NBA Mock Draft 2021: Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green still top two; Warriors grab trade chip in Jonathan Kuminga


Oklahoma State

• Fr

• 6’8″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

20.1

RPG

6.2

APG

3.5

3P%

40%

Occasionally you see some late chatter leading up to the draft indicating that the consensus No. 1 overall pick is no longer a consensus. That has not been the case with Cunningham, who by all accounts will go No. 1 in the draft. Most likely he’ll be taken by the Pistons, who will have a potential franchise-changing prospect to lead their rebuild. In addition to his obvious playmaking talents, Cunningham’s shooting far exceeded expectations at Oklahoma State, leading one scout to call him the “most complete prospect I’ve seen in my lifetime.” That’s just one person’s opinion, but they’re certainly not alone in that assessment.

Jalen Green

SG

USA

• 6’5″

/ 172 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

17.9

RPG

4.1

APG

2.8

3P%

36.5%

The murmurs about the Rockets preferring Green with the No. 2 pick have only gotten louder as the draft approaches, and while they could be a smokescreen to entice a trade-up from a desperate team, he certainly makes sense for Houston given his potential to be a No. 1 scorer and playmaker down the road. One scout told me he’d be shocked if Green never averaged 25 points per game in a season during his career, so a pretty safe bet for Houston’s future.

USC

• Fr

• 7’0″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Cleveland

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

16.4

RPG

8.7

APG

2.4

3P%

30%

The Cavs are reportedly taking calls from teams hoping to move up to No. 3, but ultimately I think Mobley is too good of a prospect — and frankly too good of a fit in Cleveland — to pass up. Described to me by a scout as a “7-foot wing,” Mobley has the mobility and skill on both ends of the floor to be a transformative piece for Cleveland. His upside is something akin to Anthony Davis, and his floor is high enough to know you’re almost certainly not picking a bust.

Gonzaga

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Toronto

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

14.4

RPG

5.3

APG

4.5

3P%

33.7%

The Raptors are reportedly considering Scottie Barnes at No. 4, which would give them one of the most imposing defensive lineups in the league, but Suggs is no slouch on defense himself and brings a lot more offensively — at least for now. Add in the fact that Kyle Lowry could be headed elsewhere in free agency, and it makes sense for Toronto to bring in a two-way combo guard with moxie who can play alongside Fred VanVleet in the backcourt or run the show while he sits.

Florida State

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 227 lbs

Projected Team

Orlando

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

10.3

RPG

4

APG

4.1

3P%

27.5%

There aren’t many players who have done better for themselves in the pre-draft process than Barnes, who has become a top-five prospect on many boards. He might not be the franchise-changing talent the Magic were hoping for before the lottery, but he’s a versatile, high-effort player who will help set the defensive culture to start Jamahl Mosley’s tenure as head coach. If Barnes gains the confidence and ability to knock down 3-pointers consistently, he has All-Star upside.

Connecticut

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 190 lbs

PPG

18.7

RPG

5.7

APG

1.8

3P%

29.3%

I’ve had Kuminga going to OKC here in recent mocks, but multiple reports indicate that Sam Presti and the front office have fallen in love with Bouknight, and with good reason. He’s impressed throughout the pre-draft process with his shooting, creation and athleticism. He has the upside of a 20-point-per-game scorer, and the floor of a heat-check bucket-getter off the bench, which seems like a worthwhile selection for OKC even though Bouknight is on the slightly older side, especially compared to Kuminga.

Jonathan Kuminga

SF

Congo

• 6’8″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Golden St.

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

15.8

RPG

7.2

APG

2.7

3P%

24.6%

A lot to unpack with the Warriors, so here we go. Golden State is getting pressure from its star players to draft win-now talent, but that all changes if Kuminga is on the board. Now you’re looking at a potentially elite prospect who needs a lot of development, but who could also help push your offer over the top in a potential trade for a superstar down the road. It might not make Warriors fans happy, but you can see the logic of taking the best upside prospect here, which is probably Kuminga, and then taking a player at No. 14 who is more ready to contribute right away.

Alperen Sengun

C

Turkey

• 6’10”

/ 240 lbs

Projected Team

Orlando

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

2nd

The Magic had Sengun in for a workout and are reportedly interested in taking him at No. 8, and he makes sense for a team on the verge of a rebuild with a gaping hole at center after the departure of Nikola Vucevic. The MVP of the Turkish Super League as an 18-year-old, Sengun is an extremely skilled post-up scorer who shows playmaking and shooting potential that could take his game to the next level. As with any big man there are concerns about how he will be able to guard in space, but at such a young age, an NBA training staff should be able to help improve his quickness and technique.

Michigan

• Soph

• 6’9″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Sacramento

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

12.5

RPG

6.5

APG

3

3P%

34.3%

The Kings are reportedly looking to trade this pick for win-now help, but Wagner could probably fit that bill to an extent while also giving them an asset for the future. Wagner is one of the best defensive prospects in the draft with his length and instincts, and the Kings were the worst defensive team in the league last season. Sacramento also wants to play fast with De’Aaron Fox at the helm, and Wagner can help it in transition as a finisher, or as a spot-up 3-point shooter if he gains more consistency.

Josh Giddey

SF

Australia

• 6’8″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Memphis

PROSPECT RNK

9th

POSITION RNK

3rd

The Grizzlies moved up to No. 10 from No. 17, and reports indicate that Giddey might be the reason why. An absolute virtuoso passer and playmaker who could develop into a solid 3-point shooter, Giddey would fit in on the wing next to Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. to create one of the most exciting young cores in the league.

Arkansas

• Fr

• 6’6″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Charlotte

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

3rd

PPG

16.8

RPG

5.8

APG

1.6

3P%

35.8%

The Hornets have a big hole at center, but it would probably be a reach to take Kai Jones or Isaiah Jackson this early. Instead they could go with Moody, a knockdown 3-point shooter with playmaking potential. Moody’s 6-11 wingspan should also make him a strong wing defender and allow him to earn major rotation minutes as a rookie. Unlike some, I actually see a lot of upside in Moody as a scorer, with a Khris Middleton type as the ultimate ceiling.

Baylor

• Jr

• 6’1″

/ 202 lbs

Projected Team

San Antonio

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

3rd

PPG

14

RPG

2.7

APG

5.5

3P%

44.7%

Davion Mitchell’s age (22), size (measured 6-foot in socks) and questions about whether his shooting last season was an anomaly might drop him to the back of the lottery, but the Spurs would be happy to get him into their system. Mitchell will be able to defend from day one, which will endear him to Gregg Popovich, and his shiftiness and finishing ability should translate right away. The Spurs are reportedly shopping Dejounte Murray and Derrick White, with DeMar DeRozan hitting free agency, so there could be ample opportunity in the San Antonio backcourt.

Duke

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Indiana

PROSPECT RNK

21st

POSITION RNK

6th

PPG

11.2

RPG

6.1

APG

2.2

3P%

44.4%

I’m not as high on Jalen Johnson as some, but I can definitely see why he’s viewed as a lottery pick. He said he sees himself as a big point guard in the vein of Magic Johnson, Penny Hardaway or Ben Simmons, which is slightly concerning, but his future could be as a four or even a small-ball five once he bulks up a bit. The Pacers have enough quality players to be patient with Johnson, which makes him a solid upside pick at No. 13.

Oregon

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

Golden St.

PROSPECT RNK

27th

POSITION RNK

10th

PPG

17.1

RPG

4.6

APG

2.7

3P%

42.4%

An absolute pure shooter, Duarte had a second workout with the Warriors, which means they’re at least considering him. Golden State won’t be scared away by him being 24 years old since it’s trying to win a title, and he’s actually reminiscent of Klay Thompson in the way he can shoot and with his defensive potential, so there’s no better place to learn from the master. With the Warriors taking an upside prospect in Kuminga at No. 7, it a makes sense to secure a win-now player like Duarte here.

Gonzaga

• Sr

• 6’7″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

5th

PPG

18.6

RPG

5

APG

1.8

3P%

44%

Assuming Bradley Beal starts the season in Washington, the Wizards might want to draft a more win-now piece to put next to him and Russell Westbrook. Arguably the best shooter in the draft, Kispert will space the floor and knows every trick in the book to get open off of screens. He’s probably not as good of a defender as the Wizards would like, but his size and strength should allow him to fill in immediately as a starter or off the bench.

Stanford

• Fr

• 6’8″

/ 185 lbs

PPG

10.7

RPG

4.6

APG

2.2

3P%

29.1%

Ziaire Williams is as intriguing of a prospect as they come, with potential All-Star upside — in other words, right in OKC’s wheelhouse. Williams is 6-10 with shoes, but is one of the best in the draft at creating space with step-backs and pull-ups. He suffered through an absolute nightmare of a season at Stanford amid the pandemic, but there’s no doubt that the talent is there. The Thunder have all the time in the world to develop him, so the fit makes sense.

Virginia

• Jr

• 6’9″

/ 206 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

26th

POSITION RNK

9th

PPG

11.3

RPG

3.4

APG

1.2

3P%

43.3%

I think Trey Murphy is one of the more underrated prospects in the draft, largely because he has a ready-made role as a 3-and-D wing, and he improved his stock at the draft combine. He took very few mid-range jumpers in his last college season in favor of NBA-level shot distribution. The Pelicans want to put as much shooting and defense as possible around Zion Williamson, and Murphy checks both boxes.

Usman Garuba

PF

Spain

• 6’8″

/ 229 lbs

With a 7-2 wingspan and tremendous technique, Garuba is perhaps the best defensive big in the draft besides Evan Mobley. Where the intrigue lies is in Garuba’s potential to be a Draymond Green-esque playmaker offensively, both in transition and in the halfcourt. It will take a while for that to develop, but OKC should be comfortable waiting amid a Process-like rebuild.

Texas

• Soph

• 6’11”

/ 218 lbs

Projected Team

New York

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

8.8

RPG

4.8

APG

0.6

3P%

38.2%

A raw athlete who is relatively new to the game of basketball, Jones is a rim-runner/lob catcher who shows potential switchability on defense and shot an intriguing 38 percent on 3-pointers last season at Texas in a limited sample size. It’s going to take a while for him to develop, but he could be an immediate backup to Mitchell Robinson and eventually even play alongside him if the shooting translates.

Tennessee

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 204 lbs

One scout I talked to ranks Jaden Springer ahead of Jalen Suggs in his projections. I wouldn’t go that far, but it explains the value that Springer could have at this point in the draft. The Hawks’ long-term backup for Trae Young, and Springer is big enough and stout enough defensively that he could even play alongside Young for stretches. Springer’s youth (turns 19 in September) makes him even more appealing in this range.

Tennessee

• Fr

• 6’5″

/ 186 lbs

Projected Team

New York

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

11.3

RPG

3.5

APG

2.5

3P%

27.1%

Just a few weeks ago, Johnson and his 48-inch vertical looked like a lock for the lottery. Since he’s been working out with teams, however, the stock seems to have dropped a bit. He still has all the upside in the world, though, so the Knicks would be happy to get him into their system and start developing a player with All-Star potential down the line if everything comes together.

Baylor

• Jr

• 6’4″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

L.A. Lakers

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

16.7

RPG

3.3

APG

4.8

3P%

41.6%

The Lakers need as much shooting and playmaking as possible off the bench, and Jared Butler will bring those in spades (now that he’s been cleared by the NBA’s fitness-to-play panel). He’s also a strong enough defender to hold his own on the league’s best defensive team. Butler will be 22 when next season starts, and he’s physically and mentally mature enough to contribute to a winning team right away.

Kentucky

• Fr

• 6’10”

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

32nd

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

8.4

RPG

6.6

APG

0.7

3P%

0%

Isaiah Jackson is a bit of a project, but has the chance to develop into an elite defensive center with his 7-4 wingspan and athleticism. He needs to add weight to his frame and will likely foul quite a bit to begin his career, but he shows significant promise as an offensive rebounder and handles the ball well for his size. Houston is in a full rebuild, so adding a player like Jackson, who needs some seasoning, is a smart play at this stage in the draft.

Auburn

• Fr

• 6’1″

/ 180 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

28th

POSITION RNK

7th

PPG

20.2

RPG

4.3

APG

8.1

3P%

22.8%

The Rockets are reportedly look to trade one of these picks in the 20s to move up, but if they keep it they might think about taking Cooper, one of the most dazzling playmakers in the draft with elite passing potential at the next level. He’s constantly putting pressure on the defense in transition and is a whiz in the pick-and-roll. His small stature and lack of shooting thus far in his career raise some flags, but he’s well worth a flier for Houston.

Illinois

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 200 lbs

PPG

20.1

RPG

6.3

APG

5.3

3P%

38.6%

I’ve loved Dosunmu for the Clippers since the beginning of draft season. They could use some scoring pop off the bench, and Dosunmu is one of the most polished scorers in the draft. If his 3-point shooting can hold up it will take him to the next level, but he’s still incredibly valuable as a mid-range jump shooter and pick-and-roll playmaker. His size and length will allow him to play multiple positions and fit into the Clippers’ switching defensive scheme.

LSU

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

8th

PPG

23

RPG

3.4

APG

1.4

3P%

32.5%

Talk about a bucket-getter. Thomas has the game, and the confidence, to eventually become a 20-point-per-game NBA scorer — he just needs to work on his efficiency. The Nuggets, like pretty much every team, are always looking for bench players who can create and put the ball in the basket, so Thomas would be a gem this late in the draft. He can also help pick up the slack until Jamal Murray returns from his ACL surgery.

West Virginia

• Soph

• 6’2″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Brooklyn

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

5th

PPG

15.9

RPG

3.9

APG

4.8

3P%

41.4%

If we learned one thing this season, it’s that the Nets need some backcourt depth. With Spencer Dinwiddie potentially leaving in free agency, McBride could slide in nicely as a combo guard off the bench capable of both scoring and facilitating. He’s also a tenacious defender with a powerful frame, which should make him ready to play right away. McBride’s stock has improved since a strong combine performance, and is looking more and more like a first-round lock.

VCU

• Soph

• 6’3″

/ 169 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

30th

POSITION RNK

8th

PPG

19.5

RPG

4.7

APG

2.1

3P%

37.1%

Nah’Shon Hyland is a pure scorer who started rising up draft boards following an excellent combine performance. He’s extremely confident, with tremendous range off the dribble, and has shown the ability to hit clutch shots. His offensive game, particularly his playmaking, needs some fine tuning, but he has the ability to provide bench scoring right away for the 76ers while also possessing potential for the future.

North Carolina

• Fr

• 6’11”

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Phoenix

PROSPECT RNK

38th

POSITION RNK

3rd

PPG

9.5

RPG

7.6

APG

1.4

3P%

0%

I’m not in love with Day’Ron Sharpe as a prospect, but I think the fit here makes sense for the Suns. He also opted out of the combine and has been somewhat elusive with team workouts, leading some to believe that he has a promise from somebody. Phoenix could have used a bruising, offensive rebounding backup center in the playoffs, and Sharpe brings that physicality with the added bonus of passing ability. He’s not going to stretch the floor yet (though he’s shown promise in that regard), but that’s presumably what they drafted Jalen Smith to do. Sharpe would give Monty Williams another big option off the bench, with a slightly different look.

Arizona State

• Fr

• 6’5″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Utah

PROSPECT RNK

37th

POSITION RNK

15th

PPG

14.3

RPG

4.7

APG

1.4

3P%

30.5%

Josh Christopher has all the upside you want in a late first-rounder, and is somewhat of a mystery since he only played 15 games at Arizona State. He has NBA athleticism and creates tremendous space off the dribble with a confident mid-range and 3-point stroke. Utah can give him time to develop, but if he impresses early there could be a rotation spot up for grabs.



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