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NBA Mock Draft 2021: Cade Cunningham looks like No. 1 pick regardless of who wins lottery

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Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

1st

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

20.1

RPG

6.2

APG

3.5

3P%

40%

The Rockets, after trading James Harden to Brooklyn, clearly need another centerpiece — and Cunningham would have to be the pick if Houston indeed selects first. He’s a point guard with size who can shot-create, play-make and just generally take over games when the situation requires it, which he showed time and again in his one season in the Big 12.

Gonzaga

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Detroit

PROSPECT RNK

2nd

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

14.4

RPG

5.3

APG

4.5

3P%

33.7%

Detroit spent last year’s first-round pick on a point guard — but that shouldn’t prevent the Pistons from taking the top prospect available regardless of position, and, in my opinion, Jalen Suggs is that guy here. He’s a great competitor and top-shelf athlete who could easily play with Hayes and provide Detroit with multiple players who can initiate offense.

USC

• Fr

• 7’0″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Orlando

PROSPECT RNK

3rd

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

16.4

RPG

8.7

APG

2.4

3P%

30%

The Magic have some interesting young guards in Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz and R.J. Hampton, so adding an elite frontcourt prospect would make some sense. The best available is USC’s Evan Mobley, a one-and-done center who is perfectly suited for the modern NBA in the sense that he’s a true rim-protector who is capable, on the offensive end, of making plays off the bounce or shooting jumpers from the perimeter.


Jalen Green


SG

USA

• 6’5″

/ 172 lbs

PPG

17.9

RPG

4.1

APG

2.8

3P%

36.5%

Jalen Green is an elite scorer with good size for his position who could quickly establish himself as one of the main building blocks in Oklahoma City. His decision to skip college and play for the G League Ignite did nothing to damage his draft status in any meaningful way.


Jonathan Kuminga


SF

Congo

• 6’8″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Cleveland

PROSPECT RNK

5th

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

15.8

RPG

7.2

APG

2.7

3P%

24.6%

Most believe there’s a clear top-five in this draft with Jonathan Kuminga being the fifth of those five prospects. So assuming he’s available here, the Cavaliers would be wise to select him and add an offensively gifted athletic wing to a young core of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro.

Florida State

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 227 lbs

Projected Team

Golden St.

PROSPECT RNK

9th

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

10.3

RPG

4

APG

4.1

3P%

27.5%

There’s a strong belief that the Warriors will try to package this pick and move it for a veteran piece who is better equipped to help a core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green compete for another title next season. But if they can’t get that done, Scottie Barnes, Florida State’s latest one-and-done lottery pick, would make sense considering he could provide depth and versatility at multiple positions.

Baylor

• Jr

• 6’2″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Toronto

PROSPECT RNK

7th

POSITION RNK

3rd

PPG

14

RPG

2.7

APG

5.5

3P%

44.7%

With Kyle Lowry entering free agency, it might be wise for Toronto to add a guard who can play with, or behind, Fred VanVleet. The best available is Davion Mitchell, a tenacious on-ball defender whose playmaking ability (and shotmaking ability) helped Baylor win its first national title in history.

Arkansas

• Fr

• 6’6″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Orlando

PROSPECT RNK

15th

POSITION RNK

5th

PPG

16.8

RPG

5.8

APG

1.6

3P%

35.8%

If the Magic add Mobley with the third pick, they might be looking to go with a wing prospect here. Moses Moody was the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for Arkansas and one of the biggest reasons the Razorbacks made the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995.

Tennessee

• Fr

• 6’5″

/ 186 lbs

Projected Team

Sacramento

PROSPECT RNK

6th

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

11.3

RPG

3.5

APG

2.5

3P%

27.1%

The Kings finished with the worst defensive rating in the NBA this season, which suggests they could use a prospect who adds something on that end of the court. Keon Johnson is a great athlete who proved to be a terrific on-ball defender in his one season at Tennessee and projects as a nice two-way player in the NBA for many years to come.

Florida

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

New Orleans

PROSPECT RNK

10th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

16

RPG

5.6

APG

3.5

3P%

40.2%

The Pelicans still need to surround Zion Williamson with shooting, and adding Tre Mann would accomplish that goal. He shot 40.2% on 4.7 3-point attempts in his final season at Florida, where he also played and guarded multiple positions.


Josh Giddey


SF

Australia

• 6’8″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

Charlotte

PROSPECT RNK

12th

POSITION RNK

3rd

Gordon Hayward has missed 48 regular-season games the past two seasons, which is among the reasons the Hornets need to add depth on the wing. The selection of Josh Giddey would accomplish that goal and give Charlotte a perimeter player with size who has already proven himself against professionals in the same league where Charlotte star LaMelo Ball also played before coming to the NBA.

Kentucky

• Fr

• 6’10”

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

San Antonio

PROSPECT RNK

23rd

POSITION RNK

2nd

PPG

8.4

RPG

6.6

APG

0.7

3P%

0%

The midseason buyout of LaMarcus Aldridge left San Antonio with zero great options in the frontcourt. So using this pick on a big like Isaiah Jackson — whose block percentage of 12.7 ranked eighth nationally (according to KenPom) in his one year at Kentucky — could possibly help the Spurs find their next special rim-wrecking athlete.

Michigan

• Soph

• 6’9″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

Indiana

PROSPECT RNK

16th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

12.5

RPG

6.5

APG

3

3P%

34.3%

The Pacers need to add depth on the wing, and picking Franz Wagner would do exactly that. His 3-point shot must improve for him to meet expectations, but the fact that he shot 83.3% from the free-throw line this past season at Michigan suggests he’s capable of being an above-average perimeter shooter in time.


Alperen Sengun


C

Turkey

• 6’10”

/ 240 lbs

Projected Team

Golden St.

PROSPECT RNK

24th

POSITION RNK

2nd

With our without James Wiseman in Golden State’s future plans, the Warriors are pretty light in the frontcourt. Adding Alperen Sengun, a throwback center who has been a professional in Turkey since 2018, would qualify as a sensible move and give Steve Kerr someone who is already very comfortable catching the ball at the elbow and using a face-up game with nice footwork to score and draw fouls.

Connecticut

• Soph

• 6’5″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

Washington

PROSPECT RNK

8th

POSITION RNK

3rd

PPG

18.7

RPG

5.7

APG

1.8

3P%

29.3%

Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal combined this season to give Washington one of the NBA’s best starting backcourts, but there’s very little quality or creativity on the bench. James Bouknight could provide the Wizards with an extra guard who was offensively overwhelming for defenses in spurts in his final season at UConn.

Texas

• Soph

• 6’11”

/ 218 lbs

Projected Team

Boston

PROSPECT RNK

13th

POSITION RNK

1st

PPG

8.8

RPG

4.8

APG

0.6

3P%

38.2%

The Celtics badly need more talent and youth in the frontcourt, which makes taking a big swing on Kai Jones a reasonable plan. It’s a bet on his upside, sure, but the two-year product from Texas has a chance to be a stretch-big at the next level considering he made 13 of the 34 3-pointers he attempted this past season.

Oregon

• Sr

• 6’6″

/ 190 lbs

Projected Team

Memphis

PROSPECT RNK

17th

POSITION RNK

6th

PPG

17.1

RPG

4.6

APG

2.7

3P%

42.4%

The Grizzlies ranked 20th in 3-point field goal percentage this season and thus need to add shooting, which is something Chris Duarte could provide. The former National Junior College Player of the Year made better than 42% of the 5.5 3-pointers he attempted per contest this past season at Oregon, and there’s little doubt he has a game that’ll translate to the NBA.

Stanford

• Fr

• 6’8″

/ 185 lbs

PPG

10.7

RPG

4.6

APG

2.2

3P%

29.1%

The Thunder are in a total rebuild and should be focused on trying to add prospects who have a chance to be special. Ziaire Williams fits that description given that he’s a one-and-done wing with athleticism who was a consensus top-10 prospect coming out of high school.

Texas

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 205 lbs

Projected Team

New York

PROSPECT RNK

31st

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

9.3

RPG

6.2

APG

0.4

3P%

33%

Greg Brown is such a bouncy athlete that he’s worthy of first-round looks based on potential alone. If his 3-point shot continues to improve to the point where he’s a legitimate big who can stretch the floor, he could solve some long-term issues for the Knicks.

LSU

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 210 lbs

Projected Team

Atlanta

PROSPECT RNK

14th

POSITION RNK

4th

PPG

23

RPG

3.4

APG

1.4

3P%

32.5%

Cameron Thomas is a big-time scorer who led the SEC in points per game in his one season at LSU. The efficiency numbers weren’t great, but that’s largely because he was responsible for creating an unusually high percentage of the Tigers’ offense, which obviously wouldn’t be the case in Atlanta because of the presence of Trae Young.

Duke

• Fr

• 6’9″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

New York

PROSPECT RNK

20th

POSITION RNK

6th

PPG

11.2

RPG

6.1

APG

2.2

3P%

44.4%

It’s unclear if the Knicks will want to keep both of their first-round picks given the depth currently on the roster, but if they do adding a prospect like Jalen Johnson could be a great longterm play. He’s a former five-star prospect who shot above 44% from 3-point range over a span of 13 games before quitting Duke’s team midseason.

Gonzaga

• Sr

• 6’7″

/ 220 lbs

Projected Team

L.A. Lakers

PROSPECT RNK

18th

POSITION RNK

5th

PPG

18.6

RPG

5

APG

1.8

3P%

44%

The Lakers are always looking to add shooting around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Corey Kispert, who made 44.0% of the 6.5 3-pointers he attempted per game this past season at Gonzaga, is arguably the best shooter in this draft.

Auburn

• Fr

• 6’1″

/ 180 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

22nd

POSITION RNK

7th

PPG

20.2

RPG

4.3

APG

8.1

3P%

22.8%

Sharife Cooper is a little on the small side, which will likely be the thing that prevents him from being seriously considered for the top 10. But he’s such a gifted passer and playmaker that he would be a reasonable option here for a Houston franchise in a multiyear rebuild.

Villanova

• Soph

• 6’9″

/ 230 lbs

Projected Team

Houston

PROSPECT RNK

40th

POSITION RNK

6th

PPG

15.7

RPG

8.5

APG

2.2

3P%

28%

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was the leading scorer and rebounder for a Villanova team that won the Big East by multiple games. He’s not the best athlete, but his understanding of how to play, and his ability to be a pick-and-pop 4, could allow him to become a core piece for the Rockets, who are still probably years away from competing for a postseason spot.

Baylor

• Jr

• 6’3″

/ 195 lbs

PPG

16.7

RPG

3.3

APG

4.8

3P%

41.6%

Jared Butler, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four after scoring 22 points in the title-clinching win over Gonzaga, will enter the NBA with lead-guard skills and as one of the most accomplished shooters in his rookie class. He’s the type of guard who could help the Clippers from Day One.

Illinois

• Jr

• 6’5″

/ 200 lbs

Projected Team

Denver

PROSPECT RNK

26th

POSITION RNK

8th

PPG

20.1

RPG

6.3

APG

5.3

3P%

38.6%

Ayo Dosunmu improved enough as a shooter in his third season at Illinois to lock up a spot in the first round. The regularity with which he took over games in the Big Ten suggests he can be a big-scoring guard who could provide depth in Denver’s backcourt and help the Nuggets win immediately.

Duke

• Soph

• 6’9″

/ 235 lbs

Projected Team

Brooklyn

PROSPECT RNK

42nd

POSITION RNK

7th

PPG

18.3

RPG

6.2

APG

1.4

3P%

44.4%

A team with starpower like Brooklyn is always looking to add shooting to create more space. Undeniably, Matthew Hurt could do that given that he’s a wing with size who made 44.4% of the 5.3 3-pointers he attempted this past season at Duke.

Virginia

• Jr

• 6’9″

/ 206 lbs

Projected Team

Philadelphia

PROSPECT RNK

49th

POSITION RNK

14th

PPG

11.3

RPG

3.4

APG

1.2

3P%

43.3%

Trey Murphy had no problem adjusting to the ACC after spending his first two years of college at Rice. He’s proven over the span of three seasons to be a consistent high-level shooter, one who could be a nice addition to a Philadelphia franchise headlined by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Tennessee

• Fr

• 6’4″

/ 204 lbs

Projected Team

Phoenix

PROSPECT RNK

11th

POSITION RNK

5th

PPG

12.5

RPG

3.5

APG

2.9

3P%

43.5%

Jaden Springer made above 43% of his 3-point attempts in his one season of college, which is an encouraging stat even if it was on limited attempts. Among the youngest players in this draft, he could develop into an important backcourt piece who quickly improves the Suns defensively.

Arizona State

• Fr

• 6’5″

/ 215 lbs

Projected Team

Utah

PROSPECT RNK

37th

POSITION RNK

13th

PPG

14.3

RPG

4.7

APG

1.4

3P%

30.5%

The Jazz are at a point with their roster where they can afford to take a gamble on an intriguing prospect like Josh Christopher. He’s a guard with size who, in a limited number of games, showed a real ability to shot-create and score in ways that translate to the NBA.



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