NBA Mock Draft 2021: Opening-Round Predictions and Rising Prospects to Watch

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 9, 2021

NBA Mock Draft 2021: Opening-Round Predictions and Rising Prospects to Watch

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    Ethan Hyman/Associated Press

    NBA draft stocks are fluid up to the talent grab itself.

    Anything from a wild measurement, to a unique display of athleticism to a wow workout can send a prospect's stock through the roof.

    After laying out our latest mock first round, we'll spotlight three prospects rising up during the predraft process and improving their draft projections.

2021 NBA Mock Draft

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    Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

    1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, PG/SG, Oklahoma State

    2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Green, SG, G League Ignite

    3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, C, USC

    4. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs, PG/SG, Gonzaga

    5. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Kuminga, SF, G League Ignite

    6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Scottie Barnes, SF/PF, Florida State

    7. Golden State Warriors (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor

    8. Orlando Magic (via Chicago Bulls): James Bouknight, SG, UConn

    9. Sacramento Kings: Keon Johnson, SG/SF, Tennessee

    10. New Orleans Pelicans: Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas

    11. Charlotte Hornets: Kai Jones, PF/C, Texas

    12. San Antonio Spurs: Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan

    13. Indiana Pacers: Josh Giddey, PG/SG, Adelaide 36ers

    14. Golden State Warriors: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga

    15. Washington Wizards: Jalen Johnson, PF, Duke

    16. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Boston Celtics): Alperen Sengun, C, Besiktas

    17. Memphis Grizzlies: Trey Murphy III, SF, Virginia

    18. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami Heat): Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU

    19. New York Knicks: Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky

    20. Atlanta Hawks: Tre Mann, PG/SG, Florida

    21. New York Knicks (via Dallas Mavericks): Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn

    22. Los Angeles Lakers: Jared Butler, PG/SG, Baylor

    23. Houston Rockets (via Portland Trail Blazers): Usman Garuba, C, Real Madrid

    24. Houston Rockets (via Milwaukee Bucks): JT Thor, PF, Auburn

    25. Los Angeles Clippers: Ayo Dosunmu, PG/SG, Illinois

    26. Denver Nuggets: Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon

    27. Brooklyn Nets: Ziaire Williams, SF, Stanford

    28. Philadelphia 76ers: Nah'Shon Hyland, SG, VCU

    29. Phoenix Suns: Miles McBride, PG/SG, West Virginia

    30. Utah Jazz: Roko Prkacin, PF, Cibona

Trey Murphy III, SF, Virginia

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Trey Murphy III spent his first two seasons at Rice. His third and final college campaign saw him handling third scorer duties on a good-not-great Virginia team that was bounced out of the NCAA tournament's opening round.

    That didn't exactly force a ton of spotlight time his way. But now that he's spending more time in front of scouts, they're learning just how much there is to like.

    "Scouts could see Murphy rise into the top 20 with his convincing shooting stroke for a 6'9", switchable defender," B/R's Jonathan Wasserman reported. "He's an easy plug-and-play stretch forward with a translatable core skill and valued archetype."

    Murphy averaged 2.2 triples per contest on 40.1 percent shooting for his career. He's not a shot creator, but as a jumbo shooter offering flexibility on defense, he doesn't have to be to get scouts excited about his future.

Nah'Shon Hyland, SG, VCU

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    It took one scrimmage—one quarter, really—for Nah'Shon Hyland to rocket his draft stock at the combine.

    The 6'3" scoring guard toyed with defenders during a 15-point first quarter. Armed with a fiery three-ball, the confidence to expand his range and enough handles to free himself from tight spots, he dazzled in ways scouts hoped he would. By game's end, his stat line featured 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting (3-of-5 from deep), six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal in just 23 minutes.

    "This kid just played his way into the first round and he is not done yet," one NBA scout remarked to NBA Analysis Network's Brett Siegel. "... He could be the biggest riser in this year's draft class."

    Hyland looked the part of a sparkplug scorer all season, averaging 19.5 points and 2.9 triples with a 44.7/37.1/86.2 shooting slash. But some might have questioned the legitimacy of those numbers considering a big chunk came against A-10 competition. He quieted a lot of those concerns by proving just as productive against better competition at the combine.

Miles McBride, PG/SG, West Virginia

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Miles McBride wasn't a lock to stay in this draft, but a strong showing at the combine effectively made the decision for him.

    "The main reason was the feedback I got from the NBA's undergraduate advisory committee. Being drafted in the late first to early second round is what I've heard the most," McBride told ESPN's Jonathan Givony. "I had a great week at the NBA combine and at my pro day, meeting with NBA teams and hearing from them directly how interested they are in me."

    As they should be.

    McBride pairs a 6'8" wingspan with a dogged approach to defense to form a relentless and disruptive package at the game's less glamorous end. On offense, he's a sound decision-maker, good ball mover and, as of this past season, a 41.4 percent three-point splasher.

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