With the 2021 NBA Draft date now set for July 29 and the Final Four right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for a mock draft.
The 2021 NBA Draft is a fascinating one for multiple reasons.
First, there is a lot of talent this year, specifically at the top of the draft. It’s full of players who will be around for a long time and at least a few All-Star-caliber talents.
Second, there are a ton of lottery picks that could be on the move. The Oklahoma City Thunder could have two top-five picks if the lottery balls fall right, as could the Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic. Many bad teams could miss out on high picks because of this, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, and Chicago Bulls.
To do this fairly, the lottery was simulated using Tankathon.com and the pick will be made with a specific team in mind.
2021 NBA Mock Draft
1. Magic Select Cade Cunningham
Cade Cunningham is the no-brainer No. 1 pick, so the Magic would be very happy to win the NBA Draft lottery and snag him here. Cunningham is a 6-foot-8 wing who is an excellent passer and shooter from Oklahoma State University. The Magic are entering a new stage as a franchise and Cunningham is the perfect centerpiece for a rebuild.
2. Raptors Select Evan Mobley
Evan Mobley is a perfect fit in Toronto. Mobley is a mobile, athletic, and high-IQ forward/center from USC. The Raptors are not really a team you would expect to be picking this high, but the lottery balls bounced in their favor and they get to select a great defensive centerpiece to play next to their core of Pascal Siakim, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet.
3. Kings Select Jonathan Kuminga
The first two picks in the 2021 NBA Draft are relatively chalk, but the third pick is where things get interesting. Jalen Suggs and Jalen Green are both guards, which could turn the Kings away. Here, they get an athletic wing with sky-high two-way upside. His potential as a slasher and lockdown defender is hard to pass up.
4. Wizards Select Jalen Green
Jalen Green is the second G League Ignite prospect to be drafted. He is an electric athlete and scorer, and his fit in Washington is really interesting. The Wizards already have a player in Green’s mold in Bradley Beal. However, Green is the best available player and the Wizards are not in a position to turn that down.
5. Warriors (via Timberwolves) Select Jalen Suggs
Gonzaga standout Jalen Suggs is a high-IQ combo guard with a lot of skills. He would be a seamless fit at shooting guard between Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Perhaps most importantly, he will be able to contribute early. The Warriors are likely still looking to compete next year when fully healthy, which makes Suggs an obvious selection.
6. Thunder (via Rockets) Select Moses Moody
The Oklahoma City Thunder did not end up with the two top-five picks they were hoping for, but Moses Moody is a solid consolation prize. Moses Moody is a good 3-and-D wing with some legitimate scoring upside. Some worry about his play in March tanking his stock, but his value remains clear despite that.
7. Pistons Select Scottie Barnes
Troy Weaver has a track record as a GM: he loves long and athletic players who play excellent defense. That describes Scottie Barnes to a T. He is not an elite athlete and he struggles to score, but Barnes is a tenacious defender and a very high-IQ offensive player.
8. Cavaliers Select Kai Jones
After the first seven guys, the board really begins to open up. Kai Jones is not someone who is receiving a ton of buzz now, but after some workouts and the NBA Draft Combine, he is sure to rise. He is an elite athlete at 6-foot-11 and flashed a ton of skill as a shooter and in transition during his time at Texas. Cleveland is unlikely to take another guard considering their backcourt pairing of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, so Kai is a logical fit.
9. Magic (via Bulls) Select Keon Johnson
The Magic end up with two lottery picks. With this one, they get to add to their list of incredible defenders. Keon Johnson is perhaps the best athlete in the 2021 NBA Draft. He is a 6-foot-5 swingman from Tennessee who has incredible potential as a defender and slasher.
10. Thunder Select James Bouknight
James Bouknight is the latest UConn Husky to receive lottery buzz. Another athletic guard in the 2021 NBA Draft, Bouknight has a chance to be an elite cutter and scorer at the next level. He is a great fit next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and should add to the Thunder’s exciting young core.
11. Pacers Select Corey Kispert
The Pacers are one of the few teams in the lottery with expectations to win in the very near future, and that makes Kispert a logical choice here. Kispert is an elite shooter at the wing and should immediately fill a role for any NBA team. The Pacers could start him or bring him off the bench in his rookie season.
12. Pelicans Select Franz Wagner
Point Zion Williamson has been a revelation for the Pelicans, and they need to find players to help maximize that. Wagner is a smooth 6-foot-9 wing who is an excellent defensive playmaker and passer. He can help cover for Zion’s defensive issues while spacing the floor and helping them out in transition.
13. Grizzlies Select Ziaire Williams
Ziaire Williams has fallen down a lot of boards thanks to his inconsistent play at Stanford, but he’s still a 6-foot-8 wing with an elite shotmaking package. The Grizzlies need shooting wings in order to maximize Ja Morant, and Williams is a solid bet to fill that role.
14. Warriors Select Usman Garuba
The Warriors, like the Pacers, are a team looking to win next year, so they’re likely lamenting Corey Kispert not falling to them at 14. Garuba is a solid win-now bet, though. An elite defender who has already earned minutes for a Real Madrid team in the second-best league in the world, he will have utility right away.
15. Celtics Select Jaden Springer
The Celtics are not a team likely to keep this pick, but if they do, Springer is exactly the type of player Danny Ainge would be interested in. Ainge likes players who are already physically developed, and Springer is a smooth-scoring guard who is already in an NBA body.
16. Hawks Select Cam Thomas
Cam Thomas was the leading freshman scorer in all of college basketball this year. The Hawks would love him as a secondary creator and scorer to take some of the load off of Trae Young. He’s also a projectable defender at the next level.
17. Knicks Select Davion Mitchell
Both Baylor guards make sense for New York here, but Mitchell is the higher ceiling player and provides an element that will make him very favorable to Tom Thibodeau: elite on-ball defense. Davion Mitchell and Immanuel Quickley could be an elite two-way backcourt of the future.
18. Rockets (via Heat) Select Josh Giddey
Rafael Stone doesn’t have much of a track record as a drafter yet, but Giddey is a solid pick here. Giddey is a 6-foot-8 point guard from Australia and is one of the best passers in the 2021 NBA Draft. There are concerns about his athleticism, but at 18, Giddey makes sense.
19. Hornets Select Greg Brown III
The Hornets are a surprise team this year. Having a player like LaMelo Ball means that the Hornets already have their centerpiece. This allows them to take a bet on a high-upside player like Greg Brown III. Brown had a tumultuous season at Texas, but he is an elite athlete and could be the perfect player to maximize LaMelo.
20. Spurs Select Jalen Johnson
Jalen Johnson was a very highly touted prospect coming into the year, but he had a rough year at Duke. Still, he has a lot of skills and could develop well in San Antonio. Johnson would be an interesting bet at the forward spot with the Spurs’ young core.
21. Knicks (via Mavericks) Select Chris Duarte
Duarte is old compared to the average first-round pick, but he was one of the best players in all of college basketball before Oregon was eliminated and his skill set is instantly translatable. He is a 6-foot-6 wing with a smooth shooting stroke and solid athleticism who should fit nicely in New York.
22. Nuggets Select Jared Butler
Jared Butler is the second Baylor guard to be drafted and makes a lot of sense in Denver. Butler has a lot of skills that will help him immediately contribute to a winning team. He can play either guard spot and boasts an ability to relocate, making him a great fit next to Nikola Jokic.
23. Rockets (via Trail Blazers) Select Miles McBride
Miles McBride is an elite defensive guard with a knack for pull-up shooting. He makes a lot of sense in Houston, where they are looking for a point guard of the future. McBride, Kevin Porter Jr, Josh Giddey, and Christian Wood is a solid core for the Rockets to rebuild around.
24. Lakers Select Daishen Nix
Rob Pelinka and the Lakers have proven to like high-IQ playmakers, which is exactly what Nix is. Nix is one of the best passers in the 2021 NBA Draft and has displayed that for the G League Ignite. He has to develop as a scorer and athlete, but the Lakers aren’t looking for immediate contributions anyways.
25. Rockets (via Bucks) Select Brandon Boston Jr.
This is another player who entered the season as a top prospect but had a pretty rough freshman season. He has a lot of issues, but the ball handling as a 6-foot-7 wing remains enticing. The Rockets have the latitude to be patient with a prospect like BJ.
26. Clippers Select Sharife Cooper
The Clippers would love to get a guy who could contribute immediately, but there aren’t many players like that remaining and Cooper could be an intriguing long-term piece. Cooper is an elite playmaker at 5-foot-10 and does solve the biggest issue the Clippers have.
27. 76ers Select Tre Mann
Tre Mann is a player who could rise up boards as the 2021 NBA Draft approaches, but this is a good spot for him to fall right now. The 76ers could use his shooting and dribble creation, and he could thrive next to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
28. Nets Select Roko Prkacin
The Nets are another team who don’t need anyone to contribute right away, so that makes Prkacin a really interesting selection. Roko is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type. If he can continue to develop all his skills, he could be a very valuable NBA forward.
29. Suns Select Josh Christopher
The Suns aren’t a team with any glaring needs, but high-upside wings are always a solid bet in the draft. Christopher is a good athlete and scorer, but he struggles with the minutiae of the game. If he can develop in these areas, he can be a very good two-way wing.
30. Jazz Select Vrenz Bleijenbergh
Vrenz is a player who hasn’t yet got the hype, but he’s going to rise up boards closer to the 2021 NBA Draft. He is a 6-foot-10 wing with a tight handle, a lot of passing skill, and a developing jumper. He is a perfect bet for the Jazz to take with the 30th pick.