B/R's Final 2021 NBA Mock Draft: Top 4 Picks Coming into Focus
Our final 2021 NBA mock draft is set before what should be a wildly unpredictable night full of surprise picks and trades.
The Detroit Pistons are still teasing the league by suggesting they don't know who'll they take. By pick No. 4, the draft could really go in multiple directions.
Teams will be actively discussing deals and the order of their boards until they're on the clock.
1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State, PG/SG, Freshman)
Despite the Detroit Pistons unwilling to publicly commit, signs still point to them taking Cade Cunningham, the perceived No. 1 prospect all season.
With an ability to create his own shot, play-make and hit spot-up threes, he'll operate as a combo guard next to Killian Hayes.
Cunningham figures to be a top-two option with Jerami Grant, while Saddiq Bey continues to stretch the floor from the wings. The only question is whether the No. 1 pick will affect Hayes' development at point guard, given how effective Cunningham is with the ball.
2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Green (G League Ignite, SG, 2002)
Jalen Green has been linked to the Houston Rockets since early in the process. League sources believe he'll be the pick at No. 2 barring any last-minute trades.
In need of more weapons offensively, Green gives Houston a potential No. 1 overall scoring option. He is elite athletically and dramatically improved his handle and footwork for creation, while his shot-making in the G League bubble looked legitimate and translatable.
With Green and Kevin Porter Jr., the Rockets suddenly have two explosive wings to build with.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley (USC, PF/C, Freshman)
Unless the Cleveland Cavaliers wind up trading Collin Sexton, Evan Mobley is the most likely target at No. 3.
He has a best-player-available case over Jalen Suggs with 7'0" size and an ability to handle, face up and score, make jumpers, protect the rim and switch onto forwards.
The Cavaliers will just have a difficult decision to make on restricted free agent Jarrett Allen. But it sounds like Cleveland has confidence in his ability to coexist with Mobley, who can operate and defend more around the perimeter.
Mobley would give the Cavaliers' added rim protection and far more offensive versatility than Allen.
4. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga, PG, Freshman)
Scottie Barnes will make the Toronto Raptors think, especially if they're looking to re-sign Kyle Lowry. But with Lowry now 35 years old, drafting Jalen Suggs seems most reasonable.
He shouldn't have trouble fitting in next to Fred VanVLeet. Suggs, who played on and off the ball at Gonzaga, can be interchangeable as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and cutter.
He's one of the draft's most complete players, with passing skills, a pull-up and floater game, defensive instincts and winning intangibles that scouts raved about all season.
5. Orlando Magic: Scottie Barnes (Florida State, SF/PF, Freshman)
Sources say the Orlando Magic will take Scottie Barnes at No. 5 if the Toronto Raptors pass at No. 4.
Drafting Barnes means building an identity around defense. The defensive IQ and switchability of Barnes and Jonathan Isaac could cause all sorts of problems for opposing offenses.
But teams also see unique upside tied to Barnes' ball-handling, passing, finishing and potential to improve as a spot-up shooter.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: James Bouknight (Connecticut, SG, Sophomore)
James Bouknight has been linked to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a few weeks now. Rival teams believe he's the pick over Jonathan Kuminga at No. 6.
Questions about his shooting seemed to fade after his pro day. And given his athleticism, shot-creation and production at Connecticut, scouts picture his scoring translating.
Between Bouknight and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder would have two guards with size who can each get their own shots.
7. Golden State Warriors (via Wolves): Jonathan Kuminga (Ignite, SF/PF, 2002)
The Golden State Warriors have seen Jonathan Kuminga work out and are debating whether he fits their team and timeline. I'm told some in the organization think that there is too much upside to pass on for a No. 7 pick.
One of the most physically impressive prospects, Kuminga also flashed the creation and perimeter skill set for a top-scoring option. Even if he's not ready to come in and shoot a high percentage as a rookie, it's tough to picture a mid-lottery pick moving the needle for Golden State next season, anyway.
The Warriors could go with Kuminga's long-term potential and draft a more NBA-ready prospect like Oregon's Chris Duarte, Arkansas' Moses Moody or Virginia's Trey Murphy III at No. 14.
8. Orlando Magic: Franz Wagner (Michigan, SF/PF, Sophomore)
Rival teams expect Franz Wagner to go top 10, with the Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings both perceived favorite landing spots.
He's an easy fit for any lineup, with an ability to catch-and-shoot, play-make and guard multiple positions.
The Magic could play him as a small or power forward, given his 6'9" size, perimeter skill set and defensive versatility.
9. Sacramento Kings: Alperen Sengun (Besiktas, C, 2002)
Moses Moody will earn consideration, but Alperen Sengun's inside scoring may look too enticing. Moody won't be able to give Sacramento anything Buddy Hield can't.
Sengun would provide the lineup with an option to feature around the key, where he excels at creating for himself and finishing rolls to the basket.
Marvin Bagley's durability issues and Richaun Holmes' free agency may make Sengun look even more appealing to Sacramento.
10. Memphis Grizzlies (via Pelicans): Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers, PG/SG, 2002)
The Memphis Grizzlies have moved up to No. 10, and sources say Josh Giddey is a target.
He'd give the lineup another playmaker with enough size to play 2-guard next to Ja Morant. Giddey, the NBL's assist leader at 18 years old, has special passing instincts and IQ, but he could use a better athlete and explosive driver like Morant to play alongside. However, he'd likely begin his NBA career in a backup role.
Giddey's shooting development will be key for both his development and fit in Memphis.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Moses Moody (Arkansas, SG/SF, Freshman)
12. San Antonio Spurs: Kai Jones (Texas, PF, Sophomore)
13. Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte (Oregon, SG, Senior)
14. Golden State Warriors: Davion Mitchell (Baylor, PG/SG, Junior)
15. Washington Wizards: Trey Murphy III (Virginia, SF/PF, Junior)
16. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Celtics): Jalen Johnson (Duke, PF, Freshman)
17. New Orleans Pelicans: Corey Kispert (Gonzaga, SF, Senior)
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Heat): Jared Butler (Baylor, PG/SG, Junior)
19. New York Knicks: Ziaire Williams (Stanford, SG/SF, Freshman)
20. Atlanta Hawks: Cameron Thomas (LSU, SG, Freshman)
The Hornets could go in a number of different directions. Moody could be the best player available and provide key depth at the wing spot.
The Pacers are rumored to have interest in Mitchell, who could play with Malcolm Brogdon to give Indiana another tough defender with a combo-guard skill set. However, Duarte's name is hot. He could be an option for both Indiana and teams looking to trade up.
The Pelicans would be thrilled if Kispert slipped after his strong workout in New Orleans and the team now expected to start competing for the playoffs.
The Thunder are believed to be interested in Butler. The question is whether New Orleans takes him first or if OKC wants to grab him at No. 16.
21. New York Knicks (via Mavericks): Nah'Shon Hyland (VCU, SG, Sophomore)
22. Los Angeles Lakers: Keon Johnson (Tennessee, SG/SF, Freshman)
23. Houston Rockets: Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky, PF/C, Freshman)
24. Houston Rockets: Sharife Cooper (Auburn, PG, Freshman)
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Usman Garuba (Real Madrid, PF/C, 2002)
26. Denver Nuggets: Josh Primo (Alabama, SG, Freshman)
27. Brooklyn Nets: Day'Ron Sharpe (North Carolina, C, Freshman)
28. Philadelphia 76ers: Jaden Springer (Tennessee, PG/SG, Freshman)
29. Brooklyn Nets: Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois, PG/SG, Junior)
30. Utah Jazz: Miles McBride (West Virginia, PG/SG, Sophomore)
If the Knicks keep their picks, one figures to be a ball-handler. Sources say they are very high on Hyland and are targeting him at No. 21 if they can't move.
Sharpe has been tied to the Clippers and Nets, though mostly by speculation. The fact that he's had few workouts suggests he feels good about his draft stock.
The Nuggets have been rumored to like Dosunmu and Primo. Just as they stayed patient with Michael Porter Jr., they could do the same with 18-year-old Primo.
31. Milwaukee Bucks (via Rockets): JT Thor (Auburn, PF, Freshman)
32. New York Knicks: Quentin Grimes (Houston, SG, Junior)
33. Orlando Magic: Josh Christopher (USC, SG, Freshman)
34. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tre Mann (Florida, PG/SG, Sophomore)
35. New Orleans Pelicans (via Cavaliers): Isaiah Todd (G League Ignite, PF, 2002)
36. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Timberwolves): Brandon Boston Jr. (Kentucky, SF, Freshman)
37. Detroit Pistons (via Raptors): Joel Ayayi (Gonzaga, PG/SG, Junior)
38. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky, C, Junior)
39. Sacramento Kings: Herb Jones (Alabama, SF, Senior)
40. Memphis Grizzlies (via Pelicans): Joe Wieskamp (Iowa, SF, Junior)
Jones has fans and could go in the first half of the second round if a team values his defense and passing and is willing to accept his shooting limitations.
Todd will receive first-round looks, and though I don't see anyone taking him in the 20s, he could be one of the first picks of the second round for his shooting and defensive versatility.
Teams soured on Boston throughout the season, but one will be eager to buy low. He wouldn't be the first Kentucky player to look more comfortable in the pros.
Wieskamp has emerged as a shooting specialist value pick who could go anywhere in the second round.
41. San Antonio Spurs: Kessler Edwards (Pepperdine, SF, Junior)
42. Detroit Pistons (via Hornets): Jason Preston (Ohio, PG, Junior)
43. New Orleans Pelicans (via Wizards): Juhann Begarin (Paris Basketball, SG, 2002)
44. Brooklyn Nets (via Pacers): Aaron Henry (Michigan State, SG/SF, Junior)
45. Boston Celtics: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova, PF, Sophomore)
46. Toronto Raptors (via Grizzlies): Filip Petrusev (Mega Bemax, C, 2000)
47. Toronto Raptors: David Johnson (Louisville, PG/SG, Sophomore)
48. Atlanta Hawks (via Heat): Rokas Jokubaitis (Barcelona, PG/SG, 2000)
49. Brooklyn Nets (via Hawks): Jericho Sims (Texas, C, Senior)
50. Philadelphia 76ers (via Knicks): Austin Reaves (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)
Though teams have dropped Robinson-Earl down their boards for higher-upside prospects, there is still interest in the pick-and-pop post forward who's fundamentally sound and makes few mistakes.
Johnson helped remind scouts at the combine of his the flashes of skill versatility that led to breakout predictions before the season.
Sims' combine performance earned him a spot in the second round, and given his elite leaping ability for a center, it wouldn't be surprising if a team reached even earlier on his finishing potential.
After playing in Lithuania, Jokubaitis just signed with Barcelona. He'll give a team options if it wants to bring him right over or allow him to develop in a good situation overseas.
It's difficult to get a read on where Petrusev will wind up, but for a 6'11" MVP of the Adriatic League who's suddenly burying threes at an efficient clip, he could go much earlier than No. 47.
51. New Orleans Pelicans (via Grizzlies): Vrenz Bleijenbergh (Port of Antwerp, SG/SG, 2000)
52. Detroit Pistons (via Lakers): Isaiah Livers (Michigan, SF, Senior)
53. New Orleans Pelicans (via Mavericks): Aaron Wiggins (Maryland, SG/SF, Junior)
54. Indiana Pacers (via Bucks): Greg Brown (Texas, PF, Freshman)
55. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Nuggets): Santi Aldama (Loyola MD, PF, Sophomore)
56. Charlotte Hornets: Luka Garza (Iowa, C, Senior)
57. Charlotte Hornets (via Nets): Neemias Queta (Utah State, C, Junior)
58. New York Knicks (via 76ers): McKinley Wright IV (Colorado, PG, Senior)
59. Brooklyn Nets (via Suns): Sam Hauser (Virginia, SF, Senior)
60. Indiana Pacers (via Jazz): Sandro Mamukelashvili (Seton Hall, PF/C, Senior)
Bleijenbergh has worked out for half the NBA with teams intrigued by his playmaking and shooting for a 6'10" forward.
Recovering from a foot injury, Livers has hid below the radar, but teams haven't forgot about his shooting and role-player IQ.
Brown could be an exhausting project, but in the 50s, one team figures to find his athleticism and shot-making worth their time.
Aldama kept his name in the draft, a possible indication he believes he'll hear his name called.
Hauser is a subpar athlete, but for a 6'8" forward with incredible shooting accuracy, he has a chance to hear his name called in the 50s.
Mamukelashvili could also go earlier to a team that values his offensive versatility and isn't so concerned about who a second-round pick will defend.