2021 NBA Mock Draft: Rounding Up Experts' 1st-Round Predictions After Lottery
The 2021 NBA draft lottery was Tuesday night, and the Detroit Pistons won the first selection slot in the draft. Detroit was one of three teams—along with the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets—to share the best odds (14 percent) of earning the selection.
Houston took the No. 2 selection, while the Cleveland Cavaliers (11.5 percent chance of earning the top pick) got the No. 3 pick.
Orlando dropped to the fifth draft slot, which should be a bit disappointing for its fanbase. This is perceived as a deep and talented draft class, but there seems to be a bit of a drop-off after the top three or four prospects.
Here, we'll take a look at the post-lottery draft order and review some of the experts' opinions about how things might unfold.
Post-Lottery Draft Order and Mock
1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, PG/SG, Oklahoma State
2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Green, SG, G League
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, C, USC
4. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga
5. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Kuminga, SF, G League
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Scottie Barnes, SF, Florida State
7. Golden State Warriors (from Minnesota): Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylo
8. Orlando Magic (from Chicago): Jalen Johnson, SF, Duke
9. Sacramento Kings: Alperen Sengun, C, Besiktas
10. New Orleans Pelicans: Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
11. Charlotte Hornets: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
12. San Antonio Spurs: James Bouknight, SG, UConn
13. Indiana Pacers: Ziaire Williams, SG, Stanford
14. Golden State Warriors: Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
15. Washington Wizards: Josh Giddey, SG, Adelaide 36ers
16. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Boston): Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Kai Jones, PF, Texas
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Miami): Isaiah Jackson, PF, Kentucky
19. New York Knicks: Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
20. Atlanta Hawks: Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
21. New York Knicks (from Dallas): Usman Garuba, PF, Real Madrid
22. Los Angeles Lakers: Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU
23. Houston Rockets (from Portland): Greg Brown, PF, Texas
24 Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee): Jaden Springer, PG, Tennessee
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Joel Ayayi, SG, Gonzaga
26. Denver Nuggets: Aaron Henry, SG, Michigan State
27. Brooklyn Nets: Tre Mann, PG, Florida
28. Philadelphia 76ers: Ayo Dosunmu, SG, Illinois
29. Phoenix Suns: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Villanova
30. Utah Jazz: Jared Butler, PG, Baylor
Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham is widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, and that was true before the draft lottery. He should be a fine pickup for the Pistons.
"Is he a point guard? Is he a small forward? He's everything and will look good next to point guard [Killian] Hayes as a do-everything three-level scorer," Merc Berman of the New York Post wrote.
While Cunningham is the clear top prospect in this class, USC's Evan Mobley and G League prospect Jalen Green are also top-tier prospects. According to Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman, Green, Mobley and Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs are all relatively can't-miss prospects:
"The only way my top five looks different by draft night is if I move down Jonathan Kuminga, whose shooting and awareness are worrisome. More background and intel should also come out over the next month on Kuminga and others who'll be trying to make a top-five case during workouts and interviews. Otherwise, Cunningham is locked into the top spot and Suggs is a hair behind Green and Mobley, based on Suggs' weaker handle for creation and low-volume three-point numbers."
The fact there are questions surrounding Kuminga—who shot just 38.7 percent from the floor this past season—adds some uncertainty to Orlando's selection at No. 5. Kuminga has the upside to warrant the selection but isn't as clean a prospect as the top four.
Cunningham, Green, Mobley and Suggs may well be the first four players off the board in some order, but things will get very interesting at No. 5.
Mock Draft Roundup
Looking at some post-lottery mock drafts, things immediately get interesting with the Houston Rockets' No. 2 selection. Jonathan Givony of ESPN has the Rockets taking Green, while CBS Sports' Gary Parrish has them taking Suggs. Berman also has the Rockets taking Green.
"The Rockets are still early in their rebuilding process and will likely look to target the most talented prospect regardless of fit. Green is the most explosive player in the draft who also possesses elite scoring instincts," Givony wrote of the selection.
All three analysts have the Cavaliers using the third pick on Mobley.
"The Cavaliers have young talent in their backcourt thanks to the presence of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, but they could use a frontcourt star to go with them. That's why the pick here should be Evan Mobley," Parrish wrote.
The three experts also have the Raptors taking either Suggs or Green, whichever prospect didn't go at No. 2. All three also have Kuminga going at No. 5—suggesting that Orlando will be happy to bet on his potential.
"Orlando is in full-blown rebuild—again—and just taking the player with the highest upside," Berman wrote.
Florida State forward Scottie Barnes is the consensus pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 6. Givony and Parrish have the Golden State Warriors taking Baylor point guard Davion Mitchell at No. 7, while Berman pairs them with Tennessee's Keon Johnson.
The three analysts round out the top eight with three different selections. Berman has the Orlando Magic taking Turkish prospect Alperen Sengun. Givony has Orlando taking Johnson, while Parrish pairs the Magic with Arkansas guard Moses Moody.
The top eight could be an interesting threshold to follow heading into the draft, as at least one team is potentially trying to move into that range. According to Yahoo Sports' Ian Begley, the New York Knicks are looking to package their No. 19, No. 21 and No. 32 picks to move up in the draft.
"That would probably get you into the top eight," one unnamed executive told Begley.