Cade Cunningham was the consensus No. 1 draft pick during the college basketball season but there are going to be some teams that will give Jalen Green a serious look at the top spot after what scouts saw him do against NBA talent during the G League bubble season. He had at least 20 points in nine games this past season and was the only player on the Ignite team to score 30 points in a game. Green is looking great in pre-draft workouts and has the potential to be the best long-term prospect to come out of this draft.
Two international players, Josh Giddy and Alperen Şengün, have moved into the lottery after having strong seasons in their respected leagues.
Here’s a look at Yahoo Sports’ latest first round for the 2021 NBA draft.
(Draft order is from Tankathon)
1. Houston Rockets: G Jalen Green
Ht./Wt: 6-6, 186 lbs | G League Ignite: 17.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.8 apg
Green and Cunningham were the top two recruits coming out of high school and were teammates for the U19 Team USA team that won a gold medal in 2019. Green only played 15 games in the G League bubble season and held his own against older professionals, but he could have dominated the college game if he chose to go to either of his final schools in Memphis or Auburn. “I know for a fact [that] if I went to college it woulda been a different talk about who’s going No. 1,” Green said in a now deleted tweet. “I loved the G League. It prepared me ahead of a college move.”
Green was the leading scorer on the Ignite team and started all 15 games in the G League bubble season. He finished with a season-high 30 points, seven assists and three steals against the No. 1 team in the G League, Raptors 905.
Kevin Porter Jr. had a breakout season for the Rockets this year and having another athletic playmaker in the backcourt like Green is the step in the right direction to rebuilding this team. Green has the potential to be a franchise-changing player in this draft class and should be a serious contender for the top spot.
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) February 12, 2021
Ht./Wt: 6-8, 220 lbs | Class: Freshman | Oklahoma State: 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.5 apg
If Cunningham doesn’t go No. 1 due to team needs, there’s no way he’s falling past No. 2. He is the favored No. 1 overall pick and shows promising upside with his size and high basketball IQ. Cunningham became just the fourth player in Big 12 history to sweep the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year this past season and led Oklahoma State to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. His game has been compared to Luka Doncic and Paul George after one year of college basketball and is a player the Pistons could plug in right away next year alongside Killian Hayes.
3. Orlando Magic: C Evan Mobley
Ht./Wt: 7-0, 210 lbs | Class: Freshman | USC: 16.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3 bpg
The Magic have point guard Markelle Fultz coming back next year and rookies Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton played extremely well to close out the season in the backcourt. One of the best shot blockers (95 blocks this season) in this draft class, Mobley showed scouts during USC’s NCAA tournament run that he’s also a great facilitator off the block with a solid first step and can get by defenders and finish strong at the rim. He needs to add some weight to his frame but he’s already visibly stronger after just a few short months of pre-draft workouts.
Ht./Wt: 6-4, 205 lbs | Class: Freshman | Gonzaga: 14.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.6 apg
The Cavaliers have Darius Garland and Collin Sexton in the backcourt but there’s not much depth past those two players. Suggs was the lead guard for the Gonzaga Bulldogs this year but can play well off the ball too. He shot 50% from the field but was a little inconsistent from 3-point range (34%) despite making seven 3-pointers in a win over Iowa. Suggs is a great on-ball defender and a tough, gritty competitor thanks to his days playing quarterback in high school.
5. Oklahoma City: F Jonathan Kuminga
Ht./Wt: 6-6, 210 lbs | G League Ignite: 15.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg
The Thunder currently have five draft picks in the 2021 draft and 34 total future picks spanning the next seven years. It’s clear general manager Sam Presti and the organization are targeting the best up-and-coming talent. Kuminga is one of the youngest players in this draft class and one of the most physically ready players who held his own playing in the G League. He led the Ignite team in rebounds, grabbing 93 boards in 13 games.
Ht./Wt: 6-9, 227 lbs | Class: Freshman | Florida State: 10.3 points, 4 rpg, 4.1 apg
The Warriors will be in a win-now mode next season with Klay Thompson returning and adding a healthy James Wiseman. Barnes would be a great additional player to this Warriors team and played point-forward during his one year at Florida State. He’s a great defender with his long 6-foot-9 frame, grabbing 36 steals this past season and can be plugged in anywhere on the court. His outside shot will need some work at the next level but Barnes is the best available prospect at No. 6 and could sneak inside the top-five after pre-draft workouts.
Ht./Wt: 6-2, 205 lbs | Class: Junior | Baylor: 14 ppg, 5.5 apg
No one had a better NCAA tournament than Mitchell. He stepped up every single game and helped lead the Baylor Bears to a national championship with his incredible on-ball defense, his reads off the pick-and-roll and consistent outside shooting. He averaged 13.2 points and six assists in the NCAA tournament and plays a lot like another Mitchell we all know.
“His upside in the league is definitely a Donovan Mitchell-type of player who plays way better defense,” one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports.
Ht./Wt: 6-5, 186 lbs | Class: Freshman | Tennessee: 11.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 apg
Johnson had an up-and-down year at Tennessee but there’s no denying his athleticism and what he can bring to an NBA franchise down the road. He is one of the quickest guards in transition and has excellent body control when finishing at the rim. Johnson had one of the best dunks this past season when he posterized a Georgia player after a give-and-go in the lane.
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) February 12, 2021
Ht./Wt: 6-9, 220 lbs | Class: Freshman | Duke: 11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg
The Kings got the steal of the draft last year with Tyrese Haliburton at No. 12 and could make it two years in a row with Johnson at No. 9. There isn’t a huge sample size of Johnson after he left Duke early after only 13 games and struggled after coming back from an injury. He has an excellent frame at 6-foot-9 and is a versatile point-forward that can impact the game at multiple positions. There is no denying his upside as an NBA player.
10. Orlando Magic: G Moses Moody
Ht./Wt: 6-6, 205 lbs | Class: Freshman | Arkansas: 16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Moody is an athletic shooting guard with a 7-foot wingspan and great shooting mechanics. He was excellent in spot-up shooting, averaging 1.13 points per possession and was also great with the ball in his hand, ranking in the 98th percentile in scoring when he’s the ball handler in a pick-and-roll situation, according to Synergy Sports. If the Magic take Mobley at the top of the draft, Moody is a complementary piece you can plug in at the perimeter and can give any team solid minutes next season.
11. Charlotte Hornets: G Josh Giddey
Ht./Wt: 6-8, 205 lbs | Adelaide 36ers (Australia’s National Basketball League): 11 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 7.6 apg
Giddey is an elite-level playmaker who took over the NBL this year. He’s one of the best passers in this draft class and reads the defense extremely well off the pick-and-roll. He led all players in the NBL in assists and sixth in rebounding. Giddey became the youngest Australian player in the NBL to register a triple-double on April 25, and he ended up leading all players in triple-doubles with three for the season.
12. San Antonio Spurs: G Corey Kispert
Ht./Wt: 6-7, 220 lbs | Class: Senior | Gonzaga: 18.8 ppg, 5 rpg
The NBA is a shooter’s league and Kispert can shoot. Kispert was the best 3-point shooter on a loaded Gonzaga team where he shot 45% from 3-point range and made 89 threes this season (including nine 3-pointers in a win over Virginia).
13. Indiana Pacers: G James Bouknight
Ht./Wt: 6-5, 190 lbs | Class: Sophomore | Connecticut: 18.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Bouknight is a very talented scorer who has no problem creating his own shot and getting into the lane. He was a streaky shooter at times during his sophomore season and only shot 30% from 3-point range. Defensively, he’s one of the best rebounding guards in this draft class and could impact the game the same way Jae’Sean Tate did for Houston during his rookie season.
14. Memphis Grizzlies: C Alperen Sengün
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 240 lbs | Besiktas Sompo (Turkey) | 23 ppg, 7.3 rpg
There were 40 teams that passed on Nikola Jokic in 2014 and NBA teams are trying to find the next star to come out of Europe. At only 18 years old, Sengün has had one of the most productive seasons for any teenager playing in a European league. Sengun ranked second in the league in points, rebounds and blocks and moves with fluidity on the court for a player his size.
15. Washington Wizards: C Kai Jones
Ht./Wt: 6-11, 218 lbs | Class: Sophomore | Texas: 8.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
16. Boston Celtics: G Franz Wagner
Ht./Wt: 6-9, 220 lbs | Class: Sophomore | Michigan: 12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3 apg
Ht./Wt: 6-6, 190 lbs | Class: Senior | Oregon: 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg 2.7 apg
Ht./Wt: 6-8, 185 lbs | Class: Freshman | Stanford: 10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
19. New York Knicks: C Isaiah Jackson
Ht./Wt: 6-10, 206 lbs | Class: Freshman | Kentucky: 8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg
20. Atlanta Hawks: G Cameron Thomas
Ht./Wt: 6-4, 210 lbs | Class: Freshman | LSU: 23 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Thomas led the SEC in scoring this past season and isn’t afraid to let it fly from anywhere on the court. His shot selection needs to improve but this is a player who can score at every level and is the all-time leading scorer with 2,219 points at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, where stars like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings and rookie Cole Anthony all played.
21. New York Knicks: G Tre Mann
Ht./Wt: 6-5, 190 lbs | Class: Sophomore | Florida: 16 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.5 apg
22. Houston Rockets: C Neemias Queta
Ht./Wt: 7-0, 245 lbs | Class: Junior | Utah State: 14.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg
23. Los Angeles Lakers: G Jared Butler
Ht./Wt.: 6’3, 195 lbs | Class: Junior | Baylor: 17.1 ppg, 5 apg
24. Houston Rockets: F Usman Garuba
Ht./Wt: 6-8, 229 lbs | Spain (Real Madrid): 5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Ht./Wt: 6-4, 204 lbs | Class: Freshman | Tennessee: 12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.9 apg
26. Denver Nuggets: G Sharife Cooper
Ht./Wt: 6-0, 180 lbs | Class: Freshman | Auburn: 20.2 ppg, 8.1 apg
Cooper is a little undersized at 6-feet but the way he sees the floor and creates for the others is off the charts. He only played 12 games at Auburn due to eligibility issues but managed to record three double-doubles and had a season-high 14 assists in an overtime loss to Ole Miss late in the season.
27. Brooklyn Nets: G Quentin Grimes
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 205 lbs | Class: Junior | Houston: 17.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg
28. Philadelphia 76ers: C Charles Bassey
Ht./Wt: 6-11, 235 lbs | Class: Junior | Western Kentucky: 17.6 ppg, 11.6 rpg
29. Phoenix Suns: G Johnny Juzang
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 210 lbs | Class: Sophomore | UCLA: 14.2 ppg, 4.3 rpb
No one helped themselves more in the NCAA tournament than Juzang. He led UCLA to an unbelievable Final Four run and averaged 22.8 points while shooting 51% from the field. Juzang is maintaining his college eligibility but if he performs as well at the combine as he did to close out the season, he will not only stay in this draft, but also likely go in the first round.
30. Utah Jazz: F Greg Brown
Ht./Wt: 6-9, 205 lbs | Class: Freshman | Texas: 9.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg
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