We’ve reached the week of the NBA Draft, which means the rumors are set to start flying between now and Thursday night’s festivities.
The Rockets, Warriors, Magic, and Thunder are among teams being rumored to want to move up and have the assets to accomplish that mission. The Pistons hold the No. 1 pick and are said to be locked in on Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham.
Later this week, we’ll concentrate on the individual matchup props set to be available regarding who will be selected earliest between potential draftees in addition to taking positions on over/unders on draft slots.
To open the week, we’ll start with an early mock draft of the lottery to take a look at where teams are currently slotted and where teams are slotting the talent pool.
2021 NBA Draft Odds: First Pick at Sportsbook Apps
|2021 NBA Draft: First Pick Odds||DraftKings||PointsBet|
2021 NBA Mock Draft & Analysis
- Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, G, Oklahoma State – Unless they’re supplied with an offer they can’t refuse, the Pistons are going to make Cunningham the top pick. His versatility will fit in nicely next to Jerian Grant and will take pressure off Killian Hayes, who turns 20 years old a few days before the draft. Cunningham is 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan but it’s his feel for the game that is most appealing. If he’s able to shoot straight, he’s going to be a beast and Detroit’s rebuilding process will be accelerated.
- Houston Rockets: Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite – With Christian Wood in place, the Rockets have a catalyst up front, which makes it easier to ride with Green here. John Wall is going to play mentor to Green and Kevin Porter unless the team finds a way to move his contract, and the prospect of having a pair of explosive playmakers next to a veteran point guard with a lot of experience being an explosive catalyst has to be attractive. Green may ultimately become the Rookie of the Year favorite given how well he fared against a higher level of competition in the G League. The 6-foot-5 19-year-old is a legitimate NBA shooting guard and will be able to score from Day 1.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, F/C, USC – If there’s a team hungry to grab the top big man in the draft, we could see a trade here. The 20-year-old 7-footer with a 7-foot-4 wingspan is undeniably the top forward prospect available and has a really high ceiling since he still has to fill out. The Cavs could take him to pair with Jarrett Allen since Mobley is capable of floating outside the paint but it will be interesting to see whether they use this chip to alter their direction considering they’ve suffered through three dreadful seasons since LeBron James bolted. Cleveland fans have suffered through a 60-159 (.274) run over the past three years, so investigating what a package including former lottery pick Collin Sexton and this coveted selection may yield seems like due digilence.
- Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga – The Kyle Lowry era appears over so this would be a home run move for a team just a couple of years removed from winning a championship. Toronto was fortunate in the lottery and will now likely be rewarded with a backcourt mate for Fred VanVleet with similar characteristics to Lowry. Suggs is a bulldog who is going to be a pest on defense and will make the right play. He’s not the scorer that Lowry is and obviously won’t bring a high level of experience to the table but he’s physically built for the league, checking in at 6-foot-4. Suggs could go higher but is unlikely to fall past this slot.
- Orlando Magic: Scottie Barnes, F/G, Florida State – Orlando is certainly a team capable of making a move considering it holds a pair of top-eight selections. FSU’S Scottie Barnes and G League Ignite’s Jonathan Kuminga are considered high-level prospects and both fit the Magic’s draft prospect profile of being versatile athletes with massive wingspans, but they’ve got a few of those types on the roster with recent picks Jonathan Issac and Chuma Okeke in place. Barnes is a Florida native who finished his high school career at Central Florida’s Monteverde Academy and he’s a more willing passer than Kuminga, which makes him a better fit. At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Barnes is also helped by the reputation of being a fantastic teammate whose only weakness is his shooting.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Jonathan Kuminga, G/F, G League Ignite – At 6-foot-8 Congolese wing who put up numbers in the G League despite fading some, he’s the best prospect available at this point. Unless OKC trades down, it’s hard to imagine Sam Presti not taking the most talented prospect on the board as another asset. Kuminga is still 18 until October, so some of the inconsistency he displayed skipping college and stepping up to a pro level can be attributed to youth. A 7-foot wingspan should help him excel on the wing and potentially defend three positions once he gains experience.
- Golden State Warriors: Franz Wagner, F, Michigan – The Warriors are also looking to package this pick into an asset that can best help them compete for a championship immediately. If unsuccessful in that pursuit, the German-born Wagner is a piece who can fit in as a 6-foot-9 forward who can stretch the floor. Golden State can never have too much shooting and Wagner hustles, should fill out nicely as he gets older and has high-level college and international experience.
- Orlando Magic: James Bouknight, G, UConn – Aside from super sub Terrence Ross, Orlando really lacks guys who can put the ball in the basket on its roster, having traded away Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier at the most recent deadline. Bouknight is one of the most gifted scorers in this draft class and the best available at this point. He can get to the basket, shoots the ball well and should be effective at the pro level without defenses gearing up for him night after night like they did in college.
- Sacramento Kings: Moses Moody, G, Arkansas – A 7-foot-1 wingspan on a 6-foot-6 frame makes the 19-year-old Moody a terrific prospect who excelled in his one season in Fayetteville, earning SEC Player of the Year honors. Luke Walton is a fan of three-guard lineups and has a nice stable in place with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and Delon Wright in the mix, and Moody’s size is a nice fit next to those guys since he offers similar length in projecting as a 3-and-D wing.
- New Orleans Pelicans: Corey Kispert, G, Gonzaga – Stan Van Gundy was let go after one season in part because he was never able to get enough shooting. With Zion Williamson in place to get in the paint and draw double-teams for the foreseeable future, New Orleans could certainly use a weapon like Kispert, the top shooter in this draft. He eased concerns about a lack of athleticism thanks to a solid combine
- Charlotte Hornets: Alperen Sengun, F/C, Besiktas (Turkey) – The Turkish teenager just turned 19 over the weekend and has visited with the Hornets multiple times during the draft process. At 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot wingspan, he exploded on to the scene as a Turkish Basketball Super League MVP this past season with the league’s top power. Sengun has a nice touch and should be able to extend his range, making him a likely lottery pick.
- San Antonio Spurs: Josh Giddey, G, Adelaide 36ers (Australia) – Giddey failed to make the Boomers Olympic team but was among the final cuts and participated in Australia’s upset of the U.S. in Las Vegas, impressing scouts with his passing and feel. At just 18 years old, he’s got a lot of fans and Gregg Popovich got a front-row seat for the exhibition, not to mention insight on what he’s like through Aussie captain Patty Mills. The Spurs love international prospects and could add another quality piece through this lottery pick.
- Indiana Pacers: Usman Garuba, F, Real Madrid (Spain) – The Pacers were atrocious defensively last season and have a lot of backcourt pieces in place, so making a move for one of the draft’s top frontcourt defenders would make sense as Rick Carlisle comes aboard to coach. Garuba landed on the Spanish Olympic team as a 19-year-old and was thrown in to defend Kevin Durant when the U.S. played Spain in an exhibition. He held his own. At 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he’s going to be a useful piece.
- Golden State Warriors: Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor – Considered the top defensive player of the country last season in helping the Bears win a national championship, Mitchell will be a terrific backup guard in the pros immediately since he’ll be able to change games as a pest. He went from being a 29 percent 3-point shooter at Auburn as a freshman to shooting nearly 45 percent from beyond the arc last season at Baylor and has a reputation as a tireless worker, so he’d fit in on a Warriors team looking to get back to prominence.
Other Players To Watch
Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford; Trey Murphy III, F/G, Virginia; Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee; Chris Duarte, G, Oregon; Kai Jones, F, Texas; Cameron Johnson, F/G, LSU; Jalen Johnson, F, Duke; Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee; Jared Butler, G, Baylor; Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois; Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova; Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn; Rokas Jokubaitis, G, Zalgiris (Lithuania); Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky; Miles McBride, G, West Virginia.