NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, More 2021 Draft PlansJuly 4, 2021
NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, More 2021 Draft Plans
The 2021 NBA Finals are set. The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 118-107 on Saturday to close out the Eastern Conference Finals. They will now face the Phoenix Suns in the championship round. For the NBA's other 28 teams, it's now on to the offseason.
July 29's draft will naturally be a big piece of the offseason. Teams will be looking to get to where Milwaukee and Phoenix are, and the draft is where championship foundations are forged. Landing a franchise staple in the mold of Devin Booker or Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the goal.
The Detroit Pistons are already on the clock with the No. 1 overall selection. Will they land the next great NBA star? Will they even make a pick at No. 1? We'll dig into the latest draft buzz here.
Jalen Green Drawing Interest at the Top of Round 1
Heading into the draft lottery, Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham appeared to be the prize at No. 1. While there's no such thing as a can't-miss prospect, Cunningham appears to be close. However, the Pistons haven't settled on Cunningham just yet, and G League prospect Jalen Green has a rising draft stock.
"This has been reported other places already, including by our own Sam Vecenie, but I can very much confirm that the Pistons are intrigued by G League Ignite guard Jalen Green and could take him over Cunningham," The Athletic's John Hollinger wrote.
And if Green falls to No. 2, it appears he will be at the top of the Houston Rockets' wishlist. Cunningham, Green and USC big man Evan Mobley are widely viewed as the top three options at the top of Round 1.
"Most teams think the Rockets will end up prioritizing the shot creation and playmaking ability of Green over Mobley, the type of big man a front office groomed by previous GM Daryl Morey would seem less likely to covet," ESPN's Jonathan Givony wrote.
It wouldn't be a shock to see Green go first overall. And at this point, there's virtually no chance that the G League standout falls out of the top three.
No. 3 Pick 'Drawing Interest'
The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to round out the top three, and they may be happy landing whichever one is available out of Cunningham, Green and Mobley. However, Cleveland could also look to leverage the selection, and there does appear to be some trade interest in the pick.
"Sources say there's already been plenty of interested suitors. But it's just cursory conversations at this point," Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com wrote.
It's still relatively early in the draft process, and Cleveland might not get maximum trade value until it is on the clock—trading up without knowing who is available is always a dicey prospect. Therefore, it makes sense that the Cavaliers haven't engaged in serious trade talks to this point.
A trade would make sense, though, if Cleveland decides to pull the trigger closer to or on draft night. This is believed to be a deep draft class, and as Fedor pointed out, the Cavs are considering the second tier of prospects.
"The Cavs like that cluster," Fedor wrote. "They will do their homework and expand the No. 3 search beyond Cunningham, Mobley, Green and [Jalen] Suggs."
There's a real chance that the No. 3 pick will become a pivot point on draft night.
Cavs Believe That Mobley Can Play Alongside Jarrett Allen
If Cleveland decides to stay put and pick at No. 3, the Cavs won't be pushed into a particular position. Selecting a guard like Green or Suggs would make a lot of sense, especially if Cleveland decides to move on from Collin Sexton this offseason.
"According to league sources, the Cavaliers have begun to explore trade options involving leading scorer Collin Sexton," Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo wrote.
However, the Cavs could also look to pair Mobley with Jarrett Allen in the frontcourt. While Mobley may project as a center for most teams, The Cavaliers—and at least a few other teams—believe he could slot in at forward with Allen playing center.
"Most scouts and executives that spoke with Cleveland.com over the last few days have been quick to label Mobley a 4, not a 5, thanks to his mobility, perimeter game, quick feet, athleticism, defensive versatility and rare ball-handling prowess for a 7-footer," Fedor wrote.
So while trading down may make sense for Cleveland, the Cavaliers may not be inclined to do so if Mobley is still on the board at No. 3.