2021 NBA Mock Draft: Breakdown of Top PG Prospects and 1st-Round Predictions
The order for the 2021 NBA draft is now set, and the speculation regarding which prospects will go to which teams is in full force. And that will continue to be the case for the next month, as the draft is scheduled to take place July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
There are a bunch of talented players in this year's draft class, but most rankings have Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham as the No. 1 prospect. He's one of several talented point guards who will likely be taken early in the draft, and there's a strong chance he'll be the first one off the board.
But surprises always occur on draft night. Trades will happen that change up the order, while some players will be drafted either much higher or much lower than mocks had been predicting.
Here's the latest mock for the first round of this year's draft, along with more on some of the top point guards in the class.
1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, PG/SG, Oklahoma State
2. Houston Rockets: Evan Mobley, C, USC
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga
4. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Green, SG, G League
5. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Kuminga, SF, G League
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor
7. Golden State Warriors (via Minnesota Timberwolves): James Bouknight, SG, UConn
8. Orlando Magic (via Chicago Bulls): Jalen Johnson, SF, Duke
9. Sacramento Kings: Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
10. New Orleans Pelicans: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
11. Charlotte Hornets: Scottie Barnes, SF, Florida State
12. San Antonio Spurs: Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
13. Indiana Pacers: Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
14. Golden State Warriors: Ziaire Williams, SG, Stanford
15. Washington Wizards: Alperen Sengun, C, Besiktas
16. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Boston Celtics): Josh Giddey, SG, Adelaide 36ers
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Kai Jones, PF, Texas
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami Heat): Usman Garuba, PF, Real Madrid
19. New York Knicks: Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
20. Atlanta Hawks: Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU
21. New York Knicks (via Dallas Mavericks): Isaiah Jackson, PF, Kentucky
22. Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
23. Houston Rockets (via Portland Trail Blazers): Jaden Springer, PG, Tennessee
24. Houston Rockets (via Milwaukee Bucks): Greg Brown, PF, Texas
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Ayo Dosunmu, SG, Illinois
26. Denver Nuggets: Aaron Henry, SG, Michigan State
27. Brooklyn Nets: Tre Mann, PG, Florida
28. Philadelphia 76ers: Jared Butler, PG, Baylor
29. Phoenix Suns: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Villanova
30. Utah Jazz: Joel Ayayi, SG, Gonzaga
Cunningham Will Go No. 1 Overall to Pistons
There are several choices facing the Pistons, who have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft for the first time since 1970. They can take any player in the draft class, or they could trade the selection, which general manager Troy Weaver recently told reporters is an option.
However, another option is the clear best choice: using the pick to take Cunningham.
During his lone season at Oklahoma State, Cunningham impressed with numerous skills, including strong shooting, solid defense and impressive passing. He's also 6'8", so he brings great size and physicality to the backcourt. He has all the tools to be successful in the NBA.
As The Athletic's James L. Edwards III noted, Cunningham "doesn’t really have any weaknesses" in his game.
"Any team that gets Cade Cunningham is going to have a drastically different outlook moving forward. He’s a spectacular prospect, my favorite to enter the NBA in the last two years," Edwards wrote.
The Pistons shouldn't overthink it and take Cunningham to begin draft night.
Suggs Will Become Latest Guard Drafted by Cavaliers
Each of the past three years, the Cavaliers have used their top draft pick to add a guard. In 2018, they took Alabama's Colin Sexton at No. 8. In 2019, they selected Vanderbilt's Darius Garland at No. 5. And in 2020, they picked Auburn's Isaac Okoro at No. 5.
Once again, Cleveland has an early selection in 2021, as it owns the No. 3 overall pick, its highest since owning the No. 1 selection in 2014. And yet again, the Cavs may be using their pick to take a guard.
According to Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo, Cleveland has started to explore trade options for Sexton, who had a strong 2020-21 season but will be looking to sign a big contract in the near future. Because of that, the Cavaliers prefers moving on, per Woo, which means they'd have a vacancy to fill in their backcourt.
If that's the case, then Cleveland could draft Jalen Suggs at No. 3. He impressed during his lone season at Gonzaga, and he's likely to be the second point guard selected, behind only Cunningham.
Suggs averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 30 games for the Bulldogs. So the 6'4" guard possesses a lot of skills, which could help him immediately enter the Cavs' backcourt and become a strong player for them.
Mitchell Could Be a Great Fit in Oklahoma City
Baylor won its first national championship in program history earlier this year, and it had several key players who fueled that impressive run through March Madness. Several of them could now be taken during the NBA draft and will be looking to take their games to the next level.
The first player from the Bears who will likely be drafted is Davion Mitchell, who spent the past two seasons at Baylor after transferring from Auburn. He continued to get better throughout his college career, which culminated with his strong 2020-21 season, during which he averaged 14.0 points and 5.5 assists in 30 games.
"His game looks tailor-made and ready to play in the NBA," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie recently wrote. "He’s one of the most competitive players in the draft, a tough dude who just keeps getting better every time we see him."
Mitchell could be a great fit with the Thunder, who own the No. 6 overall pick. Although they recently acquired Kemba Walker in a trade, that may not be a long-term fit, considering Oklahoma City is trying to build for the future. So it may be a good idea for the Thunder to consider pairing Mitchell with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in their backcourt moving forward.