Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

NBA Mock Draft 2021: Edition 3 (Final Edition)

Scottie Barnes, No. 5 to Orlando

With the unique sports calendar this year, it's easy to forget that the 2021 NBA Draft wraps up this Thursday, with sixty prospects set to complete a lifelong dream of making the NBA. This year doesn't seem to have much intrigue around the No. 1 selection, but the rest of the first round could be awfully chaotic, with several huge trades possibly taking place. I never predict trades in my mocks, but I wouldn't be surprised if the draft order is shaken up quite a bit by the time both rounds conclude late Thursday night.

1. Detroit Pistons

Cade Cunningham, G, Oklahoma State

Barring some major change late in the process, Cade Cunningham will be the top selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. Cunningham stuck it out with an Oklahoma State team that was originally going to be ineligible for the NCAA Tournament and helped put together one of their best regular seasons in school history. He's the type of difference maker any team at the top of the lottery covets, and he immediately becomes the face of a Pistons franchise that has been floundering over the last several years.

2. Houston Rockets

Jalen Green, G/F, G League

Things get very interesting at the second spot, but rumors are swirling that Jalen Green is likely to be the selection. Green was one of the first big names to make the jump to the G League instead of college and while he had growing pains playing against professionals, he has already displayed rapid improvement. Green gives the Rockets a dynamic scorer who will guide them through the post-James Harden era.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers

Evan Mobley, F/C, USC

An athletic big who can both run the floor and space it, Evan Mobley will be able to fit in just about any NBA offense. While Cleveland does still have Kevin Love on the roster, it appears time to move on in the frontcourt. Mobley should be able to pair nicely with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, who have flashed serious upside.

4. Toronto Raptors

Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga

The Raptors had a frustrating 2020-21 season, but the roster can still contend, even with Kyle Lowry likely on his way out. Trading out may be a possibility, but with Jalen Suggs still available on the board, Toronto takes a chance. He's already an elite playmaker and clutch shot-maker, and if the jump shot is more consistent, he can be the best player in this class.

5. Orlando Magic

Scottie Barnes, G/F, Florida State

Although there remains a drop-off at pick No. 5, Scottie Barnes looks more and more like the selection here. The Florida State product flashed impressive versatility and scoring potential, even if his college production doesn't necessarily jump off the page at you. He's well worth the risk for an Orlando team that doesn't look like they will be contending any time soon.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder

James Bouknight, G, UConn

Few players in this Draft have had a meteoric rise quite like James Bouknight, who has gone from a late lottery selection to a possible Top 5 pick. He brings a proven scoring punch to an Oklahoma City roster that lacks much proven playmaking beyond Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. 

7. Golden State Warriors

Jonathan Kuminga, G/F, G League

With Klay Thompson back healthy next season, the Warriors are likely to return to serious contention in the Western Conference. With that in mind, this Top 10 pick may be better used adding a developmental piece, such as Jonathan Kuminga. Kuminga is a jaw-dropping athlete and has raw offensive tools but at just 18 years old, he will need time to figure things out in the NBA.

8. Orlando Magic

Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor

Davion Mitchell is one of my favorite players in this Draft, but he has an interesting range of where he could land. Some mocks have him as high as fifth to the Magic, while others have him dropping out of the lottery. My bet is somewhere in between, as Orlando picks him up with their second selection of the first round. Even if his playmaking ability isn't there right away as he transitions to the pros, Mitchell's on-ball defense are worthy of a lottery pick.

9. Sacramento Kings

Franz Wagner, F, Michigan

The Kings are going to be fascinating players on Draft Night, with rumors of a possible Buddy Hield trade circulating. If they do stay put at nine, Franz Wagner has been linked to Sacramento for some time. He offers a combo forward who could defend multiple positions and immediately bring spot-up shooting to a team that has lacked shooters for some time.

10. Memphis Grizzlies

Moses Moody, G, Arkansas

Moses Moody might not have the ceiling of others in this cycle, but he's a rock-solid NBA prospect. In his one season with Arkansas, he proved to be a capable defender, quality shooter, and natural athlete. He also offers ideal size for an off-guard, especially considering his massive, seven-foot wingspan. The Grizzlies would love a quality guard to pair up with Ja Morant, particularly when you consider the newly-acquired Eric Bledsoe is unlikely to remain in town long.

11. Charlotte Hornets

Alperen Sengun, F/C, Turkey

In a Draft that is underwhelming in terms of international prospects, Turkish big Alperen Sengun may take the cake as the best option from overseas. Despite being slightly undersized at 6'9", Sengun is a ferocious rebounder and solid defender who also shoots at a nice clip from the free throw line. He has been playing against professional competition in Europe for years, so the adjustment to the NBA should be smooth.

12. San Antonio Spurs

Josh Giddey, G/F, Australia

Josh Giddey, who spent this past season playing for the Adelaide 36ers of the NBL, is very much a Spurs-esque prospect. He's already an elite playmaker and intelligent basketball player for his age, and he has the chance to continue to grow as a scorer. Giddey is seeing his stock rise, to the point where he may be gone by the time the Spurs are on the board, but he'd be a nice get if he is available at this spot.

13. Indiana Pacers

Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga

Corey Kispert may take a backseat to former teammate Jalen Suggs as a prospect, but he proved that he was a key cog on a Gonzaga team that came one win away from a perfect season. Kispert grew from a limited, questionable athlete into a dominating offensive force with genuine power around the rim. He's older than most prospects in this Draft, but that shouldn't scare away teams in the late lottery.

14. Golden State Warriors

Chris Duarte, G, Oregon

After taking a chance on Jonathan Kuminga earlier, Golden State rolls with a safer, rather unexciting, selection in Oregon's Chris Duarte. Duarte may be a flashy athlete or lockdown defender, but he's an incredibly efficient scorer who hits the three ball at a quality rate. He's the type of winning basketball player an organization like the Warriors is always looking to add on the bench.

15. Washington Wizards

Trey Murphy, G/F, Virginia

It's unclear whether the Wizards will move forward with their core of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal but either way, they're going to need to add shooters to this roster. Enter Trey Murphy, a well-built wing with a smooth stroke. Murphy's offensive numbers aren't overly impressive while at Virginia, but that is never a program that is going to churn out high-scoring players.

16. Oklahoma City Thunder

Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford

Despite being a huge recruit, Ziaire Williams is a project at this point in his career. He has a lot of the offensive tools to be an elite scorer and impactful defender, but he still has serious holes in his game right now. Oklahoma City still has years before they are looking to seriously contend, meaning they can take a chance on a piece like this in the mid-first.

17. New Orleans Pelicans

Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee

One of the most intriguing players to watch on Thursday night is Tennessee's Keon Johnson. Some projections have him going comfortably in the Top 10, while others seem to think he'll drop to the late first. My guess again lands somewhere in between, offering New Orleans a high upside, two-way contributor with the pick they acquired in the recent deal with Memphis.

18. Oklahoma City Thunder

Kai Jones, F/C, Texas

Another player that is seeing his stock rise at the right time, Kai Jones certainly could be a lottery selection. Jones still has a fairly limited offensive game, but he offers a lot of things modern NBA teams are looking for: size, rim running potential, and rim protection. If he can polish his post game and perhaps grow a more effective mid-range shot, Jones could be a great pick here.

19. New York Knicks

Jared Butler, G/F, Baylor

Along with Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler was the fuel that helped guide Baylor to their first National Title in school history in 2020-21. He's not quite as flashy as Mitchell, but Butler is a deadeye shooter and tremendous leader on the court. Too often the Knicks have gone with the "flash" over the substance, but that should change with Butler here.

20. Atlanta Hawks

Cam Thomas, G/F, LSU

With a logjam of young players already on the wing, rumor is that Atlanta has looked into trading away Cam Reddish or other pieces. That should open up the door for Cam Thomas, who had a tremendous one-year run with LSU. Thomas has a proven scoring pedigree and lives for the big moment, but he'll have to become a better distributor if he is to pair with Trae Young.

21. New York Knicks

Usman Garuba, F, Spain

Already adding Jared Butler a little bit earlier, the Knicks go with a developmental frontcourt piece in Usman Garuba. Garuba reminds me a lot of a smaller Clint Capela; a beast on the glass, powerful offensive player, and decent on-ball defender. He'll add froncourt depth to a roster that desperately needs it if they want to contend in the East next year.

22. Los Angeles Lakers

Jalen Johnson, F, Duke

Kyle Kuzma could be on the move this off-season, but the Lakers could immediately find his replacement in the form of Jalen Johnson. Johnson has loads of offensive upside and had flashes during his short run at Duke, but he has plenty of room for growth. Who better to learn under than LeBron James and Anthony Davis?

23. Houston Rockets

Isaiah Jackson, F/C, Kentucky

With Kentucky coming over one of their worst seasons in program history, big man Isaiah Jackson is the best prospect set to come out of Lexington. Jackson is still a bit of a project on offense, but he's extremely active around the rim and already an elite shot-blocker. He's well worth a slight risk for a Rockets team with three first-round selections.

24. Houston Rockets

Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee

Don't be surprised if this selection becomes trade bait for a Houston team that will be very active, but if they stick firm, Jaden Springer makes plenty of sense. Springer is an elite defender who can play next to just about anyone in the backcourt. He's exceptional from mid-range and can occasionally create his own shot, but there's work to be done.

25. Los Angeles Clippers

Tre Mann, G, Florida

With Kawhi Leonard's status unclear for the 2021-22 season, Los Angeles is stuck in a weird sort of limbo as far as Western Conference contention goes. Either way, they'll need more scoring punch off the bench if they want to compete for an NBA Title. Tre Mann certainly fits that billing, as an explosive scorer out of Florida. He'll have to be more selective to survive in the NBA, but he has the talent.

26. Denver Nuggets

Nah'Shon Hyland, PG, VCU

Denver has traditionally been an organization that's able to find great value in the late first round and they have a potential steal here in the form of Nah'Shon Hyland. The VCU product isn't super well-known but is an impressive athlete with a 6'9" wingspan. Hyland's shooting numbers dropped slightly this season, but that was likely more of a result of him being the vocal point of the Ram attack than anything else.

27. Brooklyn Nets

Isaiah Todd, F/C, G League

Another team that should be willing to take a chance on a boom-or-bust prospect is Brooklyn, who is clearly a Finals favorite when fully healthy. Isaiah Todd offers great value in the late first as a tremendous athlete who has some wiggle to him. Todd was once a Michigan commit but like Green and Kuminga, instead chose the G League route.

28. Philadelphia Sixers

Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois

Will Ben Simmons be a Sixer next season? There's plenty of talk about him being traded elsewhere, but I wouldn't be surprised if Philadelphia trots him out for at least one more season. No matter what happens there, I like them adding a savvy playmaker like Dosunmu. Dosunmu was overshadowed by Luka Garza in the Big Ten this year, but was the best all-around player in the league.

29. Phoenix Suns

Quentin Grimes, G, Houston

Even though they ultimately came up short in the Finals, Phoenix had a marvelous postseason run this year. However, there's a chance that both Chris Paul and Cam Payne could move on over the summer, meaning the Suns will need to find some new faces to complement Devin Booker. Quentin Grimes has been rising up boards late and offers proven scoring punch.

30. Utah Jazz

Day'Ron Sharpe, F/C, UNC

Even though his one season in Chapel Hill was full of ups-and-downs, Day'Ron Sharpe is likely to land somewhere in the late first round. He's an active big around the rim who has the tools to become even more of a factor offensively, but he's still raw in many areas. Sharpe would definitely benefit from backing up Rudy Gobert for a season or two in Utah.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.