The NBA welcomes the latest class of newcomers to the league on Thursday night during the 2021 draft from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Draft Nights have always been a trading time, and this year we may feature some prominent names and moving picks. Some teams have multiple first round picks and additional draft capital as they can shake major deals that could significantly change the league situation entering the 2021-22 season. I’m waiting.
1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma
Cunningham is a versatile 6-8 guard who plays on or off the ball and has a skill set to do both. He has the strength to shoot a 3-pointer, midrange jumper, reach the rim, absorb contact and finish with either hand. He didn’t post great assist statistics, but he can be a playmaker. He is good at finding openmen by pulling multiple defenders. In his one college season, he averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals, shooting 40% in 3 seconds. He is a vocal leader and enjoys the big moments of close quarters.
2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Green, G League Ignite
Instead of going to college, Green took the unconventional route of playing for the G League Ignite team. And he believes that playing against G-League players in the NBA environment will greatly improve his preparation. Green has won the NBA Rookie of the Year award and believes that landing on the All-NBA Defensive Team is a realistic goal. One NBA scout told USA TODAY Sports that he was obsessed with Green’s physicality and aggression as a 6-foot-5,172-pound guard on the list. However, the scout added that Green needs to improve his consistency as a shooter and ball handler.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, Southern California
The Mobley looks like a perfect fit for the modern NBA tycoon. He is a 7-foot player who can soft-touch the rim to play in the post, go out and shoot for 3 seconds. He needs to adapt to the NBA’s long range, but that shouldn’t be a problem as he adds strength. In his one season at the USC, he shot 57.8% off the field with an average of 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. If Allen re-signs with the Cavaliers, it will be interesting and perhaps fun to see how the Cavaliers use Mobley with Jarrett Allen.
4. Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes, Florida
This was the first somewhat surprising move in the draft, given the expectation that Jalen Suggs would be chosen. However, Burns was genuine and moved up the draft board after impressing talent evaluators with his playmaking and versatile defenses. Burns shot 27.5% from the 3-point range, averaging only 10.3 points. However, Burns excels in all other areas of the game and will soon have an impact.
5. Orlando Magic: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
Suggs are point guards that can change the franchise and can steal Orlando in 5th place. His buzzer beater at this year’s Final Four lives on in March’s crazy lore, but his freshman season under director Mark Fu saw him bloom calm and smart. NBA-enabled point guard with decision making. He shot an average of 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 50.3% last season. He is athletic, good size (6-4), has a range and likes to play in the defensive end. Magic seems to have found a point guard for their long-term reconstruction.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Guidi, Australia
Thunder’s general manager, Sam Presti, rarely hesitates to make bold moves. OKC chose Guidi, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward who played professionally in Australia at the age of 18. A talented evaluator of Guidy’s vision, passes, playmaking, etc., his defense still requires some work. Guidy will have the opportunity at OKC as it is still considered a reconstruction project after finishing 14th at the Western Conference. Thunder also has picks in the second half of the first round (No. 16, 18) and the second round (No. 34, 36, 55).
7. Golden State Warriors: Jonathan Cuminga, G League Ignite
Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kuminga, who played high school basketball in the United States, bypassed college and spent the last season with the G League Ignite. He averaged 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. Kuminga, a 6-8 forward, has to tackle the shot, but he loves to attack the rim and rebound with athleticism. He can also influence as a wing defender who can help protect the paint.
8. Orlando Magic: Franz Wagner, Michigan
Wagner joins his brother Mo in Orlando. Franz Wagner was a two-season starter with Wolverine. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He shot 34% from the depths and was elected to the second team, All-Big Ten. He followed in the footsteps of his brother Moe. The old Wagner became the first draft topic in 2018 after playing in Michigan for three years. Wagner has a perimeter size and handle that allows the tray to be knocked down accurately for excellent team defense. His game will be much better at the professional level than Michigan, where he began to bloom.
9. Sacramento Kings: Davion Mitchell, Baylor
Mitchell, the main catalyst for the national champion Baylor Bears team, is a guard who does everything that can strengthen any NBA team in ball hawking defenses. He was a defender player of the year and a great on-ball defender with an average of 1.9 steals. He is also a talented passerby who can pack statistics sheets without having to score. He can create and hit 3 when he is open or when he creates it himself. 6-2 Mitchell really improved his 3-point shot, scoring only 28.8% during the freshman season in Auburn and then 44.7% from Deep. He averaged 14 points and 5.5 assists as a junior last season.
10. Memphis Grizzlies: Ziaire Williams, Stanford
Former five-star rookie Williams didn’t have a dominant season to mark most of the top ten picks. But when he got some guys in the league, the team liked his ceiling, so he was on track to be chosen for the lottery. He scored an average of 10.7 points per game during his lonely season at Stanford. At 6-8, he has the type of size that the NBA team has recently coveted for his ability to put the ball on the court and extend the opposition defense in play around him.
11. Charlotte Hornets: James Bonite, Connecticut
Bouknight (6-5, 190) has all the tools to become an equally powerful scorer. It has the ability to remove the ball from the ball and hold it in the hand to fill it while performing the explosive first step. He’s another dynamic guard, but he also has to work on his three balls. He shot only 32% in 3 seconds last season. But he’s really dangerous in the line with a pull-up jumper and a drive to the basket. Bonite averaged 18.7 points, scoring a career record of 40 points against Clayton. The Hornets were able to have an interesting and productive backcoat along with LaMelo Ball and Bonite.
12. San Antonio Spurs: Josh Aprimo, Alabama
Primo, the youngest player in the NBA Draft, was a little surprised as a lottery pick. He was originally pegged as the second round, but his stock began to rise in the NBA combine. Primo has started 19 of the 30 games he played during his lonely season in Bama. The Canadians launched a breakout freshman campaign for Crimson Tide, helping the program win the SEC title and dive into the national equation. He averaged only 8.1 points per game.
13. Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte, Oregon
Duarte jumped on the draft board and combined his decision to skip the draft with the wise one. He is 24 years old, older than most newcomers, and has spent two years in junior college and two seasons in Oregon, so the game is mature. His size was solid, he was able to hit the board, and with his powerful catch and shoot ability, he shot 38% of the duck’s 3-point range. He averaged 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in the duck’s senior season. Duarte helps the Pacers stretch the floor.
14. Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody, Arkansas
Little Rock’s 6-6 guard was the first team’s All-SEC player as a freshman in Arkansas last season. He averaged 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in 32 games, helping the Razorbacks reach the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight while serving as the SEC Freshman of the Year. Moody’s defense made it difficult for him to take over to the Warriors. He has proven to be a good border defender and is considered one of the best spot-up midrange shooters in the draft.
15. Washington Wizards: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
Shooting in the NBA has a premium, and Kisspart offers it to wizards who want to shoot more with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. 6-7 Kisspart spent four seasons in Gonzaga and was a 3-point shooter with a career of 40.8%. This includes 44% of the senior season with an average of 18.6 points. He has a quick release and has the ability to find open spots, drive on the rim and score. Kissparts aren’t the best defenders, but they have the knack for getting into the overtaking lane because of steel and deflection.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder
17. New Orleans Pelican
18. Oklahoma City Thunder
19. New York Knicks
20. Atlanta Hawks
21. New York Knicks
22. Los Angeles Lakers
23. Houston Rockets
24. Houston Rockets
25. Los Angeles Clippers
26. Denver Nuggets
27. Brooklyn Nets
28. Philadelphia 76ers
29. Phoenix Suns
30. Utah Jazz
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