NBA

2021 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Cade Cunningham goes No. 1, Moses Moody falls

With the draft lottery just over a week and a half away, and prospects already beginning their workouts with select organizations, we felt like this Is the best time to put out our first of many mock drafts.   

This is one of the very rare instances where a team can get a star-level talent from anywhere between pick 1 to pick 25 so expect this draft to be franchise-altering for many franchises. But with all that being said let’s get into the mock. 

1. Houston Rockets: Cade Cunningham (PG/SF| Oklahoma State) 

I think this pick is straightforward no matter who ends up with the No. 1 overall pick in just over a week. Cade is arguably the best prospect since LeBron James with absolutely no glowing weaknesses in his game. His ability to play at his own pace no matter what the defense throws at him and his advanced basketball IQ makes him just the 5th prospect in NBA history to earn the title “generational” from me. By making this pick Houston solidifies their backcourt for years to come and builds one of the premium young cores in the NBA. 

2. Detroit Pistons: Evan Mobley (C | USC) 

Many consider Mobley on par with the aforementioned Cade Cunningham and despite me not agreeing with these sentiments I still view Mobley as a damn good prospect. At 7-foot-tall Mobley is an absolute thumper inside with the ability to block just about anything thrown in his direction. Not only is Mobley a force on defense he’s also shown flashes of being a capable offensive player as well. Making this pick does cloud Isaiah Stewart’s positioning within the Detroit Pistons future a bit but when a player is as drastically better than another you must go with the BPA route. 

3. Orlando Magic:  Jalen Suggs (PG/SG | Gonzaga) 

Kind of like the 2019 draft, most say this draft doesn’t begin until pick #3 because of how obvious the first 2 picks are, and I agree with that statement fully. With pick #3 to Orlando, I have them taking the man from Minnesota, Jalen Suggs. With a football background, Jalen has a total rocket for an arm and can operate the PNR at a high level. As of right now, Jalen doesn’t have a good enough handle to be a primary but with Markelle Fultz returning from his ACL tear Suggs wouldn’t need to be right away.  

4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jonathan Kuminga (SF/PF | G-League Ignite) 

Although not the best scorer in this class or even the best scorer I considered for this pick, Kuminga is a highly talented scorer with high 2-way potential. Since the Thunder championship window closed back in the summer of 2016 when KD departed for Oakland, Sam Presti has shown an infatuation with long rangy athletic high ceiling wings and JK is exactly that. A young tandem of Shai, Dort (shoutout will), Poku, and Bazley is very intriguing both offensively and defensively.  

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jalen Green (SG | G-League Ignite) 

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 18: Jalen Green #4 of the G League Ignite brings the ball up the floor during a G-League game against the Westchester Knicks at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on February 18, 2021 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

After going defense last year with the selection of Isaac Okoro with the 5th overall pick, Jalen Green at this spot is a no-brainer. Jalen is without a doubt the best scorer in the class with the deepest bag I’ve ever seen from a prospect this young. His ability to score in the half-court and seemingly defy gravity and fly in transition makes him a can’t miss prospect for Cleveland. Although making this pick does further worsen their defense with both Collin Sexton and Darius Garland being atrocious defenders but Green’s undeniable offensive potential is just too much to pass on. 

6. Golden State Warriors: Davion Mitchell (PG / SG | Baylor University) 

It’s not a very hot take to say the warriors are in “Win Now” mode as Stephen Curry is aging and Klay Thompson’s ability to stay healthy remains a concern. The warriors picking Davion Mitchell an older prospect with the ability to be a secondary shot creator which is exactly what the warriors need while also not being a complete dud from behind the arc shooting 44.7% from deep on 4.7 attempts per game. 

7. Toronto Raptors: Josh Giddey (PG | Adelaide 36ers) 

I’ve been on the record stating that the 2019 Raptors roster-building job by Masai Ujiri is the best roster-building job in NBA history, but long are those days as that roster has been broken down and no longer exists for the most part and the raptors are now in rebuild mode. In Josh Giddey, the raptors get a big playmaking Guard with brilliant instincts and a knack for creating for his teammates. Outside of Cade Cunningham and Sharife Cooper, Giddey is arguably the best passer in this draft class.  

8. Orlando Magic: Scottie Barnes (SF/PF | Florida State) 

With Orlando’s second pick in the lottery via the Chicago Bulls from the Nikola Vucevic trade I have them taking Scottie Barnes out of FSU. Scottie’s flashes of playmaking at the 4 spot and defensive upside have scouts raving and is expected to get some top 10 shouts and, in our mock, he lands in Orlando.  

9. Sacramento Kings: Jalen Johnson (SF/PF/C | Duke University) 

Jalen’s mix of athleticism and playmaking potential makes him a perfect fit in Sacramento alongside Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox. Along with his fit in Sacramento, the Kings elect to take him at #9 because by now it is apparent that the Marvin Bagley experience has been a failure and they should move on sooner rather than later.  

10. New Orleans Pelicans: Corey Kispert (SF | Gonzaga) 

The Pelicans need to surround their once-in-a-generation talent, Zion, with as much shooting as possible and it just so happens to the best shooter in the class is available with the Pelicans 10th overall pick. Kispert’s smooth stroke and quick release make him a must-have and the best shooter in this class without a doubt.  

11. Charlotte Hornets: Alperen Sengun (C | Besiktas J.K.) 

In 2020 the Charlotte Hornets HIT with their LaMelo Ball pick however, they just missed out on the playoffs, getting blown out by the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the play-in tournament. Although this pick of Alperen Sengun doesn’t raise them to an automatic playoff team next season it does further raise their talent level and fill a need. Throughout the season James Borrego was forced to go with a center-by-committee approach due to a lack of talent at the 5 spot the selection of Sengun fills that role perfectly. At just 18 years old Sengun won MVP of the 3rd hardest league in the world while flashing amazing post-scoring skills, occasional face-up game, and playmaking potential.  

12. San Antonio Spurs: Jaden Springer (SG | University of Tennessee)  

The Spurs once again missed the playoffs in 2021 after going 20 years without missing the playoffs from 1999 – 2020, this is a clear sign that the rebuild should officially begin this offseason. Thankfully the Spurs have a decent young core to build off of, but the addition of Jaden Springer provides that scoring potential that for the most part their young core of Murray, Poeltl, and Vassell lack. Jaden has already shown he’s a force on the defensive end of the ball phasing through screen almost Paul George like and his quick hands are second to none in this class, but where I think he truly has a chance to be great is on Offense.  

13. Indiana Pacers: James Bouknight (SG | UConn) 

The Indiana Pacers are in a tough position as a franchise. After firing their newly appointed Head Coach Nate Bjorkgren just 1 season into his contract the franchise is at a crossroads, whether to blow up the core of Brogdon, Turner, Sabonis and just start a new one or to run it back next season and hope to compete for a playoff spot, in this scenario I have them running it back. James Bouknight has pure 3 level scoring potential that if mastered could be deadly. Although James’ percentages look bad, I assure you he’s not as bad of a shooter as they make him out to be. At UConn, James was the only consistent shot-maker at the program which led him to force many bad shots which did help lead them to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016. 

14. Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody (SG/SF | University of Arkansas) 

The Warriors won the last pick in the lottery and with the 14th pick, I have the warriors staying with their win-now approach by having them draft Moses Moody. Out Arkansas Moody is a sharpshooting wing with the ability to occasionally put the ball down on the floor and create for himself and others. Moody is a prospect that will help the Warriors win now and be able to thrive in the post-Curry Warriors era. 

END OF LOTTERY

  1. Washington Wizards: Kai Jones (C | Texas University) 
  1. Boston Celtics: Tre Mann (PG | University Florida) 
  1. Memphis Grizzlies: Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland (SG| VCU) 
  1. Houston Rockets: Keon Johnson (SG | University of Tennessee) 
  1. New York Knicks: Sharife Cooper (PG | Auburn) 
  1. Atlanta Hawks: Ayo Dosunmu (PG | Indiana) 
  1. New York Knicks: Ziaire Williams (SF | Stanford) 
  1. Los Angeles Lakers: Jared Butler (PG | Baylor University) 
  1. Houston Rockets: Roko Prkacin (PF | KK Cibona) 
  1. Houston Rockets: Isaiah Jackson (PF/C | University of Kentucky) 
  1. Los Angeles Clippers: Miles McBride (PG | WVU) 
  1. Denver Nuggets: Usman Garuba (PF/C | Real Madrid) 
  1. Brooklyn Nets: Josh Christopher (SG | Arizona State) 
  1. Philadelphia 76ers: Chris Duarte (SG/SF | University of Oregon) 
  1. Pheonix Suns: Daishen Nix (PG | G-League Ignite) 
  1. Utah Jazz: Greg Brown (PF / C | University of Kentucky) 

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