Welcome to the 2021 NBA Draft. The Pistons are on the clock.
After winning Tuesday night’s NBA Draft lottery drawing, Detroit is in position to land a franchise-changing prospect with the No. 1 overall pick. But the Pistons aren’t the only team whose fortunes may have been changed by some ping-pong balls.
The Rockets, Cavaliers, Raptors and more could end up selecting key pieces of their rosters on July 29. This year’s draft class has some tremendous talent at the top, and a few of these young players will be expected to contribute immediately upon entering the league.
With just over a month to go until the picks start rolling in, here is Sporting News’ best attempt at a mock draft.
NBA DRAFT BIG BOARD: Ranking the top 60 prospects in 2021
NBA Mock Draft 2021, post-lottery edition
1. Pistons — Cade Cunningham, G, Oklahoma State (19 years old)
Cunningham is viewed as the consensus top pick because he has the size and skill set that all NBA teams covet. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game, and he shot 40 percent on 155 3-point attempts in his lone season with the Cowboys. The turnover numbers weren’t great (4.0 per game), but it should be noted that Cunningham was carrying a largely limited roster.
2. Rockets — Evan Mobley, C, USC (19 years old)
Mobley is the kind of big man that is built to excel in the modern NBA. He can protect the rim (2.9 blocks per game) but moves fluidly enough to stick with guards in the pick-and-roll. He also has the potential to grow as a perimeter threat offensively. The key to his development will be adding muscle to his frame (7-0, 215 pounds).
3. Cavaliers — Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (19 years old)
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Green emerge as the best pure scorer from this class, as he averaged 17.9 points on 46.1 percent shooting in 15 G League games. He is an outstanding athlete capable of finishing at the rim, even when he has to fight through contact. He needs to improve his playmaking and be more active defensively, but Green undoubtedly possesses tremendous upside.
4. Raptors — Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga (19 years old)
One of the biggest stars in college basketball last season, Suggs showed himself to be a terrific leader capable of functioning as a team’s primary offensive creator. While Suggs isn’t a long-range sniper (33.7 percent on 3-pointers), he should be able to develop into a more consistent shooter, and he is a smart off-ball cutter and screener.
5. Magic — Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (18 years old)
Much like Green, Kuminga is one of the best athletes from this group of prospects. His size, strength and winspan could allow him to eventually become a legitimate two-way wing, but he will need time to develop. Kuminga can be a ball-stopper offensively and doesn’t always bring the required intensity defensively. His shooting splits weren’t exactly inspiring (38.7/24.6/62.5 on field goals, 3-pointers and free throws), though it wouldn’t be fair to say his shot is completely broken.
6. Thunder — Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (19 years old)
There is a future in which Barnes makes multiple All-Defensive teams. Florida State threw him on just about every type of player, from lead ball handlers to back-to-the-basket big men. He has demonstrated an ability to be a good facilitator, but his shot must improve in order for him to earn respect from opposing defenders (27.5 percent from beyond the arc, 62.1 percent on free throws).
7. Warriors (via Timberwolves) — Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (22 years old)
Mitchell made a real impression during Baylor’s championship run, stifling any player put in front of him. While he is known as a tenacious defender, Mitchell’s most notable improvements came on the other end of the floor. He became an excellent playmaker (5.5 assists per game) and saw a dramatic jump in his 3-point shooting (32.4 percent in 2019-20, 44.7 percent in 2020-21).
8. Magic (via Bulls) — Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (19 years old)
Perhaps the best word to describe Johnson is explosive. When this guy drives down the lane and takes off toward the basket, good luck trying to stop him. He also uses that quickness and athleticism well on the defensive end to give opposing guards problems. Johnson’s main focus should be on extending his range, as he shot just 13 of 38 from beyond the arc at Tennessee.
9. Kings — Franz Wagner, F, Michigan (19 years old)
Wagner displayed versatility on both ends of the floor while at Michigan. He is a smart team defender who can bang with frontcourt players but hold his own against smaller guards. He can also affect the game offensively without eating up possessions, operating as an elbow passer, screener or spot-up shooter. He may not have the ceiling of the guys in front of him, but he could play in the league for a long time.
10. Pelicans — Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (22 years old)
One of the top shooters in this class (44 percent on 6.5 3-point attempts per game last season), Kispert’s accuracy and quick trigger should allow him to make an immediate impact at the next level. He isn’t an exceptional athlete, but he battles on the defensive end. He must continue to develop his dribbling skills so he can punish opponents who close out hard to the 3-point line.
11. Hornets — Alperen Sengun, C, Besiktas (18 years old)
An old-school, post-up big man, Sengun dominated the Turkish Super League, averaging 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 64.6 percent from the field. He has great touch around the rim and has shown a willingness to hit the open man. There are questions about his lack of shooting and defensive limitations.
12. Spurs — Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (19 years old)
Johnson only played 13 games at Duke, leaving the team in February in order to focus on preparing for the NBA Draft. His tantalizing talent was on full display at times, particularly his ability to create for himself and others in the open floor. Will those flashes of brilliance outweigh possible concerns about his maturity?
13. Pacers — Josh Giddey, G, Adelaide (18 years old)
Giddey won NBL Rookie of the Year after averaging 10.9 points, 7.5 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game. He understands how to manipulate defenses and create passing lanes. He isn’t a lights-out shooter (29.3 on 3-pointers) or out-of-this-world athlete, but there is reason to believe he will develop into nice piece of an NBA rotation.
14. Warriors — James Bouknight, G, Connecticut (20 years old)
Bouknight gets buckets. A natural scorer (18.7 points per game), the UConn star can find his way to the basket and hit contested jump shots off the dribble, an important skill for NBA guards. He will have to work on his passing and provide more consistent resistance on the defensive end, but he should provide plenty of offensive firepower.
Source: Read Full Article