The 2021 NBA Draft superlatives are here. Think of this article as a yearbook kind of like the ones you’d receive at the end of a school year where the students would vote for “most likely to succeed” or “best smile” and other things of that nature. Just, in this case, I will be handing out my basketball-related superlatives to the upcoming rookie class of the NBA. So join me on my journey as I attempt to make an entertaining yet compelling article, ENJOY!!
Most likely to be a Hall of Famer: Cade Cunningham
In all honesty, who else could it realistically be? Cade Cunningham is by definition a generational talent. He’s the consensus best passer in the draft, arguably the best on the dribble 3 point shooter in the class, but not only that he has serious 2-way potential, with him showing flashes of being lockdown on the defensive end of the floor as well. Cade may quite literally be the best prospect since LeBron James back in 2003, so he is undoubtedly the player with the highest ceiling in this whole entire draft class.
Least likely to bust: Evan Mobley
Evan Mobley may be the most scaleable prospect ever. His rare ability to defend at an elite level and be a positive on offense is just incredible for someone so young. The main knock-on Mobley currently is the worry that his offensive game may not develop enough for him to be the perennial all-star he’s marked to be by scouts and others including me, but even if his offensive game doesn’t translate nor develop in the league which it will, but in the slim possibility it doesn’t, his prowess on defense will always be a thing, as my good friend Oscar once said, “Evan Mobley is a defensive Cyborg”. Mobley’s combination of fast processing speed and length make him a menace defending the rim, but not only will Mobley guard the rim like it’s his child, but also can step up on screens and defend smaller Guards.
Most overrated: Davion Mitchell
If you were to ask me this question back in February pre-March Madness my answer would probably be someone like Jalen Green or James Bouknight (I h8 pure scorers lol) but post-March it’s 100%, Davion Mitchell. The stratospheric rise this man had up draft boards during the tournament while leading the Baylor Bears to their first NCAA crown is just bizarre. He went from being mocked in the late first to being mocked as high as #6 to the Warriors. Not only is his rise-up draft boards nuts, he in my humble opinion wasn’t even the best player on that Baylor squad, HECK he wasn’t even the best Guard on that team for crying out loud. Davion is a small Guard with limited upside, due to his small stature and age, while those 2 things I just listed are out of his control, they do help a lot when scaling the potential of a prospect.
Most Underrated: Jaden Springer
The fact that people have this guy falling into the 20’s is an utter tragedy. Jaden in my eyes is the best perimeter defender in this class. His ability to harass the ball handler while remaining disciplined enough to not commit ridiculous fouls. Not only can Jaden straight up rush his man on the ball, but he is also very technical in his defending. Jaden uses his mix of length (6’7 Wingspan) and intelligence to strip the ball out of his opponent’s hands. Another great example of his exemplary defensive technique is how he can remain in front of his man on the perimeter. Jaden masterfully combines his low center of gravity and picture-perfect athletic position while moving laterally without his heels ever clicking with one another to suffocate his opponents to offset their rhythm and put himself in a position to make a play. But now that I’ve rambled on enough about his defensive prowess, it’s time to talk about his offense. As of right now, Jaden isn’t much of a perimeter creator, but he does possess some resemblance to a dribble-drive game which he uses to get into the lane consistently. In my eyes, Jaden is the second-best scorer in this class, and in the right system and with a little bit of polishing up on the offensive end of the floor, I believe Jaden can be something truly special.