2021 NBA Mock Draft: Lottery Simulation and Full 2-Round Results
Prospects continue to gather feedback and make decisions for the 2021 NBA draft.
Few prospects who seemed draftable have announced they'll be heading back to school. The biggest name yet to publicly declare or return is Texas' Greg Brown, who we're projecting to stay in school.
There is still a considerable amount of down time for scouting departments from now until lottery night on June 21. We've simulated the draft order with Tankathon, and the results triggered some interesting trades previously made.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State, PG/SG, Freshman)
The Oklahoma City Thunder's commitment to building through the draft could pay off big with some 2021 lottery luck. It will be a huge night for the franchise. Winning that first pick likely means adding Cade Cunningham to join Shai Gilgeous-Alexlander and create a big, skilled, versatile backcourt.
Cunningham and Gilgeous-Alexander would be easily interchangeable. The 6'8" freshman just finished as the most efficient isolation scorer of any recent top draft pick. But he also shot 40.0 percent from three while showcasing advanced passing skills, which allows him to work as a lead guard or player an offense can run through.
Oklahoma City may think about Evan Mobley here, given the team's major need for a big man. But Cunningham is still widely regarded as the No. 1 overall prospect, and adding the best player will remain the Thunder's top priority during a rebuild.
2. Toronto Raptors: Evan Mobley (USC, C, Freshman)
One disappointing down season would be worth it if it meant the Toronto Raptors could jump into the lottery's top four. They'd make a quick turnaround by adding Evan Mobley, another long, rangy defender, to join Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher.
Between Mobley and Siakam, the Raptors would have two switchable bigs capable of guarding outside the paint.
But Mobley also flashed persuasive offensive skill for scoring versatility, working as a roll man or mid-range shooter who can also attack closeouts and finish drives with layups or runners.
The Raptors could look at Jalen Suggs if they're unsure about Kyle Lowry's future. Or they could target Jalen Green, given the team's need for a scoring wing. But they're more likely to see too much upside with Mobley's two-way impact.
3. Sacramento Kings: Jalen Green (G League Ignite, SG, 2002)
At No. 3, the Sacramento Kings just miss out on Evan Mobley, a presumed target. Instead, they could settle on Jalen Green for his scoring and athleticism from the wings.
Assuming the Kings are getting eager to escape the lottery and finally start moving up the standings, they'll likely be shopping this pick in hopes of landing a more established, star-caliber veteran. The team's backcourt is set after drafting Tyrese Haliburton, and finding a reliable, defensive big is a must for the Kings to turn things around.
But staying pat could mean showing interest in Green, who'd offer more creation and transition offense than Buddy Hield.
4. Indiana Pacers: Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga, PG, Freshman)
It feels like the Indiana Pacers are unraveling, between the negative reports on coach Nate Bjorkgren, injuries and the team now five games under .500. They could use some lottery luck to bring them Jalen Suggs.
Malcolm Brogdon's and Caris LeVert's injury histories should make it easier for Indiana to set aside questions about Suggs' fit and team needs. Regardless, Indiana could play all three together with Suggs and Brogdon interchangeable and LeVert a 6'6" wing.
As exciting as Suggs is for his open-floor passing, downhill attacking, pull-up shooting and defensive playmaking, the Pacers could be equally drawn to his reputable intangibles that are known to impact winning.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jonathan Kuminga (G League Ignite, SF/PF, 2002)
The Houston Rockets landing outside the top four means their pick goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who can now add another top-five prospect. This would be a huge break for a franchise banking on the draft to rebuild the roster.
After adding Cade Cunningham to the backcourt, the Thunder can focus on their frontcourt by taking Jonathan Kuminga for his scoring and athleticism from either forward spot. Compared to Aleksej Pokusevski, Kuminga is tougher attacking downhill at 6'8", 220 pounds. But he's also flashed perimeter skill as a shot-creator and shot-maker, as well as the strength, length and mobility to guard opposing teams' wings.
At this point, Oklahoma City is focused on stockpiling assets. The front office will worry about how everyone fits together later in the process. There is a perceived gap between Kuminga and the No. 6 prospect, so he's the popular prediction at No. 5 for whoever winds up picking here.
6. Detroit Pistons: Keon Johnson (Tennessee, SG/SF, Freshman)
For the Detroit Pistons, Keon Johnson potentially checks the best-player-available box while also filling a need.
He'd give their backcourt a jolt of athleticism and defensive energy. But he's this high on boards due to improved creation flashes, shot-making off post-ups, and pull-ups and passing.
Worst case, he figures to contribute by putting pressure on the rim and opposing guards/wings with his aggressiveness and quickness. Best case, the 19-year-old continues to develop his ball-handling and jumper to become a three-level scorer and two-way starter.
7. Golden State Warriors (via Timberwolves): Franz Wagner (Michigan, SF/PF, Fr.)
The Minnesota Timberwolves' pick falling outside the top three means it goes to the Golden State Warriors as part of the D'Angelo Russell-Andrew Wiggins trade.
But at No. 7, there isn't an obvious best player available, meaning fit could factor into Golden State's decision. And Franz Wagner looks like a textbook fit for the team's roster and system.
Versatile at 6'9" with a well-rounded skill set and excellent defensive IQ/mobility, Wagner could be a plug-and-play option at the 3 or 4 spots. Ideally, he becomes a more consistent shooter, but even at 19 years old going on 20 (August), Wagner should pose an immediate threat as a shot-maker, passer and slasher through open lanes with the feet and instincts to guard multiple positions.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jalen Johnson (Duke, PF, Freshman)
The Cleveland Cavaliers could see Jalen Johnson as their next long-term starting power forward.
Their lineup would get some extra pop from the 6'9", 220-pound hybrid 4. He'd bring a totally different skill set to the position than Kevin Love. Even without a reliable jumper, Johnson remains attractive for his frontcourt athleticism, open-floor ball-handling, passing on the move, face-up play and effectiveness scoring around the basket.
Another option for Cleveland would be prioritizing defense again and pairing Isaac Okoro with Scottie Barnes.
9. Orlando Magic: Scottie Barnes (Florida State, PF, Freshman)
The Orlando Magic front office has a history of valuing defensive versatility and length in the draft. And given the injury histories of Jonathan Isaac and Chuma Okeke, the Magic won't be afraid to add Scottie Barnes.
He can be used in too many ways for Orlando to worry about fit. The draw to Barnes stems from his passing and defensive upside fueled by size, lateral mobility and IQ. An Isaac-Barnes pairing at the 4/5 could cause serious problems for opposing offenses.
And while Barnes' scoring skills are lagging compared to the draft's other lottery forwards, he's still a threat with his ball-handling in transition or facing his man up.
10. Orlando Magic (via Bulls): Davion Mitchell (Baylor, PG/SG, Junior)
With the Chicago Bulls' pick, the Orlando Magic could continue strengthening their defensive identity by taking Davion Mitchell.
Still, he's moved into the top-10 mix for his offensive development. The breakout star of college hoops has blossomed into a dangerous shooter off the dribble and catch. And despite sharing the ball with Jared Butler, he still managed 5.5 assists per game, showing improvement as a playmaker for teammates.
Though the Magic already have Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton, the team is too far away to overthink needs and fit in the draft. They'd be happy to add another guard who can create, shot-make and defend, while his improved spot-up jumper and experience sharing the rock with Butler should bode well for his ability to play either backcourt spot.
11. New Orleans Pelicans: Moses Moody (Arkansas, SG, Freshman)
12. Washington Wizards: Corey Kispert (Gonzaga, SF, Senior)
13. San Antonio Spurs: Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers, PG/SG, 2002)
14. Memphis Grizzlies: Usman Garuba (Real Madrid, PF/C, 2002)
15. Charlotte Hornets: Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky, PF/C, Freshman)
16. Boston Celtics: Kai Jones (Texas, PF, Sophomore)
17. Golden State Warriors: Jared Butler (Baylor, PG/SG, Junior)
18. Atlanta Hawks: James Bouknight (Connecticut, SG, Sophomore)
19. Houston Rockets (via Heat): Ziaire Williams (Stanford, SF, Freshman)
20. New York Knicks: Tre Mann (Florida, PG/SG, Sophomore)
- Giddey is playing himself out the range for teams hoping to grab him in the mid-first round. He just racked up his third triple-double in four games. The Spurs could use another passer or think about using Giddey as a jumbo playmaker from the 2-guard spot. Watch out for the Knicks, who have two picks in the 20s and could look to move up for a facilitator like Giddey.
- The Celtics will have to do some self-evaluating this summer. And they won't get a quick fix in the late teens unless they luck out. Instead of settling on older role-playing prospects like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, Boston should be looking to swing bigger for long-term upside. Kai Jones, Jaden Springer and Ziaire Williams are young, sensible targets.
- Adding a center should be a priority for the Hornets, either in the draft or free agency. Jackson stands out as an appealing fit with his bounce for finishing (LaMelo Ball lobs) and shot-blocking. Charlotte could also look at international bigs, with Garuba a defensive ace and Alperen Sengun a skilled scorer around the basket.
- Butler would feel like a seamless fit in Golden State for his ability to play on and off the ball due to his improved playmaking and shooting versatility off pull-ups and spot-ups.
21. Los Angeles Lakers: Jaden Springer (Tennessee, PG/SG, Freshman)
22. Houston Rockets (via Blazers): Cameron Thomas (LSU, SG, Freshman)
23. New York Knicks (via Mavericks): Brandon Boston Jr. (Kentucky, SF, Freshman)
24. Houston Rockets (via Bucks): Alperen Sengun (Besiktas, C, 2002)
25. Denver Nuggets: Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois, PG/SG, Junior)
26. Brooklyn Nets: Aaron Henry (Michigan State, SG/SF, Junior)
27. Los Angeles Clippers: Sharife Cooper (Auburn, PG, Freshman)
28. Philadelphia 76ers: Chris Duarte (Oregon, SG, Senior)
29. Phoenix Suns: Josh Christopher (Arizona State, SG/SF, Freshman)
30. Utah Jazz: Roko Prkacin (Cibona, PF, 2002)
- Boston's draft stock remains fascinating, considering he started the year top-five on boards and struggled through most of his one season. We've seen a number of Kentucky prospects look better as pros than college players. And for a 6'7" wing, Boston's flashes of slashing and shot-making remain intriguing. After hitting big with Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks could go back to the well at Kentucky and buy low on a 19-year-old who actually shot 42.0 percent from three over his last 10 games.
- Thomas could offer value to a Rockets' team that's practically building from scratch. He led all freshman in scoring and figures to carve out an instant-offense microwave role with his shot-making at the least.
- The Nets have to be thinking about adding defensive-minded role players. Henry jumps out as one with his 6'6" frame for guarding both wing spots and impressive anticipation for making off-ball reads.
- Cooper would be an interesting option for the Clippers. Though a limited shooter and defender, he could play to his strengths in L.A. as a playmaker and passer, bringing speed and change of pace off the bench.
31. Milwaukee Bucks (via Rockets): Miles McBride (West Virginia, PG, Sophomore)
32. New York Knicks (via Pistons): Josh Primo (Alabama, SG, Freshman)
33. Oklahoma City Thunder: Joel Ayayi (Gonzaga, PG/SG, Junior)
34. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Timberwolves): Day'Ron Sharpe (North Carolina, C, Freshman)
35. Orlando Magic: Johnny Juzang (UCLA, SF, Sophomore)
36. New Orleans Pelicans (via Cavaliers): Trey Murphy III (Virginia, PF, Junior)
37. Detroit Pistons (via Raptors): Terrence Shannon Jr. (Texas Tech, SG/SF, Sophomore)
38. Chicago Bulls: JT Thor (Auburn, PF, Freshman)
39. Sacramento Kings: Max Abmas (Oral Roberts, PG/SG, Sophomore)
40. New Orleans Pelicans: Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky, C, Junior)
Juzang's NCAA tournament breakout caught scouts' attention, and some are buying in. There is a belief that he could sneak into the first round as a 6'6" scoring wing who can create for himself and shoot off the catch or dribble.
Abmas also earned fans during March Madness, despite having entered the tournament already leading the nation in scoring. He just declared for the draft and presumably received some positive feedback that influenced his decision. Taking him first round seems like a stretch, given his 6'1", 165-pound size and lack of playmaking. But Abmas ranked first in the NCAA in both pull-up and spot-up shooting points per possession. There is bound to be interest in his shot-making.
Shannon looked like a first-round pick when he was making shots, given his 6'6" size, explosiveness and defensive quickness. He raised his three-point mark to 35.7 percent this season, albeit on limited attempts. Teams will be eager to get eyes on his shot during workouts. Creating more optimism over his shooting potential could help Shannon earn looks in the 20s.
41. Brooklyn Nets (via Pacers): Herb Jones (Alabama, SF, Senior)
42. New Orleans Pelicans (via Wizards): Kessler Edwards (Pepperdine, SF, Junior)
43. San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Todd (G League Ignite, PF, 2002)
44. Detroit Pistons (via Grizzlies): RaiQuan Gray (Florida State, PF, Junior)
45. Toronto Raptors (via Hornets): Filip Petrusev (Mega Bemax, C, 2000)
46. Toronto Raptors (via Warriors): Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova, PF, Sophomore)
47. Boston Celtics: Santi Aldama (Loyola MD, PF, Sophomore)
48. Atlanta Hawks (via Heat): Austin Reaves (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)
49. Brooklyn Nets (via Hawks): Rokas Jokubaitis (Zalgiris, PG/SG, 2000)
50. Philadelphia 76ers (via Knicks): Nah'Shon Hyland (VCU, SG, Sophomore)
- The Pelicans have four second-round picks, so don't expect them to make selections with each one. But Edwards could be an enticing target anywhere in the 30s or 40s for his shooting and shot-making versatility as a 6'8" small forward.
- From Gonzaga to Serbia, Petrusev has blazed an interesting path to the draft. Off the NBA radar while in college, he looked far more versatile with Mega Bemax, leading the Adriatic League in scoring and winning MVP at 21 years old. He made two threes as an NCAA sophomore and 30 this past season. The skilled, 6'11" center improved his stock overseas and now could potentially draw first-round looks.
- Aldama has kept his NCAA eligibility alive for next season, but after averaging 21.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.9 threes, I'm not sure what else he could do to improve his stock. There is a sense of reluctance from scouts to fully buy in, given his lack of athleticism and his team's poor strength of schedule in the Patriot League. But it's hard to argue with his shooting stroke for a 6'11" big at the very least.
- Reaves moved into the second-round picture after his 27 points against Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament. He's a three-level scorer, but he didn't shoot as many threes as you'd like for a senior guard, so teams will be focused on his shot during the predraft process.
51. Detroit Pistons (via Lakers): Matthew Hurt (Duke, PF, Sophomore)
52. Memphis Grizzlies (via Blazers): David Duke (Providence, SG, Junior)
53. New Orleans Pelicans (via Mavericks): Ariel Hukporti (Nevezis Kedainiai, C, 2002)
54. Indiana Pacers (via Bucks): Isaiah Livers (Michigan, SF, Senior)
55. Charlotte Hornets (via Nets): Quentin Grimes (Houston, SG, Junior)
56. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Nuggets): Daishen Nix (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2002)
57. Charlotte Hornets (via Los Angeles Clippers): Sandro Mamukelashvili (Seton Hall, PF/C, Senior)
58. New York Knicks (via 76ers): Yoan Makoundou (Cholet, PF, 2000)
59. Brooklyn Nets (via Suns): Justin Champagnie (Pittsburgh, SF/PF, Sophomore)
60. Indiana Pacers (via Jazz): Trendon Watford (LSU, PF, Sophomore)
- Hurt's breakout season didn't lead to significant NBA interest, but he could be a value pick as a floor-spacer and shot-making specialist. He won't pass, rebound or defend, but the 6'9" forward shot 44.4 percent from three and showed he can make tougher speciality jumpers inside the arc.
- Grimes improved his stock at Houston after struggling as a freshman at Kansas. The former McDonald's All-American felt like a master of none early in his career. Now, he's selling himself as a shooting specialist after hitting 100 threes in 30 games.
- Champagnie just hired an agent, which makes you wonder if he heard positive feedback. Some scouts prefer his twin brother Julian, a better shooter, but teams are looking at Justin for his toughness and versatility. Could he wind up in his hometown of Brooklyn with the Nets?