NBA Draft 2021: Assessing Scouting Reports on Top Stars from Experts' Mock Draft
The 2021 NBA draft process will look quite a bit different than it did last year.
There was no draft combine in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Front offices around the league had to rely mostly on prior scouting reports and game tape, though that itself was a bit of a challenge given the 2020 NCAA men's basketball tournament was also cancelled.
However, the draft combine is making a return this summer. Mid-lottery prospects and draft hopefuls will have the chance to improve their stocks. Of course, the top stars won't need much help in that regard.
Let's take a closer look at the scouting reports of the top players from a variety of expert mock drafts. First, we'll lay out HoopsHype's latest aggregate mock draft, which includes mocks from a host of sources.
Latest Aggregate Mock Draft
HoopsHype Aggregate Mock Draft
1. Cade Cunningham, PG/SG, Oklahoma State
2. Evan Mobley, C, USC
3. Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga
4. Jalen Green, SG, G League Ignite
5. Jonathan Kuminga, SF/PF, G League Ignite
6. Keon Johnson, SG/SF, Tennessee
7. Scottie Barnes, SF/PF, Florida State
8. Kai Jones, C, Texas
9. Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
10. Davion Mitchell, PG/SG, Baylor
11. James Bouknight, SG, Connecticut
12. Franz Wagner, SF/PF, Michigan
13. Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
14. Jalen Johnson, PF, Duke
15. Josh Giddey, PG/SG, Adelaide 36ers
16. Ziaire Williams, SF, Stanford
17. Jaden Springer, PG/SG, Tennessee
18. Usman Garuba, PF, Real Madrid (Spain)
19. Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU
20. Isaiah Jackson, PF/C, Kentucky
21. Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
22. Tre Mann, PG/SG, Florida
23. Ayo Dosunmu, PG/SG, Illinois
24. Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
25. Jared Butler, PG/SG, Butler
26. Josh Christopher, SG, Arizona State
27. Greg Brown, PF, Texas
28. Brandon Boston Jr., SF, Kentucky
29. Alperen Sengun, C, Besiktas (Turkey)
30. Miles McBride, PG, West Virginia
Via Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.
There has been little to suggest Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham will not be the first to hear his name called later this summer.
Cunningham showed incredible maturity and an advanced skill set for a freshman. His three-level scoring and ability to play either guard spot could make him an asset at the next level.
"His time at Montverde Academy showed he is a smart, unselfish passer who can make all of the necessary reads," Sam Vecenie of The Athletic wrote. "If you need him to play as a secondary wing scoring threat, though, he can do that too."
Cunningham showed he could pretty much do it all this past season. He averaged 20.1 points per game and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc on 5.7 attempts to the game. He also showed an aptitude for getting to the free-throw line, averaging nearly six free throws per contest.
Additionally, Cunningham averaged 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He impacts the game in numerous ways and understands how to break down opposing defenses, whether getting to his own spots on the floor or creating for his teammates.
It remains to be seen which team will get the No. 1 pick. But that team will be getting a potential superstar in Cunningham, who is also a strong defender capable of guarding multiple positions.
Evan Mobley's absurd upside is hard to deny.
The former USC star is a 7-footer who can handle the ball, create space in the post and even shoot the three. But he really is more NBA-ready on the defensive side of the ball.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman wrote Mobley "popped this year for his quickness and length in rim protection, switching and guarding in space."
Naturally, Mobley's frame and athleticism give him a certain advantage as a defender. He averaged 2.9 blocks per game last season and was adept at rotating over from the weak side or generally serving as an inhibitor who clogged the lane.
Time will tell just how quickly Mobley can progress on the other end of the floor. He has good explosiveness and can finish at the rim. The post game could use more polish, but Mobley could—in time—be a matchup nightmare by stretching the floor and handling the ball in space.
Jalen Suggs' game-winner against UCLA will live on as one of the greatest moments in NCAA history. But he had asserted himself as a draft prospect well before that shot with his tremendous playmaking and two-way ability.
The Gonzaga star averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He excelled at dissecting defenders in the pick-and-roll and finding cutters. Suggs was exceptional in terms of his vision in transition as well as making plays for himself.
"It's easy to see him thriving in a Jrue Holiday type of role at the next level," Mike Schmitz of ESPN wrote, "and Suggs certainly has more juice off the dribble than Holiday, who averaged eight points per game on a talented UCLA team and went 17th in the draft."
Schmitz noted Suggs' high-energy style can sometimes lead to poor decision-making and turnovers. However, the freshman excelled in the biggest moments. The play against UCLA that really defined his upside wasn't the game-winner, but rather the outstanding block on Cody Riley and subsequent half-court bounce pass to Drew Timme.
Suggs can control the tempo of the game on both ends. He could become something special if he can be more efficient on the ball and from beyond the arc.
All stats obtained via Sports Reference unless otherwise noted.