As the 2021-2022 NBA season is about to enter full swing, we look at the top five picks and what they bring to their teams this season. Note these are just the top five picks, the rankings will adjust as the season begins.
1. Cade Cunningham, PG, Detroit Pistons
Being the No. 1 pick always comes with high expectations and that doesn’t change with Cunningham. Averaging 20.1 points per game in college, Cunningham will be given the key to the young Detroit team. The 6’6″ guard is able to create an effective jump shot off the dribble as well as setting his teammates up for opportunities. Unfortunately, Cunningham didn’t play in the preseason due to an ankle injury. The Pistons open their season on Wednesday as they host the Chicago Bulls, but won’t look to usher Cunningham into play if he’s not at 100 percent.
2. Jalen Green, SG, Houston Rockets
Shifting into the new process of skipping college, Green is the prime example of the G-league route. Averaging 17.9 points on the Ignite, Green brings NBA-level experience and will be the primary scorer on this young Houston team.
3. Evan Mobley, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Any of the first three could’ve been the No. 1 pick in any other given year. Unlike his counterparts, however, Mobley will not be the main guy on his team. Mobley will join a youthful Cleveland team that finds the majority of their points from the backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Mobley will have a developing year in the paint with leadership under Jarrett Allen. He will look to guide Cleveland to its first playoff appearance in three years.
4. Scottie Barnes, SF, Toronto Raptors
Toronto was the first team in the draft to selected the non projected player. Barnes brings length and athleticism to the three positions. Barnes is also extremely comfortable operating as a point forward and gets involved in running an offense. At Florida State, while only averaging 10.3 points per gene, it’s his play-making abilities like Draymond Green that opposing teams will watch out for.
5. Jalen Suggs, PG, Orlando Magic
While Barnes was the first unexpected pick, it was Suggs who dropped to the Magic because of this. Orlando gets a confident point guard who loves to create for others. Suggs averaged 14.4 points per game on a Gonzaga team that reached the national championship. He likes to create for others but can also score for himself. Like his pro counterpart, John Wall, he’s a dynamic offensive player looking to make an instant impact for the Magic.
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