NBA

2021 NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Cade Cunningham goes No. 1 to Houston Rockets; Davion Mitchell taken in top 10

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Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

20.1

RPG

6.2

APG

3.5

3P%

40.0%

The size, the skill, the craft and the easily projectable nature of Cunningham’s game make him the obvious pick here for Houston at No. 1. Players with his size who can create are at a premium in the NBA, and he has already shown he can star in a feature role in college. Scouts have some questions about his athleticism and burst and how that might affect his impact in the NBA, but they are more nitpicks than true concerns for the most well-rounded prospect in this draft.

Southern California

• Fr

• 7’0″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

16.4

RPG

8.7

APG

2.4

3P%

30%

There are only a handful of true difference-making bigs in the NBA, but Mobley projects in time to be one of the select few. The 7-foot USC product is a fluid athlete who can defend post to perimeter and has natural abilities around the rim as a shot-swatter, lob threat and generally disruptive, impactful two-way presence. I don’t typically rate bigs very high out of principle because it is often a position you can skimp on when building a team, but Mobley is a rare exception who is squarely in the running to unseat Cunningham as the top pick.

Gonzaga

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Minnesota

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

14.4

RPG

5.3

APG

4.5

3P%

33.7%

Tough, competitive two-way force from Gonzaga who projects as a lead guard at the next level, Suggs could be a franchise-caliber prospect to add to Minnesota’s burgeoning core. Didn’t put up huge numbers on a loaded Zags team, but a true game-changer who affects the game at every level and showed enough as a shot-maker (33.7% from 3) to warrant top-three consideration.


Jalen Green


SG

USA

• 6’5″

/ 172 lbs

Projected Team

Orlando

PROSPECT RNK

4th

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

17.9

RPG

4.1

APG

2.8

3P%

36.5%

Not only did Jalen Green not look out of place in his season with the G League Ignite team, but he was a star. He averaged 18 points per game and made 36.5% of his 3s, showcasing the shot-making and defensive prowess that’s locked him in as a surefire top five pick in this class.


Jonathan Kuminga


SF

Congo

• 6’8″

/ 205 lbs

PPG

15.8

RPG

7.2

APG

2.7

3P%

24.6%

There are some obvious flaws in Kuminga’s game that bubbled to the surface while playing for the G League Ignite team — his 3-point shooting dipping below 25% for the season and his general shot-making still lagging being the most obvious — but there’s also a lot to like here, too. The 18-year-old has a strong frame, a good defensive baseline and some nice skills to build off that could in time make him a superstar in the league.

Baylor

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

3rd

PPG

14

RPG

2.7

APG

5.5

3P%

44.7%

Massive jump for Davion Mitchell, one of the true breakout stars of the NCAA Tournament. He’s a bit older — he’ll turn 23 later this year — but this draft really drops off after the first five so this is a fine range for him. With his impact as a lockdown defender, basket-maker with burst and overall creator with the ball, I bid you good luck finding someone who is more sound on both ends as a guard at this spot.

Connecticut

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

Cleveland

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

18.7

RPG

5.7

APG

1.8

3P%

29.3%

An in-season elbow injury and subsequent surgery derailed Bouknight’s big season momentarily, but he returned for UConn and continued to showcase his lottery talent with his shot-making and shot-creation skills. Bouknight is a bucket. Don’t love his sub-30% 3-point shooting, but I am a believer in the shot, the athleticism and the Lou Williams-like swagger of his game as an offensive weapon.

Texas

• Soph

• 6’11”

/ 218 lbs

Projected Team

Toronto

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

8.8

RPG

4.8

APG

0.6

3P%

38.2%

Lots to like about Jones’ game, from his freakish athletic ability, shooting chops and overall upside given his 6-foot-11 frame and body control. But he remains something of a project. In this draft he’s a big unknown. Though talent evaluators love his potential, they know he’s a developmental play with the hopes he hits long term.

Tennessee

• Fr

• 6’5″

/ 186 lbs

Projected Team

Orlando

PROSPECT RNK

9th

POSITION RNK

5th

PPG

11.3

RPG

3.5

APG

2.5

3P%

27.1%

A springy forward with freakish athleticism who can make plays above the rim, Keon Johnson is a marvelous talent whose potential is obvious. He was impactful as a freshman for a top 20 Tennessee team and should be considered a legitimate top 10 talent in this draft class if the shot starts to fall. It’s a bit of a gamble on raw potential, but the defense and handles give him a sturdy foundation to keep building on.

Florida State

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 227 lbs

Projected Team

Sacramento

PROSPECT RNK

17th

POSITION RNK

12th

PPG

10.3

RPG

4.0

APG

4.1

3P%

27.5%

There is very real concern about how good Barnes is — and will be — as a player on offense in the NBA. Outside of his handles and passing, there’s a lot of work left for him to reach his ceiling. But he’s 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan who can defend at a high level and has the physical tools to be a lottery pick. So I expect this range for him is about right.

Arkansas

• Fr

• 6’6″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

8th

PPG

16.8

RPG

5.8

APG

1.6

3P%

35.8%

The numbers for Moody in the NCAA Tournament were respectable — 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game — but Moody’s stock is on the downslope. He did not perform well in March Madness. He combined to shoot 6 of 30 in two games and went 0 for 7 from 3-point range. Tough end to the season for a 3-and-D wing, though the body of work this season is going to keep him in lottery range.

Tennessee

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 204 lbs

Projected Team

Indiana

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

6th

PPG

12.5

RPG

3.5

APG

2.9

3P%

43.5%

Some serious moxie to Jaden Springer’s game accompanied by some real skill he showed at Tennessee as a scorer and facilitator. I like the wiggle I’ve seen from him with the ball in his hands, too. He plays with so much confidence and poise it’s hard not to buy in to what his NBA role can be as a two-way guard who can do a little of everything.

Florida

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

Golden St.

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

7th

PPG

16

RPG

5.6

APG

3.5

3P%

40.2%

Florida turned the keys over to Tre Mann to cook over the final stretch of the season. The result of that was gigantic for his draft stock, as he averaged 18.1 points per game over his last seven and added a 30-burger to his resume against Tennessee and its stacked backcourt in that stretch. He really grew over the course of the season as a shot-maker and is oozing with NBA talent as a creator from the guard spot, even if it’s not likely as a lead guard.

LSU

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

San Antonio

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

9th

PPG

23

RPG

3.4

APG

1.4

3P%

32.5%

Thomas led all SEC players as a freshman in scoring (23.0 PPG) this season, and while his efficiency was just OK (32.5% from 3, 30.6% from FG), he definitely showed NBA-caliber shot-making. He took a massive volume of LSU’s shots and a lot of those had a high degree of difficulty as teams keyed in on him. He’s been a scorer at every level as a prospect and should fit into a similar role in the NBA.

Michigan

• Soph

• 6’9″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Charlotte

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

10th

PPG

12.5

RPG

6.5

APG

3

3P%

34.3%

Probably not a future All-Star, almost certainly a high-level role player — that’s the selling point for Franz Wagner. At Michigan as a sophomore this season he did a bit of everything, from hitting 3-pointers to creating to playing top-shelf defense. He does so many different things at a high level it’s easy to see why teams would like him in this range. There’s an obvious role for a 6-9 forward who can do all of those things — and well — at the NBA level.

Oregon

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

New York

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

11th

PPG

17.1

RPG

4.6

APG

2.7

3P%

42.4%

He’s 23 years old (and will turn 24 in June) but Duarte’s ability to defend at a high level and shoot the 3 has him in first-round territory after a strong senior season. He averaged 22 points, 6.5 assists and 4.0 boards in two NCAA Tournament games and shot a career-best 42.4% from 3 on the year. A 3-and-D type player who can really shoot it — and make it — in myriad ways.

Illinois

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 200 lbs

Projected Team

Boston

PROSPECT RNK

18th

POSITION RNK

13th

PPG

20.1

RPG

6.3

APG

5.3

3P%

38.6%

I have no problem admitting that I have been, am and likely always will be the high guy on Dosunmu. He came back as a junior and improved significantly as a 3-point shooter and answered the only real question lingering about his NBA prospects, which was his ability to shoot it. Whether he’s a starting point guard or one of several rotation guards is irrelevant to me; he can add value as a shooter and is electric with the ball in his hands.

Kentucky

• Fr

• 6’10”

/ 205 lbs

PPG

8.4

RPG

6.6

BPG

2.6

3P%

0%

Modern-day big man from Kentucky who swatted 2.6 shots per game last season. Not a real threat as a creator or on offense, but can finish lobs, plays great defense, has good mobility and can make things happen around the rim.

Duke

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Memphis

PROSPECT RNK

20th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

11.2

RPG

6.1

APG

2.2

3P%

44.4%

There’s a lot of mixed reviews on Johnson’s prospects — he underwhelmed at Duke and opted out late in the season, after which the Blue Devils immediately went on a four-game winning streak — but he’s a former blue-chip recruit who still has good size, good playmaking ability in transition and above-average passing skills for a player his size. He won’t slip out of the first round, but he likely won’t be the top 10 pick most expected he’d become either.

Gonzaga

• Sr

• 6’7″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

25th

POSITION RNK

5th

PPG

18.6

RPG

5

APG

1.8

3P%

44%

No way to sugarcoat this: Kispert really struggled in the NCAA Tournament. Best known for his shooting and spot-up skills, he went 9 of 28 from 3 in his final four games and really had a hard time in the title game with Baylor’s length and athleticism. He finished the season hitting 44% of his 3s and should level out as a first-rounder because of his quick shot and consistency as a scorer, but his stock has dropped from surefire lottery pick to being drafted closer to the 14-24 range.

Stanford

• Fr

• 6’8″

/ 185 lbs

Projected Team

New York

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

3rd

There were some really good moments for Ziaire Williams as a shot-maker, but his production at Stanford this season was inconsistent and inefficient, dropping him from the lottery to mid-to-late first territory. Still, he has the talent as a scorer to be a nice buy-low candidate for a team hoping that his one-and-done season can be built upon and that his slender frame can stand to add some muscle. Improving on both could return lottery value late in the first round.


Josh Giddey


SF

Australia

• 6’8″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

L.A. Lakers

PROSPECT RNK

28th

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

11.1

RPG

6.9

APG

6.6

3P%

31.8%

One of the fastest rising international prospects in this draft, Giddey is breaking out in the NBL Australia for Adelaide as a modern-day guard/wing who can create, score and rebound. Reminds me a bit of what was so appealing about Deni Avdija as a prospect last draft because of the size and handles. Can do a little of everything on offense and the shot appears to be improving.

UCLA

• Soph

• 6’6″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

21st

POSITION RNK

15th

PPG

16

RPG

4.1

APG

1.6

3P%

35.3%

A month ago, Johnny Juzang was barely on the NBA Draft radar. But his shot-making in the NCAA Tournament requires us to take him seriously. What he did for UCLA — averaging 22.8 points on 51% shooting as the Bruins went to the Final Four as an 11 seed — cannot be ignored. Teams will want to see him do it more consistently, so the pre-draft process for him will be fascinating if he declares. But he made tough shot after tough shot in the tourney. What he sustained over the course of the last month of the season is no fluke.


Usman Garuba


PF

Spain

• 6’8″

/ 229 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

3.7

RPG

4.1

BPG

.52

FG%

46.1%

Undersized big at 6-8, but a big game to back up first-round credentials. Garuba’s long been considered an elite defensive prospect who is raw on the other end, and that remains true of him. Still, what he can do on defense defending almost any position is going to be of immense value in this range of the draft even knowing his flaws on offense.

Baylor

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 195 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

19th

POSITION RNK

14th

PPG

16.7

RPG

3.3

APG

4.8

3P%

41.6%

Really did not perform particularly well in the NCAA Tournament … until it mattered. Butler finished Baylor’s run off strong, accounting for 39 points on 8-of-13 shooting from 3-point land in the Final Four and title game combined en route to winning MOP honors. He’s going to be an intriguing late-first flier because of his high ceiling; he can shoot the rock at a high rate from anywhere and is a capable creator and passer.

Auburn

• Fr

• 6’1″

/ 180 lbs

PPG

20.2

RPG

4.3

APG

8.1

3P%

22.8%

Not a perfect prospect, but a fit I really like with Cooper to L.A. He has the best and most creative passing package among guards in this draft and it’d be a nice add for the Clippers, who have all the weapons capable of capitalizing on that skill set. If not for his tiny frame and struggling shot from distance, Cooper would be a top-10 talent in this class.

North Carolina

• Fr

• 6’11”

/ 265 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

29th

POSITION RNK

7th

Sharpe is more of a traditional big man than modern-day big. He doesn’t shoot 3s and is pretty limited offensively overall. But in bursts he made nice reads as a passer and has a limitless motor that will allow him to excel on the boards in the NBA. There’s a lot of untapped potential here, with his skill set fitting a need for Philly as Joel Embiid’s backup.

Texas

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Brooklyn

PROSPECT RNK

30th

POSITION RNK

8th

PPG

9.3

RPG

6.2

APG

0.4

3P%

33%

The athleticism for Brown is off the charts. And he very much caught the eyes of scouts with some flashes he showed as a shot-creator and scorer. But, he’s something of a black hole on offense; if he gets the ball the shot is going up. First-round prospect on talent alone, but still most definitely a developmental player who could use some refinement. One of the more fascinating stay-or-go decisions to monitor.

Arizona State

• Fr

• 6’5″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Phoenix

PROSPECT RNK

31st

POSITION RNK

18th

PPG

14.3

RPG

4.7

APG

1.4

3P%

30.5%

This is a draft loaded with wing depth, which doesn’t help Christopher’s case. And Christopher himself didn’t help his own case last season. He shot 30.5% from 3 and posted an inefficient 43.2% mark from the floor for a very disappointing Arizona State team. Still, solid size for a scoring wing who has the ability to create and score. That’s probably enough to keep him in the top 35 or so of this draft.

Kentucky

• Fr

• 6’7″

/ 185 lbs

Projected Team

Utah

PROSPECT RNK

43rd

POSITION RNK

22nd

PPG

11.5

RPG

4.5

APG

1.6

3P%

30%

Started the season as a potential No. 1 pick contender, but Boston’s stock slipped after a really rough start to the season. He improved as the season went on though. Played with more confidence as a scorer and didn’t look out of place, with some nice games blended in. It’d make a ton of sense for a team like Utah to gamble on his potential here in hopes that his production becomes more consistent. Hard to find a 6-foot-7 wing with this kind of upside in the back half of the first round.



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