Photo From: Oklahoma State University Athletics
With teams consistently exiting playoff contention, and others getting closer and closer to a championship, I can't help but to think about the new additions we will be getting to the league next season as we have seen young players taking over the league (Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Etc.). Being a huge college basketball enthusiast I love the NBA Draft, watching these kids take this big transition is the coolest thing for me, and this draft class will have A LOT of talent.
The NBA Draft Combine doesn't begin till later this month, yet is the draft order set (Officially set on June 22). Even though we don't have the exact order, we have an idea of who the teams with early picks will be. Throughout this article I am going to put in my two cents, explaining why certain teams should draft certain players and how that exact player will benefit their organization.
Photo From: FiveThirtyEight
Cade Cunningham is pretty much a lock to be the first drafted athlete of the 2021 NBA Draft, this has been talked about for a while now. He can work on an array of teams but certain teams stand out over others.
The Cleveland Cavaliers would be a decent destination for the Oklahoma State freshman. Even with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, Cunningham is still the right decision for this team as they look to continue their rebuild by adding value and talent. Garland would most likely be pushed to the bench, as Cunningham’s size with his incredible three-point shooting and versatility would take him to a starting spot. It makes sense why he has been the projected number one pick for some time now, along with his great intuition, he has proven to have top-notch court vision, a high play-making ability, as well as being a reliable shot maker. The Cavs need another addition that can control the offense, and that's exactly what Cade Cunningham can do.
The Houston Rockets is another possible destination for Oklahomas States star Cade Cunningham. Yes, they have John Wall. John Wall isn't going to be the new face of the Houston Rockets, he isn't going to take this team to that level (Like James Harden did) they need a dance of the franchise. Cunningham coming in at 6’8”, 220 pounds is exactly what they need. Truthfully, he can do it all, score, set up, defend, and that is exactly what the Rockets are looking for, so I bet they have a close eye on this young man with the combine underway.
Obviously, we do not yet know the order of this NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic can also make a case for Cade Cunningham if the opportunity is presented. But for now, I see the best fit (being realistic with who can land with the No.1 pick) for Cunningham with the two teams previously mentioned.
Photo From: PistonPowered
The No. 2 pick can clearly go to a vast amount of teams but it's hard to make a “mock draft,” without mentioning Evan Mobley in the top three. The USC star comes in at 7-foot and 215 pounds, what a great option for a majority of teams.
As I stated earlier you can create a solid case for Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green (Who I will mention later in this article) to the Detroit Pistons. The biggest argument I will hear for this prediction is that the Pistons have center Isaiah Stewart, who had a great rookie season with the Pistons. But with Mobley, it's different, you aren't going to come across a two-way 7-foot center like that often. Mobley can really elevate the Pistons on both ends of the court, although I do believe the Pistons have one plan right now and that's to draft the best player available and see how he fits with the organization.
The Orlando Magic is actually where I would want to see Evan Mobley, just imagine that frontcourt defense around Johnathan Isaac and Evan Mobley, that would be a shame to pass upon. Both guys are crazy good defenders who can either play at the 4 or 5 spots, being super flexible. He's fast, lengthy, with a huge skill set. That's what everyone wants these days, a canter that can ball handle, shoot, pass, and is coordinated. That is exactly who Mobley is. The only reason I would put Mobley here over Green or Suggs is that the Magic already have Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, and R.J. Hampton, so a big man would be more beneficial to their organization.
Photo From: Bleacher Report
With the No. 3 picks I am going to have to go with Jalen Green. This is somewhere I could've put Jalen Suggs, but I think I am going to pick the edge with Green. Although I am more familiar with Suggs than Green (because Green took the G-League route over Suggs who took the College route) everything I have watched with Green and learned about Green makes me believe he would be a more instant offense over Suggs.
A potential destination for Green could be the Houston Rockets, like I mentioned earlier about the Rockets they are looking for a new start, a new face. They, like Pistons, will be focused on taking the best available payer and just seeing how they fit with their organization. From what I've seen Green is more explosive, the Rockets need another athletic wing to elevate their slower-paced offense. With high-level shot-making skills, he would be a clear starter in Houston and along with that, a big role.
Although I don't see the Orlando Magic making a move on Jalen Green, he could potentially be a solid two-guard who can give the team that instant offense when needed. It mostly just comes down to how much the Orlando Magic trust in their guards now. I do think that big would be the better route for the Magic to go, but Green will clearly benefit any offense he is thrown into.
Photo From: USA Today
After passing up Jalen Suggs to go with Jalen Green as the pick before, I am now going to cover Jalen Suggs and predict him as the No.4 pick in the 2021 NBA draft. Jalen Suggs was one of my favorite college basketball players to watch this past year and I can see him being a successful asset to many teams.
I think Suggs is a really good addition to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a good running mate to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the offensive end as well as the defensive end. Although it can be argued that Suggs won't get as much playing time with SGA on the team, I believe that the backcourt duo can be potentially dangerous. Suggs would most likely see a great amount of playing time early on in his NBA career, and let me add, joining a team like OKC means lots of potentials, lots of growth.
The Detroit Pistons could also take up Suggs knowing they can use a lot more fabrication to their lineup. With the pair of Jalen Suggs and Killian Hayes (very selfless player, also a great passer) this could be a very fun duo to watch. They would be able to put more pressure on the defensive end, as they use Hayes as the primary ball-handler and use Suggs more off the ball where he can drive as well as shoot and pass. The Pistons can use a player like Suggs, he has great energy and competitiveness to him that helps a team elevate their energy to impact winning.
Photo From: The Athletic
With the No.5 pick in the NBA draft, I am going to go with G League Ignite SF/PF Jonathan Kuminga. I like this guy, I see a lot of potential in his game where he can play at the 3 and 4 spots.
As a combo forward I can see a lot of connection here with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a solid cornerstone score like Aleksej Pokusevski. Being 6’6” and 210 pounds, he has some improving to do, especially on his shot selection, but you see the potential which makes this pick all worth it. He has the ability to shoot from the post, mid-range, and perimeter, once he gets a better shot selection this man is going to be dangerous. OKC is in the rebuilding process, so I believe this would be a perfect pick for them as they can help sharpen Kuminga’s jumper. There can be a lot of great starting rotations with this young man on the OKC’s roster.
I am now going to explain how the Cleveland Cavaliers can benefit from acquiring Johnathan Kuminga. A combo forward would work so well for this Cavs team, especially this combo forward. Considering the Cavs used their last three top picks on two growing guards and wing, a growing forward would fit perfectly with this organization. As an excellent scorer and rebounder, Kuminga may be the most exciting rookie for me as next season begins.
Photo From: Bleacher Report
This is who I see as the top five picks in the 2021 NBA draft, and who I see potentially drafting them and how they would fit with those certain teams. I do want to mention some other names before I end this article. Keon Johnson SG from Tennessee would be a great pick, his aggressiveness and versatility can benefit the Golden State Warriors (see that as a great match). Davion Mitchell is another great pick-up from Baylor, also one of my favorite college players this past year, his elite playmaking and toughness can fit well with the Toronto Raptors or even the New Orlean Pelicans. Moses Moody, Jalen Johnson, Franz Wagner, and Alperen Sengun are other fantastic picks that I can't wait to see where they land in this upcoming NBA draft.
Photo From: Palm Beach Post
Oh, did you think I was going to make a 2021 NBA Mock Draft without mentioning my FSU boys? Yeah, that's what I thought.
I am going to start with lottery pick PF Scottie Barnes, what a great treat to have watched Scottie Barnes in his college career. Scottie Barnes is an expected top 10 draft pick, people are mostly attracted to his uncommon mix of playmaking along with top-notch defense. Although his scoring may be limited, he has shown with the right training and competition he can expand his game to more than what we know. With a Kevin Durant structure, the Toronto Raptors seem like a great home for star Scottie Barnes. Barnes would be tough to pass on, the Raptors would be so attracted to his outstanding passing, great energy, and insane defense (guard all five positions). The Orlando Magic can also use Scottie Barnes, his offensive game needs some help but his length could be a huge advantage for the Magic. They can also use his defense in a big way. I am super excited to see where Barnes ends up, and know he will make a heavy impact on any team he joins.
Photo From: 247 Sports
FSU also has three other prospects in this upcoming draft. MJ Walkers, RaiQuan Gray, and Balsa Koprivica. Guard MJ Walker has been a big part of this FSU basketball organization for years, this past year being his most impressive of them yet. Forward RaiQuan Gray was probably my favorite player to watch on FSU, because of his versatility, scoring ability, and defensive skill. Gray is a big body, making it easy for him to maneuver through the defense and post up. Balsa Koprivica also took his game to the next level this season, he is a 7’1” center who can do more than rebound. He has a solid shot, but his defense does need some work. We saw Koprivica get in foul trouble too often this season, which will not work at the next level, but his potential for growth trumps all of the downsides to his game. I am so excited to see where these boys end up, and more importantly how they translate their game to the next level. I am so proud of them and so lucky that I got to watch every player grow in front of my own eyes at the Donald T. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida.
Photo From: Pistols Firing
As the season winds down, and a champion becomes more clear. These young stars will continue to showcase their skills as they prove their case to take their talent to the NBA. Who is your favorite NBA Draft prospect? Which young player will make the most noise in the NBA? Who will be a bust? Lots of questions that need to wait to be answered, but until then these NBA playoffs are crazy. Who do you have winning the whole thing?