Kuminga to develop.

7. Golden State Warriors

Keon Johnson, G/F, Tennessee

With Klay Thompson set to return from injury, don't be surprised if this selection becomes trade bait for a Golden State team that wants to contend. However if they do stick firm, a name like Keon Johnson could make a lot of sense. Johnson could play an Andre Iguodala-esque role as an energy defender off the bench who can complement Klay and Steph Curry. Johnson's another guy who needs to work on his shooting touch, but when you're playing next to two of the greatest shooters of all-time, that shouldn't be a problem.

8. Orlando Magic

Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor

Davion Mitchell played a huge role in Baylor's National Title run this past season and he's one of my favorite prospects in this draft. Mitchell offers an explosive scorer on the offensive side, as well as a pesky on-ball defender going the other way. He might not have the ceiling of the younger prospects near the top of most boards, but he's well worth the pick here.

9. Sacramento Kings

Moses Moody, G/F, Arkansas

Another wing who should fall somewhere in the Top 10, Moses Moody goes pro after one productive season at Arkansas. He's a prospect who checks a lot of boxes; he's got good size and a long wingspan, he can defend, and he can shoot the three at a fairly good clip. Sacramento was one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA last season, so Moody fits a need.

10. New Orleans Pelicans

Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga

New Orleans needs to add shooters to help space the floor for Zion Williamson and others to operate. Enter Corey Kispert, a four-year contributor at Gonzaga who shot over 40% from three in each of the last two seasons. Kispert displayed steady growth throughout his time in Spokane and while he may be older than others in this cycle (22), he's still worthy of a lottery selection.

11. Charlotte Hornets

Jalen Johnson, F, Duke

Although Jalen Johnson's mid-season opt-out created plenty of negative media attention, the former Duke forward should land somewhere in the lottery. He offers serious playmaking potential and good size for a combo forward, although you wonder if he's a little bit of a tweener. Charlotte lacks much scoring punch in the frontcourt, but Johnson could change that.

12. San Antonio Spurs

Franz Wagner, F, Michigan

Franz Wagner struggled down the stretch in Michigan's loss to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament, but he's still a really interesting NBA prospect. He's got the size and versatility to play and defend multiple positions and he's a strong shooter. Wagner seems like the perfect fit for the Spurs, especially for a team that lacks much young talent on the wing.

13. Indiana Pacers

Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford

A former five-star recruit from California powerhouse Sierra Canyon, Ziaire Williams came to college with plenty of hype. He was solid in his one year with Stanford, but didn't dominate either, averaging 10.7 PPG on 37% shooting. Even so, his upside as a long, athletic wing makes him a lottery possibility who would fit nice with the Pacers.

14. Golden State Warriors

Alperen Sengun, F/C, Turkey

Possibly the top international prospect in this class, Alperen Sengun could sneak somewhere in the back-half of the lottery. Sengun is a throwback big with  soft touch around the rim who can also protect the rim. He could theoretically play alongside last year's first-rounder, James Wiseman, if needed but is more of a developmental piece at this point.

15. Washington Wizards

Isaiah Jackson, F/C, Kentucky

Washington is going to have an interesting off-season, as they decide what to do with their 1-2 punch of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. Either way, they could do to upgrade a frontcourt that has lacked adequate rim protection for some time now. Even playing on a Kentucky team that was a massive disappointment, Isaiah Jackson asserted himself as an elite defender with some raw offensive tools.

16. Oklahoma City Thunder

Kai Jones, F/C, Texas

Even though teammate Greg Brown entered the 2020-21 campaign as the most hyped Texas big man, it was Kai Jones who emerged as the best NBA prospect. Jones is a late bloomer, but he's displayed nice touch around the rim, a smooth mid-range jumper, and impressive defensive instincts. He's never going to be a superstar, but is the type of big that can put together a productive, steady ten-year career.

17. Memphis Grizzlies

Tre Mann, G, Florida

How Memphis chooses to upgrade their roster over the summer will be fascinating. Ja Morant is obviously the headliner, and Jaren Jackson and Dillon Brooks are nice complements, but the Grizzlies need more scoring punch. Enter Tre Mann, an explosive scorer who averaged 16.0 PPG and shot over 40% from three-point range. He'll have to play more off-ball than he did in college, but should be able to make the transition.

18. Oklahoma City Thunder

James Bouknight, G/F, UConn

With their third selection of the first round, don't be surprised if Oklahoma City takes a chance on a boom-or-bust prospect. James Bouknight doesn't quite that mold, as he has a fairly high floor, but he does have loads of potential. He's a pure scorer who was the heart and soul of a UConn team that suffered through a wacky 2020-21, with multiple COVID pauses.

19. New York Knicks

Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn

Derrick Rose and Elfrid Payton handled lead guard duties for New York this year and while they made a surprising postseason run, the Knicks can't trot out those two again. They take a chance on Auburn's Sharife Cooper at this spot, even though his fit with Tom Thiobodeau remains to be seen. Cooper missed a big chunk of the season due to eligibility issues, but displayed elite playmaking ability when he finally arrived.

20. Atlanta Hawks

Cam Thomas, G/F, LSU

Cam Thomas had an impressive one-year run with LSU in 2020-21, averaging 23.0 points per game. He's a dominant isolation scorer who excels at tough jump shots, but may fall a little bit because of his fit in an NBA offense. He's more of a two-guard than anything else, but is slightly undersized (6'4") for the position. Atlanta may choose to take a chance on him here, depending on how they feel about guys like Kevin Huerter or Cam Reddish going forward.

21. New York Knicks

Chris Duarte, G, Oregon

A prospect with "three-and-D" potential, Chris Duarte offers great value somewhere in the middle to late first round. He proved to be awfully efficient during his time with Oregon, averaging 17.1 PPG, while shooting 53% from the field and over 40% from three. Duarte could certainly go higher than this but if he's available, the Knicks would love to add more perimeter shooting.

22. Los Angeles Lakers

Josh Giddey, G, Australia

The next prospect from the "Down Under" set to make it big is Josh Giddey, a smooth, 6'8" point guard who played for the Adelaide 36ers. Giddey is the type of player that LeBron and Anthony Davis would love to play with, an extremely dynamic passer and playmaker who makes his teammates better. Don't expect him to be scoring 30 points a night, but he doesn't need to in order to carve out a nice role in the NBA.

23. Houston Rockets

Usman Garuba, F, Spain

Houston may have already added a big by taking Mobley second overall, but that doesn't mean that Usman Garuba doesn't make sense here. The Spanish forward/center is more of your classic back-to-the-basket big than Mobley, even if he's slightly undersized at 6'8". Garuba is a bulldog on the glass that can be a nice defensive asset as well. He reminds me a lot of a Reggie Evans-type, although he has potential to be more than that.

24. Houston Rockets

Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois

With James Harden long gone and a real lack of proven playmakers, Houston goes with Ayo Dosunmu from Illinois in this spot. Dosunmu was a three-year contributor in Champaign who stuffed the stat sheet full, putting up good scoring numbers, assists, and rebounds. He has the necessary tools to keep things going in the NBA, although his perimeter shot could use further refinement.

25. Los Angeles Clippers

Greg Brown, F, Texas

The Clippers are another team that could have a really fascinating off-season, depending on what happens in the Western Conference Finals (they're down 0-2 at the time of publishing). No matter what the front office chooses to do, they could use a fresh developmental piece, such as Greg Brown. The former high-profile recruit has unbelievable bounce and athleticism, but needs to round out his game to be an effective pro. At 19 years of age, he has plenty of time to figure things out, if he lands in the right spot.

26. Denver Nuggets

Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee

Denver's backcourt was hit hard by the injury bug last season, exposing a real lack of depth beyond their headline stars. Expect the Nuggets to address this problem over the off-season, and Tennessee's Jaden Springer falls into their lap nicely here. Although he didn't impress as much as his Vol teammate Keon Johnson, Springer showed nice shooting touch and real energy off the bench.

27. Brooklyn Nets

Jared Butler, G/F, Baylor

A skilled scorer with a genuine feel for the game, Jared Butler makes plenty of sense for a contender in the late first round. Butler is a winner who has the right mindset to fit in nicely on a team like Brooklyn, who obviously has a staggering collection of superstar talent in front of him.

28. Philadelphia 76ers

Josh Christopher, G/F, Arizona State

Josh Christopher is an intriguing prospect who has a wide range of where he might fall in the Draft. He was a consensus five-star prospect who surprised a lot of people by going to Arizona State, where he put up decent numbers on a bad team. He's most natural at two-guard but can even run point guard if needed, where he has displayed solid playmaking potential. His shooting numbers have to get better, as well as his decision-making.

29. Phoenix Suns

Daishen Nix, PG, G League

Devin Booker and Chris Paul have proven to be an elite backcourt duo for Phoenix and even many of their role players have stepped up, such as Cameron Payne. It's going to hard to replicate that going forward, particularly with Paul continuing to age. The Suns add a developmental piece here in Daishen Nix, a one-time UCLA commit who instead took the G League route. Nix is a smooth playmaker and fun to watch, who reminds me a lot of a raw, but more athletic, Steve Nash.

30. Utah Jazz

Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia

Utah has always been a team able to find value going the international route and they could do so again in the late first. Prkacin, who plays for KK Cibona in Croatia, has a nice skillset and can play both forward positions if need be. He's an average shooter right now, but his real strength is his ability to finish through contact at the rim. There's some untapped potential here, and the Jazz could be the right spot to uncover it.

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