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2021 NBA Mock Draft – Final Edition

The draft is only hours away. My latest and final stab on how things could turn out.

  1. Detroit Pistons – PG Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State. The Pistons have finally announced that Cunningham will be the pick tonight. He has been the consensus top pick during this entire draft cycle. Exciting times for a Pistons fan base that has not had much to cheer about for quite a while.
  2. Houston Rockets – SG Jalen Green, United States. Green has been the presumed pick here for a while. So much so that other players have not bothered to work out for Houston. Green is an NBA-ready scorer, and should, at the least, give the Rockets another exciting scorer to go along with Kevin Porter Jr.
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers – C Evan Mobley, USC. Green and Mobley are the only two prospects in my tier 2, so Cleveland will be happy to draft either player. There are concerns over how Mobley and Jarrett Allen will fit alongside each other, but Cleveland simply needs to go with the best player available here.
  4. Toronto Raptors – PG Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga. There is a lot of Scottie Barnes chatter here, but I would not overthink things. Suggs is the best player available here, and should be able to step right in and take over for Kyle Lowry at point guard. He is ready to play.
  5. Orlando Magic – PF Scottie Barnes, Florida State. While Jonathan Kuminga could be a good player, I never liked the fit with Orlando. They already have a similar player in Jonathan Isaac and want a guy who can step in and play right away. Barnes is not a great shooter, but can do a little bit of everything else. There are front court minutes galore available for an intriguing, ball handling, defensive big man like the Florida native.
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder – SG James Bouknight, Connecticut. Bouknight has been a lottery staple in all of my 2021 mocks, and others seem to be catching on. His competitiveness and shooting skills have made him a mid-lottery lock. He is the type of player who can help any team.
  7. Golden State Warriors – PG Josh Giddey, Australia. There are a ton of players in play here. Giddey, Kuminga, Wagner are the most notable, but I will go with Giddey. Golden State has two lottery picks, and if they keep them both, could easily gamble on Giddey, a guy who can back up three positions and help the second unit.
  8. Orlando Magic – SF Franz Wagner, Michigan. The Magic had Mo Wagner for a while in 2021, and add his younger brother. Wagner is not an athletic dynamo, but can shoot and defend. While Magic fans had to be disappointed on how the lottery balls fell, adding two players like Barnes and Wagner would be a nice consolation prize.
  9. Sacramento Kings – C Alperen Sengun, Turkey. The Kings are losing Richaun Holmes and Hassan Whiteside, and Marvin Bagley might be on his way out as well, opening up a ton of minutes at the center position. Sengun is a load down low and has the ability to grow as a shooter. I have been a big fan of his since I started studying him earlier in the year, and would not be surprised if he goes as high as 6 to the Thunder.
  10. Memphis Grizzlies – SF Jonathan Kuminga, United States. I am not a monster fan of Kuminga, but he is too talented to fall much further than this. The Grizzlies will probably want someone who can play right away, but they are great at developing players and could unlock Kuminga’s potential.
  11. Charlotte Hornets – SF Corey Kispert, Gonzaga. The Hornets have long been fans of guys with strong college resumes. It does not get much better than Kispert’s. Shooting has never been more valuable, and he is a better defender than people give him credit for.
  12. San Antonio Spurs – SG Chris Duarte, Oregon. A 24 year old in the lottery? It could very well happen. He is ready to step right in and provide solid minutes as a shooter and a defender. The Spurs have a ton of capable wing players, and Duarte will give them yet another option.
  13. Indiana Pacers – SF Trey Murphy III, Virginia. The Pacers are going to try to get back into the playoffs rather quickly, so this pick could be moved for a veteran or used on a player such as Murphy who can contribute now. He is an underrated athlete who can really shoot.
  14. Golden State Warriors – SG Moses Moody, Arkansas. There are at least a dozen wing prospects grouped together around this spot, so pick who you want here. Moody is not a great athlete but he can be an effective bench scorer for the Warriors.
  15. Washington Wizards – C Kai Jones, Texas. The Wizards have quite a few intriguing young players, and should just go best player available here. Jones is one of a few legitimate first round big men available, thanks to his ability to run the floor and shooting potential.
  16. Oklahoma City Thunder – SF Ziaire Williams, Stanford. The Thunder own approximately 40% of all draft picks the next five years, so they can take Joey Gallo style home run hacks. Williams was a top five recruit who struggled to figure out the college game, but has theoretical upside.
  17. New Orleans Pelicans – PG Jared Butler, Baylor. The Pelicans are pressured to win now, so this pick could be moved for a veteran. I have been high on Jared Butler all year, and think he will be a better pro than his teammate Davion Mitchell. Both guys should be able to, at the least, provide solid minutes as backup guards.
  18. Oklahoma City Thunder – SF Jalen Johnson, Duke. Read what I said for pick 16. Johnson was thought of as a top five prospect coming into the draft, but had a bizarre run at Duke, causing his stock to plummet. The Thunder are just collecting prospects right now, and figuring out what to do with them later.
  19. New York Knicks – PG Davion Mitchell, Baylor. The Knicks head coach never likes to play rookies, but Mitchell could be the rare guy to get some run. Talk of him being a lottery pick was always somewhat outlandish, but he should find a role as a steady backup guard.
  20. Atlanta Hawks – SG Cameron Thomas, LSU. Thomas does not do much other than score, but he would be a nice fit on a young Hawks team that could move Reddish or Huerter as they look to save money for contract extensions.
  21. New York Knicks – PF Usman Garuba, Spain. I do not think the Knicks are interested in adding two rookies to a deep roster, but Usman Garuba could be a nice project, especially if they move on from Obi Toppin in an effort to land a veteran.
  22. Los Angeles Lakers – PG Tre Mann, Florida. The Lakers might be losing Caruso and Schroder, and there are a lot of young point guard prospects available around this spot to fill a bench role. Mann has good size and would make a nice spot up shooter.
  23. Houston Rockets – PF Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky. Jackson is a project to be sure, but the Rockets are bad and have three first round picks, so they could use one on a guy who can really run the floor and block some shots.
  24. Houston Rockets – SG Keon Johnson, Tennessee. This would be quite a slide for a guy who many think could be a lottery pick. He is a project who really is not a lights out shooter or defender, so it will take work to develop him. This would be another project for the Rockets, who have three first round picks.
  25. Los Angeles Clippers – PG Miles McBride, West Virginia. The Rockets could lose Reggie Jackson, opening up minutes at point guard. McBride is not flashy, but rarely makes mistakes and could be a perfect bench guard.
  26. Denver Nuggets – SG Quentin Grimes, Houston. The Nuggets usually go for a falling talent who they can develop, but without Jamal Murray, they might want to draft a guy who is ready to contribute. Quentin Grimes has rebounded nicely from his poor start as a Kansas Jayhawk, and is now firmly in the first round mix thanks to his ball handling and leadership abilities.
  27. Brooklyn Nets – PG Sharife Cooper, Auburn. The Nets are as veteran as they get, and will likely draft a G-League contributor here. Sharife Cooper is undersized but a scoring dynamo.
  28. Philadelphia 76ers – SG Joshua Primo, Alabama. Primo is the youngest player in the draft, and might not get any run on a team with championship aspirations, but can shoot and has the size to be effective on defense.
  29. Phoenix Suns – SG Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois. Dosunmu can play both guard positions and would give the Suns another shooter off the bench.
  30. Utah Jazz – C Filip Petrusev, Gonzaga. Petrusev went from an undrafted type at Gonzaga to a legit NBA prospect after a couple of great overseas seasons. Utah could look to move Derrick Favors which would open up some minutes.

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