By Hocine LOUKKAF on 8/8/2021
Now that the lottery has fixed the draft order, I have tried to take into account the teams’ needs to pick the best fits for their roster. Since then, some prospects have also used the combine and “Pro Days” to display their improvement or “hidden skills” to the GMs and scouts.
#1 Cade Cunningham 6-8 PG Fr Oklahoma State
Stats : 20.1pts 6.2rbds 3.5as
Cunningham has long been the favourite for number one pick and the fact that the Pistons get this pick makes it even safer. Cunningham is versatile, can shoot and pass and has great physical tools for a guard. He will form a nice backcourt with Hayes and bring a real scoring threat for Detroit.
#2 Jalen Green 6-5 SG G-League Ignite
Stats : 17.9pts 4.1rbds 2.8as 36% 3pt
Green has superstar potential and proved he was more than a dunker as he displayed an improved shot. Moreover, Green is known for being a smart, hard working kid, a better player to build around than KPJ.
#3 Evan Mobley 7-0 PF/C Fr USC
Stats : 16.4pts 8.7rbds 2.9bl
Arguably one of the top three talents of the draft due to his offensive skills and defensive potential, Mobley may be impactful right away for a team needing a two-way inside player. He may need to work on defending smaller/more athletic PFs but would create a nice duo with Allen.
#4 Alperen Sengun, 6-9 PF/C born in 2002 Besiktas TRK
Stats : 18.6pts 8.9rbds 2.7as 1.5bl (Turkey BSL)
He may look more like a soon-to-retire center than an 18 years old but Sengun can play. Dominating the paint in the Turkish league, Sengun combines deceptive athleticism with vet moves in the low post and potential as a shooter. A potential jokic lite, Sengun could be a reach at four but could turn into the best fit for the Raptors alongside Boucher.
#5 Jalen Suggs 6-4 PG/SG Fr Gonzaga
Stats : 14.4pts 5.3rbds 4.5as 1.9s
After his buzzer beater against UCLA, Suggs couldn’t prevent his team’s loss despite scoring 22pts in the championship game. Orlando already has Fultz and Anthony but needs the best player available. Suggs just seems a better all-around player, shooter and PG to turn the Magic into a winner.
#6 Jonathan Kuminga 6-8 SF G-League Ignite
Stats : 15.8pts 7.2rbds 2.7ast
Kuminga is far from a finished product and has struggled shooting the ball in the G-League bubble, but his size and athleticism could be enough to convince a team to pick him at six. One of the few prospects with star potential in this draft, he could be part of the nice Thunder’s rebuilding project.
#7 Davion Mitchell, 6-3 PG Jr Baylor
Stats : 14pts 5.4as 2st 44.8% 3pt
Mitchell had a successful tournament which ended up with the title. He’s a rugged defender, good shooter with a high-motor, enough strengths to hear his name early on draft’s night. The Warriors don’t have time to wait as Curry and Thompson are aging. This pick may also end up being traded to acquire a vet.
#8 Scottie Barnes 6-8 PF/SF Fr Florida State
Stats : 10.3pts 4rbds 4.1as
As high as his motor is, Barnes is a risky pick if taken too early because of his unproven shooting. If he’s still available at 8, he could be another steal for the Magic to play the facilitator as a combo forward, but also bring a switchable defender who will help on the boards. He’s a bit in the same mold as Isaac but both Seminoles could form a great pair at both forward positions.
#9 Jalen Johnson 6-9 SF Fr Duke
Stats : 11.2pts 6.1rbds 2.2as 1.2bl 44% 3p
Another high ceiling combo-forward, Johnson seems the player with the most upside and the fewer holes in his game outside the top five. His interviews will be crucial for a team to take a gamble on him. His versatility and physicality will be welcome around a nice group of young players in Sacramento.
#10 James Bouknight, 6-5 SG So Connecticut
Stats : 19pts 5.7rbds
With three games under 40% and with 15pts or less during these games, Bouknight didn’t have the ideal stats to end his sophomore year, let alone a college career. Yet, his size, athleticism and scoring potential make him an interesting gamble and he measured well while putting a great shooting display during his pro combine. He could be the SG of the future for the Pelicans.
#11 Kai Jones, 6-10 PF So Texas
Stats : 8.4pts 4.8rbds 42% 3pt
Jones has risen in a lot of mocks due to his combination of size, athleticism and intriguing shooting skills. Yet, I’m not sure that he will ever reach the expectations due to his lack of consistency. I feel he would be a better gamble in the 20s but I could see the Hornets taking the risk at 11.
#12 Isaiah Jackson, 6-9 PF/SF Fr Kentucky
Stats : 8.4pts 6.6rbds 2.6as
Jackson is just scratching the surface of the player he can become. A versatile defender and good rebounder, he could be a much better offensive player with the good developing program and form a nice frontcourt with Poeltl.
#13 Franz Wagner, 6-9 SF Michigan GER
Stats : 12.8pts 6.2rbds 2.9as 39% 3pt
Another disappointing player on offense during the tournament, Wagner is a bit saved by the fact that he can create for his teammates and has rebounded well against three solid teams (UCLA, FSU and LSU). He perfectly fits the Hoosiers’ style of play and would be a fan favourite pretty soon.
#14 Corey Kispert 6-7 SF Sr Gonzaga
Stats : 19.2pts 4.9rbds 44.4%
Kispert may not have the upside other prospects have but we know what he can do. He had a decent tournament that hasn’t affected his draft stock much and his shooting will draw interest from teams in the teens, most notably the Warriors who are searching for this type of player.
Giddey’s hype has a bit come down but the Australian kid still is a versatile combo guard with great size at his spot. He will become a much more dangerous player if he can develop a reliable outside shot.
#16 Usman Garuba 6-8 PF 2002 born Real Madrid SPA
3.9pts 4rbds (Euroleague) 5.8pts 5.4rbds (Spain)
Garuba has waited the end of the season to display some flashes of an offensive game but his most appreciated strength is his motor and versatility on defense. He could complement well a more talented but softer player like Pokucevski and bring some toughness in the paint for the Thunder.
#17 Keon Johnson, 6-5 SG Fr Tennessee
Stats : 11.3pts 3.5rbds 2.5as
Johnson is as impressive physically and athletically as he’s raw in term of shooting. His good performances late in the season and defensive potential could convince a team to pick him in the teens. Memphis would be delighted to add the local alumni in its roster.
#18 Moses Moody, 6-5 SG Fr Arkansas
Stats : 17.4pts 5.9rbds 37.9% 3pts
When he’s not hitting his shots, Moody struggles. That’s what happened in the tournament as his lack of versatility on offense was exposed. He still has ideal size at his position and potential as a knock down shooter but has slipped in the mocks recently.
#19 Chris Duarte, 6-6 SG Sr Oregon
Stats : 17.1pts 4.6rbds 2.7as 43% 3pt
A nice shooter with great defensive skills, Duarte is the type of player Thibodeau wants in his team. He may be a senior but will contribute right away with the good attitude for the improving Knicks.
#20 Jared Butler 6-2 PG Jr Baylor
Stats : 16pts 5.8as 45.7% 3pt
The Final Four MOP could be an elite microwave from the bench for a contender like the Hawks. He could also take some pressure off Young who has to play a lot. His shooting and winning attitude could make him a steal in the 20s.
#21 Trey Murphy, 6-9 SF Jr Virginia
Stats : 11.3pts 3.4rbds 43% 3pt
A versatile defender and nice shooter, Murphy is your typical old-school Virginia alumni like Hawks’ rising forward DeAndre Hunter. Albeit a junior, Murphy still has room to improve and could bring his winning attitude for the Rockets.
#22 Miles McBride, 6-2 PG So West Virginia
Stats : 15.8pts 4.9as 1.9st 41% 3pt
McBride has really stepped up between his freshman and sophomore year, averaging 41% from three and a nice 3 a/to ratio. He may lack some athleticism and still has to work on his inconsistency from outside but has the tools to potentially develop as a solid PG, someone the Lakers might need if Schroeder decides to leave.
#23 Sharife Cooper, 5-11 PG Fr Auburn
Stats : 20.2pts 8.1as
Probably the best pure point guard of this draft, Cooper’s elite bball IQ is hindered by two things, his size and his shooting. As his size can not be modified, Cooper will need to prove opponents they can’t let him open to shoot to be fully efficient in the league. Yet, with Wall potentially on his way out (if someone is ready to take his contract), Cooper is a good enough creator to be the future PG for Houston.
#24 JT Thor, 6-9 PF/SF Fr Auburn
Stats : 9.4pts 5.4rbds 1.4bl
The Rockets need defense and talent. JT Thor, an athletic combo forward out of Auburn, has the versatility to shoot the ball and protect the rim, two very sought-after strengths who could help the Rockets during their rebuilding process.
#25 Cameron Thomas, 6-4 SG Fr, LSU
Stats : 23pts
Thomas is a bit unidimensional at the SG spot. As the focus point of his team’s offense, he also had to take many shots, which hurt his shooting percentages. Yet, he’s one of the best scorers in college basketball and has unlimited range, a good fit if Kawhi leaves and PG13 switches to the SF spot.
#26 Ziaire Williams 6-7 SF/SG Fr Stanford
Stats : 10.7pts 4.6rbds 2.2as
With only two 10+pt-games over his last seven games, including two 2pt-game, Williams seems like a risky pick even at 26. He has been so inconsistent that it’s hard to know what kind of player he will be in 2/3 years. His upside will definitely make a team pick him in the first round and Denver proved it was not afraid to gamble on draft night.
#27 Nashon Hyland, 6-3 SG/PG So VCU
Stats : 19.5pts 4.7rbds 2.1as 37% 3pt
Hyland’s stock has skyrocketed due to his nice perfs in the combine. He could be a nice contributor coming from the bench behind Harden or Irving.
#28 Jaden Springer, 6-4 SG Fr Tennessee
Stats : 12.4pts 2.9as 54% 3p
Springer is pretty advanced offensively for a freshman but lacks elite size and one elite strength. Developing his shooting (small sample this year) would be necessary to turn him into a potential starter in the league. A not-so-risky gamble for the Nets.
#29 Juhann Begarin, 6-5 SG 2002 Paris Basket FRA
Stats : 11.9pts 3.4rbds 3.1as
Playing in French pro B (2nd division for his second year), Begarin has scored 16pts or more in five games in a row before the last game where he scored only 7. He’s proved at the G-League combine that he was no fluke, all while being one of the youngest player in this draft. A potential steal in the late first for the Suns.
#30 Isaiah Todd 6-9 PF G-League Ignite
Stats : 12.3pts 4.9rbds 36% 3pt
Todd proved he was less raw than expected in the G-League bubble and could develop as a stretch four thanks to his nice outside jumper. In the late first, he doesn’t seem that big of a reach and could be a great fit alongside Gobert.