NBA Draft 2021: Latest Mock Draft for Top 1st-Round Prospects
The Milwaukee Bucks might still be cleaning the confetti out of the Deer District after their Finals win, but the rest of the league will be swiftly changing their focus to the draft.
The draft is now just a week away. There has been plenty of time for the rumor mill to start churning out buzz about where the top prospects are headed.
This year's event is shaping up to be one that could be important. Cade Cunningham appears to be the consensus No. 1 pick, but after that, there's plenty of intrigue, and there could be multiple future All-Stars available.
Cunningham's skill-set and intangibles have made him the no-brainer pick at No. 1. However, there could be more franchise cornerstones at the top of the draft. Here's a look at the next three top prospects and predictions for where they will wind up.
First-Round Mock Draft
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: Scottie Barnes, SF/PF, Florida State
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jonathan Kuminga, PF/SF, G League Ignite
7. Golden State Warriors (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Moses Moody, SG/SF, Arkansas
8. Orlando Magic (via Chicago Bulls): James Bouknight, SG, UConn
9. Sacramento Kings: Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
10. New Orleans Pelicans: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kai Jones, PF/C, Texas
12. San Antonio Spurs: Josh Giddey, SG/SF, Australia
13. Indiana Pacers: Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor
14. Golden State Warriors: Jalen Johnson, SF/PF, Duke
15. Washington Wizards: Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
16. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Boston Celtics): Alperen Sengun, C, Besiktas
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami Heat): Tre Mann, PG/SG, Florida
19. New York Knicks: Isaiah Jackson, PF/C, Kentucky
20. Atlanta Hawks: Ziaire Williams, SG, Stanford
21. New York Knicks (via Dallas Mavericks): Trey Murphy, SG/SF, Virginia
22. Los Angeles Lakers: Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
23. Houston Rockets (via Portland Trail Blazers): Usman Garuba, PF, Real Madrid
24. Houston Rockets (via Milwaukee Bucks): Jaden Springer, PG/SG, Tennessee
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Jared Butler, PG, Baylor
26. Denver Nuggets: Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU
27. Brooklyn Nets: Day'Ron Sharpe, C, North Carolina
28. Philadelphia 76ers: Ayo Dosunmu, SG, Illinois
29. Phoenix Suns: Josh Christopher, SG, Arizona State
30. Utah Jazz: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Villanova
Jalen Green, SG, G League Ignite
The Houston Rockets might have missed out on the Cade Cunningham sweepstakes, but the opportunity to pick second this year is a nice consolation prize.
There have been conflicting reports about what the Rockets are discussing internally regarding the pick. NBA insider Chad Ford reported that teams believe the pick will come down to Jalen Green or USC center Evan Mobley. However, Zach Harper of The Athletic has reported that the decision is actually coming down to Green or Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs.
The common element in both of those reports is Green. The Rockets are in the early stages of a long-term rebuild so fit with the current roster shouldn't be a factor.
The question is will the Rockets prefer the scoring and star potential of the 6'6" scoring guard in Green or the athletic big in Mobley.
After watching DeAndre Ayton play a pivotal role in the Phoenix Suns' run to the NBA finals, there's an argument to be made for taking Mobley. He has the same defensive potential as a pick-and-roll destroyer who can protect the rim.
Then you remember that the Suns built around Devin Booker before ever getting Ayton. The Rockets will probably elect to kick off their rebuild around Green in a similar fashion.
Evan Mobley, C, USC
Should the Rockets decide to go with Green, that leaves Mobley and Gonzaga distributor Jalen Suggs as the most obvious choices for the Cavs at No. 3.
The Cavs can't get too picky about fit. There's a reason they are picking at No. 3, but they do have some good pieces they will need to consider. They have two promising young guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
Drafting either Suggs or Green would necessitate the team trading one of their young assets. Drafting Mobley is a great scenario because it allows them to move forward with the roster as-is if they choose.
There is the question of what to do with Jarrett Allen. He'll be a restricted free agent this season. But it would be worth it to see if Mobley can play alongside him as a power forward.
That would give the Cavs an exciting core of Garland, Sexton, Mobley, Allen and 2020 first-round pick Isaac Okoro.
Mobley is already a versatile defender with a high ceiling. His offensive game will ultimately determine his value, but the ingredients are there for him to be a lethal pick-and-roll weapon.
Jalen Suggs, PG/SG, Gonzaga
Kyle Lowry is 35 years old and approaching free agency this offseason. It's a nice stroke of fortune for the Toronto Raptors to have wound up in a perfect position to take Jalen Suggs.
If the first three picks fall this way, Suggs is the safest choice who still has superstar potential. Suggs is a proficient scorer, but his ability to initiate an offense and make plays for himself and his teammates is what makes him special.
Suggs is able to score off the dribble, but he is also a smart cutter without the ball in his hands. On defense, he has active hands and can create turnovers.
Generally, fit is not a worry for a team picking this early, but the Raptors still have a strong roster. Suggs' maturity and leadership in college would indicate he can help them win sooner rather than later.
His defensive intensity and versatility on offense would make him an ideal running mate for Fred VanVleet and an obvious heir apparent to Lowry.