2021 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Top Prospects in NCAA Tournament

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

2021 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Top Prospects in NCAA Tournament

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    In theory, NBA draft stocks shouldn't budge too much during the upcoming 2021 men's NCAA tournament.

    In reality, front offices and fanbases will still fall in and out of love with prospects based on their play on college basketball's biggest stage.

    If nothing else, it feels like a good read of a player's ability to handle pressure. The spotlight is bright enough on its own, and once you start factoring in the competition level and the constant threat of the single-elimination setup, it's an environment unlike any other.

    So, draft stocks will fluctuate over the coming weeks, and we're predicting which prospects will move and where.

2021 NBA Mock Draft

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    Garett Fisbeck/Associated Press

    1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cade Cunningham, PG/SG, Oklahoma State

    2. Detroit Pistons: Evan Mobley, C, USC

    3. Houston Rockets: Jalen Suggs, PG/SG, Gonzaga

    4. Orlando Magic: Jalen Green, SG, G League Ignite

    5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonathan Kuminga, SF, G League Ignite

    6. Washington Wizards: Keon Johnson, SG/SF, Tennessee

    7. Sacramento Kings: James Bouknight, SG, UConn

    8. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Johnson, PF, Duke

    9. Toronto Raptors: Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas

    10. New Orleans Pelicans: Scottie Barnes, SF/PF, Florida State

    11. Indiana Pacers: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga

    12. Memphis Grizzlies: Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan

    13. Chicago Bulls: Kai Jones, PF/C, Texas

    14. Golden State Warriors: Ayo Dosunmu, PG/SG, Illinois

    15. New York Knicks: Ziaire Williams, SF, Stanford

    16. Atlanta Hawks: Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor

    17. Boston Celtics: Jaden Springer, PG/SG, Tennessee

    18. New York Knicks (via Dallas Mavericks): Brandon Boston Jr., SF, Kentucky

    19. Charlotte Hornets: Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky

    20. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami Heat): Usman Garuba, C, Real Madrid

    21. San Antonio Spurs: Alperen Sengun, C, Besiktas

    22. Houston Rockets (via Portland Trail Blazers): Josh Christopher, SG/SF, Arizona State

    23. Denver Nuggets: Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU

    24. Los Angeles Clippers: Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn

    25. Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Butler, PG/SG, Baylor

    26. Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon

    27. Brooklyn Nets: Greg Brown, PF, Texas

    28. Phoenix Suns: Josh Giddey, PG/SG, Adelaide 36ers

    29. Philadelphia 76ers: Isaiah Todd, PF, G League Ignite

    30. Utah Jazz: Aaron Henry, SF, Michigan State

Jalen Suggs Earns Top-3 Status

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    Young Kwak/Associated Press

    There are two tiers at the top of this draft class. The first separates Cade Cunningham from everyone else. The second sets a line of demarcation past the top five of Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

    By the time this tournament is finished, Mobley and Suggs could have their own tier in the second and third spots.

    While Mobley gets the edge in our mock, Suggs isn't far behind. He doesn't always have to do heavy lifting thanks to his loaded supporting cast in Spokane, but when the Bulldogs need their floor general to move the needle, he can provide electricity few superheroes could summon.

    He went for 27 points and seven threes against Iowa. He dropped 24 points and eight dimes on Kansas. He had 47 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists across two tilts with BYU.

    Given Gonzaga's chance to go on a lengthy run, Suggs should be on the cusp of a captivating tournament that will finish with him cemented inside of the top three.

James Bouknight Climbs into Top 7

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    James Bouknight will have to get his stock-boosting work in early, because his seventh-seeded Huskies may not stick around long. Good thing the ignitable scoring guard doesn't need much time to make a big impression.

    He only played 14 games this season and went for 20-plus points in half of them. That included a 40-point eruption against Creighton, a 21-point, 10-board double-double at Villanova and a 20-point, 10-rebound double-dip at Georgetown.

    Teams in need of scoring—of which there are many in the lottery ranks—could be mesmerized by what they see out of Bouknight. He has the full arsenal of handles, tempo changes, off-the-dribble jumpers and athletic finishes. Defenses are never comfortable when he's inside the lines.

    One monster scoring effort or two under these bright lights, and Bouknight will slot himself in the lottery's upper half.

Ayo Dosunmu Locks into Lottery

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Name five better players in men's college basketball than Ayo Dosunmu. We'll wait.

    One could argue there isn't anyone—and keep a straight face while doing it. From shot-creating to shot-making, defending and distributing, he has the total package at his disposal.

    He doesn't have the draft's highest ceiling as a 21-year-old junior, but his floor isn't far from the roof. He's explosive in transition, shrewd in the half-court and cool in the clutch. He can handle primary scoring duties, but he's just as comfortable sharing the rock, hitting the glass and getting after it defensively.

    With his top-seeded Illini holding an opportunity to get all the way to the title game, Dosunmu will have ample opportunity to impress scouts with his well-rounded skill set. By tourney's end, he could have several lottery clubs with win-now (or win-soon) intentions fawning over his plug-and-play potential.