NBA Draft 2021: Odds and Mock Projections for 1st Round

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 29, 2021

NBA Draft 2021: Odds and Mock Projections for 1st Round

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The top prospects in the 2021 NBA draft are defined, but the order in which they fall after Cade Cunningham remains a mystery ahead of Thursday night. 

    The Houston Rockets will make the decision that creates a ripple effect at No. 2 pick because they can go in a handful of directions.

    Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs and Evan Mobley are the three prospects Houston should consider as long as the Detroit Pistons follow through on taking Cunningham with the No. 1 overall pick. 

    Houston could make a choice at No. 2, or it could be inclined to trade the selection if the right offer comes in before its time on the clock is over. 

    The Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic are the teams that will be directly affected by Houston's call at No. 2. 

    The teams picking from Nos. 3-5 will have numerous plans in place to react to what happens at No. 2, and there is always a chance that one of them moves up to No. 2 if the price is right and they believe the prospect they want will be taken by the Rockets. 

    Cunningham is the odds-on favorite to be the top pick. The rest of the NBA draft odds can be found here on FanDuel Sportsbook.

2021 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    1. Detroit: Cade Cunningham, PG, Oklahoma State

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

    3. Cleveland: Evan Mobley, C, USC

    4. Toronto: Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga

    5. Orlando: Scottie Barnes, SF, Florida State

    6. Oklahoma City: James Bouknight, SG, UConn

    7. Golden State (from Minnesota): Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor

    8. Orlando (from Chicago): Jonathan Kuminga, SF, G League Ignite

    9. Sacramento: Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan

    10. New Orleans: Josh Giddey, PG, Adelaide (Australia)

    11. Charlotte: Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas

    12. San Antonio: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga

    13. Indiana: Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee

    14. Golden State: Jalen Johnson, SG/SF, Duke

    15. Washington: Trey Murphy, SG, Virginia

    16. Oklahoma City (from Boston): Alperen Sengun, PF/C, Besiktas

    17. Memphis: Usman Garuba, PF, Real Madrid

    18. Oklahoma City (from Miami): Kai Jones, PF, Texas

    19. New York: Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU

    20. Atlanta: Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon

    21. New York (from Dallas): Jared Butler, PG/SG, Baylor

    22. Los Angeles Lakers: Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn

    23. Houston (from Portland): Isaiah Jackson, PF/C, Kentucky

    24. Houston (from Milwaukee): Jaden Springer, PG/SG, Tennessee

    25. Los Angeles Clippers: Tre Mann, PG, Florida

    26. Denver: Ziaire Williams, SG/SF, Stanford

    27. Brooklyn: Nah'Shon Hyland, PG, VCU

    28. Philadelphia: Quentin Grimes, SG, Houston

    29. Phoenix: Ayo Dosunmu, SG, Illinois

    30. Utah: Day'Ron Sharpe, C, North Carolina

Cade Cunningham Should Be No. 1 Overall Pick

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The Detroit Pistons should have made up their mind on Cunningham a while ago.

    The Oklahoma State guard is the best player in the draft class, and he would give the Pistons a young superstar to build around. 

    If Detroit adds Cunningham to its core of Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart, it could move itself out of the Eastern Conference basement and up a few places next season. 

    CBS Sports' Kyle Boone broke down Detroit's decision in his latest mock draft. 

    "The expectation on Thursday night is that Detroit will stay put at No. 1 and select Oklahoma State product Cade Cunningham. The Pistons have worked out several of the other top players in this draft, but Cunningham is both a good roster fit and considered the consensus No. 1 prospect in this draft," Boone wrote.

    Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and shot 40 percent from three-point range in his lone season at Oklahoma State.

    In Cunningham, Detroit would get a top scorer and ball-handler who could drive its franchise forward for the next decade. 

    The Pistons still need to add depth around Cunningham to be a legitimate playoff contender, but the selection of the Oklahoma State guard would be a large step in the right direction. 

Jalen Green Appears to Be Houston's Selection

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    The Rockets are the team to watch on Thursday night. 

    Houston could stay at No. 2 to select Green, Suggs or Mobley, or it may deal the pick to collect more assets further down the first round. 

    According to's Jonathan Givony, the other NBA front offices are having a hard time reading what the Rockets are going to do. 

    "NBA teams say they don't have a great pulse on the Rockets' plans because of their brand new front office's lack of track record, coupled with the franchise's early stage of rebuilding since the James Harden trade," Givony wrote. 

    Given Christian Wood's presence on the roster, it would seem likely that the Rockets ignore Mobley, the USC big man, and go after either Suggs or Green to fill in their backcourt. 

    Green spent the last year with the G-League Ignite team. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman reported that "league sources believe he'll be the pick at No. 2 barring any last-minute trades." 

    Green would give Houston a strong scoring option next to John Wall in the backcourt, and his presence would help move the team's rebuild in the right direction.

    Houston could go after Suggs, who averaged 14.4 points per game at Gonzaga. He led the Bulldogs on a run to the national championship game and boosted his stock in the process. 

    Of course, there is always a chance the Rockets deal the No. 2 pick and collect more draft picks to put more young players around Wall and Wood. 

    However, it may be too hard to pass up on Green, especially with a few draft picks later in the first round that could be used to move up or down later in the draft.


    Statistics obtained from Sports Reference.


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