Nia’s 2021 NBA Mock Draft 2.0 (First Round)

Nia's 2021 NBA Mock Draft 2.0

The NBA Draft order is set and teams are finalizing their top choices for which players to select. With the first overall selection, the Pistons will likely take Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, but the rest of the draft is a mystery. Let’s take a look at a potential selection for each NBA team.

1) Detroit Pistons – Cade Cunningham – PG, Oklahoma State

Cunningham is the obvious number one pick. There is a small possibility the Pistons take Jalen Green or Evan Mobley, but the consensus number one selection is Cunningham. He stands at 6’8” and possesses a diverse skillset. Cunningham is a terrific playmaker and rebounder at the guard position and is crafty with the ball in his hands when it comes to scoring. He makes contested layups and can shoot the ball with good efficiency as well. His frame and skillset have drawn comparisons to Luka Doncic and other NBA superstars. Adding him alongside Killian Hayes could create a backcourt that opposing teams will fear for many years.

2) Houston Rockets – Jalen Green – SG, G-League Ignite

Green to the Rockets has gained steam since the lottery when they got the second overall pick. Before, Mobley was the consensus number two pick, but in recent weeks the landscape has shifted. A shooting guard like Green will bring a much-needed scoring punch to a Rockets team that ranked 23rd in the league in points per game last season. He is an athletic guard that can create space and score with ease. Defense, playmaking, and feel for the game are some concerns with Green, but the young guard has the tools to succeed in the NBA due to his high-level scoring ability. Kevin Porter Jr. and Green would create a young backcourt with his upside as the Rockets continue their rebuild.


3) Cleveland Cavaliers – Evan Mobley – C, Southern California

Mobley is a somewhat polarizing prospect. He is an elite shot-blocker and can shoot the ball, giving him Chris Bosh/Anthony Davis-type upside, but he has a way to go before he reaches that potential. First off, Mobley lacks strength. He weighs just 210 lbs at 7’0” and was often dominated by stronger players at the college level. In addition, he lacks soft touch around the rim which limits his potential as a post scorer. If Mobley can improve his strength he has a high ceiling but is unsure whether he can do it or not. The Cavaliers already have a talented young center in Jarrett Allen, but adding Mobley does not hurt. Mobley has the versatility to play the four alongside Allen or come off the bench behind him. Both players can feed off each other and develop creating a scary frontcourt on the defensive end.

4) Toronto Raptors – Jalen Suggs – SG, Gonzaga

There are rumors that the Raptors could select Scottie Barnes with this pick, but Suggs makes sense for the Raptors as well. He is an athletic two-way guard that shined at Gonzaga. Suggs can finish well at the rim and is terrific on defense. He is not an elite shooter, but is competent; Suggs shot 33.7% from three in his one year with the Bulldogs. Adding Suggs next to Fred VanVleet would add tremendous value to an already defensive-minded team in Toronto.


5) Orlando Magic – Jonathan Kuminga – SF, G-League Ignite

Kuminga is a terrific athlete and versatile player. He can attack the basket with a variety of moves and make pull-up mid-range shots as well. Kuminga does lack some feel for the game and is not an elite shooter which holds him back right now but getting him would be a nice jumpstart to the Magic rebuild.

6) Oklahoma City Thunder – Scottie Barnes – SF, Florida State

There are rumblings that the Thunder could select James Bouknight with the sixth pick, but with Barnes on the board, it is unlikely that they will pass upon him. He is a lengthy player that thrives on defense. Barnes uses his length well to pressure his man and block shots. He also uses a variety of moves when driving to the rim, his best-being euro and side steps. There are concerns about Barnes’ offense at the next level as he shot just 27.5% from three at Florida State, but in Oklahoma City, he can develop at his own pace and thrive a couple of years down the road on both ends of the floor. Luguentz Dort and Barnes could instantly become one of the best defensive duos in the NBA if the Thunder selects him.

7) Golden State Warriors – James Bouknight – SG, Connecticut

Bouknight and Green are similar players. He is likely going to be selected in the lottery due to his outstanding ability on offense. Bouknight is an athletic guard who can score on and off the ball well. He has a good IQ but can struggle on defense due to his lack of size. If the Warriors do not trade this pick, bringing Bouknight off the bench would further enhance the offensive capability of a team with offensive superstars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

8) Orlando Magic – Alperen Sengun – C, Beşiktaş J.K.

After trading away Nikola Vucevic to the Bulls during the season, the Magic could find their replacement in the draft. Sengun is an elite post scorer who has shown upside as a shooter if he can become more consistent. He does struggle on defense, mostly due to positioning, but is a good shot blocker, and has the upside to become competent on that end of the floor. Sengun can start off his career behind Wendell Carter Jr. and later assume the starting center role if he can reach his high ceiling.


9) Sacramento Kings – Jalen Johnson – SF, Duke

Johnson is a fluid athlete with incredible verticality. He can make electric dunks on offense and outstanding blocks on defense. Johnson is a good defender overall and shot the three-ball well (44.4%), but it was with low volume. He can struggle against quicker players, but overall, Johnson is a talented prospect. He could take over Marvin Bagley III’s spot as the starting forward if the Kings decide to move him.

10) New Orleans Pelicans – Moses Moody – SG, Arkansas

Moody is a lengthy and physical defender that does a great job of positioning himself to make plays on that end of the floor. He is a good rebounder and shooter (35.8% from three). Moody has a somewhat limited ceiling due to his lack of offensive versatility, but adding him to a Pelicans team looking to make the playoffs soon would be a strong pick. He can play a ‘three and D’ role early on in his career and potentially expand upon that if he improves on offense.

11) Charlotte Hornets – Kai Jones – PF, Texas

The Hornets have a strong backcourt consisting of LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier as starters and Devonte’ Graham and Malik Monk as backups, but their depth at the forward and center positions is where they struggle. Jones would be a nice fit for the Hornets. He can shoot the ball well, drive to the basket from the perimeter, and play solid defense. Jones can play the four or the five and add versatility to the Hornets frontcourt.

12) San Antonio Spurs – Josh Giddey – PG, Adelaide 36ers

Giddey is a tall point guard at 6’8” with great court vision and handles. He has a high IQ which allows him to make tremendous passes to create for his teammates. The Spurs could use depth at the center position, but with Mobley and Sengun off the board, Giddey is a terrific option to add depth to their backcourt.

13) Indiana Pacers – Davion Mitchell – PG, Baylor

The Pacers have a talented roster so adding a player that can help them win early is important. Although the guard position is not a major need for them, with Mitchell sliding to 13 in this mock, it would be hard for them to pass upon. Mitchell is a tremendous defender and can create for himself well on offense. He has a high floor due to his ability to shoot the ball and play defense, but a high ceiling as well due to his versatility. At 22 years old Mitchell can help the Pacers make the playoffs early while working on his game to reach his ceiling in the future.

14) Golden State Warriors – Usman Garuba – PF, Real Madrid

The Warriors could trade this pick as well, but if they do not, Garuba could be a player they select. Garuba is a 6’8” forward that is a menace on defense. He can guard multiple positions and uses his great length to make plays on that end of the floor. His offensive game is limited to finishing at the basket, but his defensive impact off the bench could prove valuable for the Warriors. Garuba could also learn from Draymond Green and eventually replace him as the two have similar skill sets.

15) Washington Wizards – Keon Johnson – SG, Tennessee

Johnson is an explosive athlete. He can attack the rim and make electric dunks. He lacked some consistency from beyond the arc making just 27.1% of threes he shot, but he has a lot of upsides that the Wizards can try to unlock. Early on, Johnson would likely come off the bench behind Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal and after making improvements, become a starter for the Wizards later on.

16) Oklahoma City Thunder – Jaden Springer – PG, Tennessee

The Thunder does not have a positional need at the guard position, but it is unlikely many of their picks will be based on needs in this draft since they are early in their rebuild. The Thunder will pick the best player available with this pick and take Springer. He is a great defender, shooter, and has a solid foundation in other areas of his game. The biggest concern with Springer is his ability to create separation and his slow form with his shot, but Springer has a high floor that he can build on to become a starting guard in the NBA.

17) Memphis Grizzlies – Cameron Thomas – SG, Louisiana State

The Grizzlies will look to make the playoffs again next year and Thomas’ scoring punch could be valuable off the bench. He is a great scorer off the dribble and can score from the mid-range with good efficiency. Thomas has room to improve on defense and as a playmaker, but his scoring ability could help the Grizzlies for years off the bench or as a low-end starter.

18) Oklahoma City Thunder – Isaiah Jackson – PF, Kentucky

Jackson’s upside is what will get him picked this early in the first round. He is a tremendous shot blocker that can play the four or the five. Jackson also claims that he can stretch the floor and shoot the ball; he was unable to showcase his shooting due to Kentucky’s system. Jackson is not terrific in the post as a scorer, but if the Thunder choose to stand pat and select someone at 18, it could be Jackson. He could start at the five or come off the bench at the four next season for the Thunder and potentially become a starter long-term for the Thunder or be a quality backup.

19) New York Knicks – Tre Mann – PG, Florida

The Knicks’ biggest positional need is at the guard position and they could address it in this year’s draft. Mann is a terrific scorer and can knock down deep threes. Much like Thomas, his defense and playmaking are areas of concern, but his scoring ability could carry him in the NBA for years with the Knicks.

20) Atlanta Hawks – Chris Duarte – SG, Oregon

The Hawks have a strong roster and will likely be attempting to contend next season. Adding a player that could help them as soon as possible is probably important to them and Duarte can do that. At 24 years old, he has a low ceiling but he can help the Hawks with his shooting and defensive ability off the bench.

21) New York Knicks – Sharife Cooper – PG, Auburn

Once again in this mock draft, the Knicks will attempt to address their need at the guard position. Cooper is a quick guard with good handles and playmaking ability. Some concerns with him are his size at just 6’1” and his shooting as he shot just 22.8% from beyond the arc at Auburn. Cooper plays with high energy and his facilitation could be useful off the bench for the Knicks.

22) Los Angeles Lakers – Corey Kispert – SF, Gonzaga

Shooting is the biggest need for the Lakers and Kispert could be the answer for them. He shot 44.0% in his senior year from beyond the arc and showed the ability to drive to the basket as well. In Los Angeles, Kispert can fill a ‘three and D’ type role even though his defense is not above average and help the Lakers attempt to contend for a championship next year.

23) Houston Rockets – Greg Brown III – PF, Texas

Brown is an athletic big man who can stretch the floor. His game is still very raw and can be polished, but there is long-term upside if the Rockets select him. Since they are early in their rebuild, the Rockets can take a swing on Brown, and if he does not live up to the hype, he has a fairly high floor due to his athleticism.

24) Houston Rockets – JT Thor – PF, Auburn

The Rockets have consecutive picks in the back half of the first round and a player that has been rising up draft boards is JT Thor. The Auburn big man was solid in his freshman year, but he displayed his high ceiling that some scouts are drooling at. Thor can shoot the ball decently, block shots, and has tremendous length. He is still very raw, but once again, the Rockets can give a shot to the high upside prospect at this point in their rebuild.

25) Los Angeles Clippers – Jared Butler – PG, Baylor

Adding youth to the Clippers’ backcourt is important as Patrick Beverly and Reggie Jackson are both in their 30s. Butler is a terrific shooter who punishes defenses for going under screens. He has good handles and improved as a playmaker last season at Baylor. He can play a somewhat limited role for the Clippers and develop his game behind Rondo and Jackson then be unleashed alongside Terance Mann in the future.

26) Denver Nuggets – Miles McBride – PG, West Virginia

Jamal Murray is likely going to be sidelined for the majority of next season due to an ACL injury, so the Nuggets could look for depth at the guard position in the draft. McBride is a versatile scorer and a terrific defender. He has room to grow as a finisher, but his defense and shooting ability give him the chance to make an impact early for the Nuggets.

27) Brooklyn Nets – Franz Wagner – SF, Michigan

Wagner is an interesting prospect. He is a good passer and has great handles for his size. Wagner struggled at Michigan with his offensive consistency especially from beyond the arc making 34.3% of his threes. He lacks athleticism as well, but if he can knock down the three consistently. His playmaking and shooting ability could be valuable off the bench for a contending Nets team.

28) Philadelphia 76ers – Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – PF, Villanova

The Sixers recently worked out Robinson-Earl and he could be a potential selection for them at 28. Robinson-Earl is a smart player with a great frame. He showed the ability to knock down the three but was inconsistent. Robinson-Earl has a solid foundation that the Sixers can build on in the future.

29) Phoenix Suns – Trey Murphy III – SG, Virginia

The Suns made it to the NBA finals and came short of winning it all. Murphy III’s skill set fits the Suns mold well. He is a terrific ‘three and D’ guard that could add depth to the Suns’ backcourt with hopes of winning a ring next season.

30) Utah Jazz – Isaiah Todd – PF, G-League Ignite

Todd is a talented forward. He is a fluid athlete that can score the ball well. He needs to add strength to compete at a high level against NBA players. If the Jazz are looking for a modern NBA forward, Todd would be their guy at this point in the draft.

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Follow Kamran Nia on Twitter @kamran_nia

Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images


Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk


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