We don’t yet know the order of the 2021 NBA Draft (July 29), but we do know which teams have the best chance of landing the top picks. Houston, Detroit and Orlando all have a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, with Cleveland and Oklahoma City having an 11.5 percent shot at receiving the first selection when the draft lottery is held on June 22.
With that being said, here’s my first mock draft of the summer.
1. Houston Rockets – Cade Cunningham, 6-8, 220, PG, Fr., Oklahoma State
No matter who winds up with the No. 1 overall pick, this one should almost be a no-brainer. Cunningham, a Texas native, can play with just about anyone due to his versatility. He has some of the same attributes as Luka Doncic; he’s a big, strong point guard who can make people better, and he possesses an extremely high IQ. He is able to see over defenders, can get into the lane and finish through contact. He also gets his teammates easy baskets. Cunningham’s perimeter shot was the major concern, but he made 40 percent of his threes as a freshman. He’s a big-time leader with all the intangibles.
2020-21 Stats: 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 40% 3-pointers
2. Detroit Pistons – Jalen Suggs, 6-4, 205, G, Fr., Gonzaga
Sure, he struggled in the national championship, but it’s short-sighted to evaluate him on that game or even on the NCAA Tournament as a whole. Suggs is an impressive athlete who thrives in transition. He’s an average shooter from deep, but he’s able to get to the basket and also facilitate. Suggs is a terrific defender due to his anticipation on that end of the floor. The Pistons took Killian Hayes a year ago, but it would be difficult for GM Troy Weaver to pass on Suggs. Plus, Hayes and Suggs could play alongside one another.
2020-21 Stats: 14.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.5 apg, 34% 3-pointers
3. Orlando Magic – Evan Mobley, 7-0, 210, PF, Fr., USC
The Magic dealt away Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon, so Orlando would be ecstatic to get a guy with Mobley’s skill set up front. He’s ultra-talented and just scratching the surface of what he could be down the road. The long (7-foot-4 wingspan) and skilled forward had a terrific freshman season for the Trojans. He’s a little bit of a throwback in that he doesn’t want to sit out on the perimeter. He’s a guy who can score around the basket, can step out and make mid-range jumpers and is also more than capable of beating opposing bigs off the bounce. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but is consistently productive — whether it’s scoring, rebounding or on the defensive end of the floor.
2020-21 Stats: 16.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.9 bpg
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jalen Green, 6-5, 180, SG, NBA G League Ignite
Green is a high-level athlete who was the first to go the G League pathway route, and he was extremely impressive in 15 G League games, averaging nearly 18 points per game. He thrives in transition and possesses an extra gear that allows him to get to the basket and finish, which results in no shortage of highlights above the rim. Green is a scoring wing that has improved his perimeter shot, but it’ll still need to be more consistent at the NBA level. The Cavs have a young backcourt in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, and could pair Green with another talented wing in Isaac Okoro.
2020-21 Stats: 17.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 37% 3-pointers
5. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jonathan Kuminga, 6-8, 220, F, NBA G League Ignite
Kuminga, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a big, strong and athletic forward who has all the physical attributes. He can guard multiple positions and has shown the ability to make shots despite being a streaky outside shooter. Kuminga is still raw, and the hope is he’ll continue to learn the game so he’s prepared when he gets into the NBA.
2020-21 Stats: 15.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 25% 3-pointers
6. Golden State Warriors (from Minnesota) – Keon Johnson, 6-5, 185, G, Fr., Tennessee
This pick stays with Minnesota if the T-Wolves wind up in the top three in the lottery. If not, it goes to Golden State due to the D’Angelo Russell-Andrew Wiggins deal. Johnson is an elite defender and a big-time athlete who will need to become a better shooter. He improved as his freshman season went along, but Johnson’s numbers certainly won’t blow anyone away. Think Avery Bradley — on the low end.
2020-21 Stats: 11.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 27% 3-pointers
7. Toronto Raptors – Davion Mitchell, 6-2, 205, PG, Jr., Baylor
Few saw their stock rise as much as Mitchell did this past season. He came into the season known as an elite defender, but left college displaying that he can not only run a team, but also shoot the ball from the perimeter. Basically, think of Mitchell as a better-shooting, better-decision-making Marcus Smart. With Kyle Lowry’s future uncertain in Toronto, Mitchell could be an ideal complement to Fred VanVleet in the backcourt.
2020-21 Stats: 14.0 ppg, 5.5 apg, 2.7 rpg, 45% 3-pointers
8. New Orleans Pelicans – Moses Moody, 6-6, 205, SG, Fr., Arkansas
This may seem high, but David Griffin and the Pelicans are desperate for a wing who can not only make shots, but also defend. Moody is a 3-and-D guy who can stretch the defense and also has the ability to lock down opponents. He’s got good length, but is an average athlete who will need to become more well-rounded on the offensive end of the floor.
2020-21 Stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 36% 3-pointers
9. Sacramento Kings – Scottie Barnes, 6-9, 225, F, Fr., Florida State
Barnes is a big, strong and long forward whose best assets are his ability to pass and defend. He’s a point forward of sorts, but the question mark regarding Barnes is his inability to make shots from deep. But he can really defend multiple positions, and the Kings need to improve their defense.
2020-21 Stats: 10.3 ppg, 4.1 apg, 4.0 rpg, 28% 3-pointers
10. Orlando Magic (from Chicago) – Josh Giddey, 6-8, 210, PG, Australia
There’s still about a 20 percent chance that the Bulls keep this pick (if it lands in the top four in the lottery), but there’s a far greater likelihood it gets sent to Orlando due to the Nikola Vucevic deal. Giddey is a 6-foot-8 point guard who is a terrific ball handler and passer, rebounds well and has a high basketball IQ. Giddey isn’t a high-level athlete and will need to improve his perimeter shot, but he’d give the Magic a pass-first floor leader who can help create easy opportunities for guys like Markelle Fultz.
2020-21 Stats: 10.9 ppg, 7.5 apg, 7.4 rpg
11. Charlotte Hornets – Kai Jones, 6-11, 220, PF, Soph., Texas
The Hornets have their backcourt of the future in LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, but need some help up front. The numbers aren’t that impressive, but the potential with Jones is anything but underwhelming. The 6-foot-11 Bahamas native has a ton of skill and upside. He’s a guy who at his size can shoot it from three and put it on the floor. It may take some time for Jones, but he’s worth the risk.
2020-21 Stats: 8.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 38% 3-pointers
12. San Antonio Spurs – Franz Wagner, 6-9, 220, SF, Soph., Michigan
He’s one of those high-upside guys, and the Spurs could use a versatile forward. He wasn’t always assertive in his time in Ann Arbor, but possesses length, skill and athleticism. Can shoot it from deep, is able to put it on the floor and can finish. A multi-dimensional wing — which is high in demand these days in the league.
2020-21 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 34% 3-pointers
13. Indiana Pacers – James Bouknight, 6-5, 190, SG, Soph., UConn
He’s the best player on the board at this spot. Bouknight is a guy who can really put the ball in the basket, especially with his ability to get into the lane. He’s got the size for the position, and can really find ways to manufacture points, but the area he’ll have to improve at the next level is his ability to make shots from long distance.
2020-21 Stats: 18.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 29% 3-pointers
14. Golden State Warriors – Corey Kispert, 6-7, 220, F, Sr., Gonzaga
Kispert has the size and can shoot the hell out of the ball. He struggled against Baylor’s athletic guards in the national title game, but his length and shooting are enough to get him drafted in the teens, especially by a franchise that values perimeter shooting as much as the Warriors.
2020-21 Stats: 18.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 44% 3-pointers
15. Washington Wizards – Jalen Johnson, 6-9, 220, F, Fr., Duke
He only played 13 games, and was extremely inconsistent in his brief tenure at Duke, but he’s got high upside — especially if he can make shots from the perimeter. Johnson is a big, strong forward who can rebound, and he thrives in transition. It’d be worth the risk for the Wizards.
2020-21 Stats: 11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 44% 3-pointers
16. Boston Celtics – Tre Mann, 6-5, 190, G, Soph., Florida
Mann can play both backcourt spots due to his size, ability to run a team and shooting from deep. He’d be able to play alongside Kemba Walker because of his size and ability to shoot it.
2020-21 Stats: 16.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 40% 3-pointers
17. Memphis Grizzlies – Cam Thomas, 6-4, 210, SG, Fr., LSU
Thomas is just a bucket-getter, who puts points on the board in a hurry and is most effective getting to the basket with a quick first step. He’ll have to become a more reliable 3-point shooter, but he’s more of a scorer than a shooter.
2020-21 Stats: 23.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 33% 3-pointers
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Miami) – Isaiah Jackson, 6-10, 210, PF, Fr., Kentucky
Jackson is raw and still a major work in progress, but displayed glimpses of someone who can be a big-time defender and rim runner at the next level. It’ll just take time. Jackson needs to put on weight, but he’s long and athletic, can run the court well and is able to impact the game with his ability to alter and block shots.
2020-21 Stats: 8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.6 bpg
19. New York Knicks – Chris Duarte, 6-6, 190, SG, Sr., Oregon
Duarte is a well-rounded guard that could fall in the draft due to his age, but he can score in a variety of ways and is also a quality defender. He could come right in and be able to help the Knicks.
2020-21 Stats: 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 42% 3-pointers
20. Atlanta Hawks – Ayo Dosunmu, 6-5, 200, PG, Jr., Illinois
He’s a big, strong guard who can take over games and was one of the top players in college basketball a year ago, but there are questions. 1) Can he shoot it consistently from deep? 2) Is his decision-making at a high enough level to run a team? The Hawks could certainly play him alongside Trae Young.
2020-21 Stats: 20.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.3 apg, 39% 3-pointer
21. New York Knicks (from Dallas) – Alperen Sengun, 6-10, 240, PF, Turkey
High-level scorer in the paint and also a big-time rebounder. Can really score with a variety of moves in the low-post. Throwback player. Not a great athlete and a below-the-rim guy, but plays hard and is productive.
2020-21 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg
22. Los Angeles Lakers – Ziaire Williams, 6-8, 185, SF, Fr., Stanford
Didn’t have a stellar freshman season, but came into college with a ton of hype. He’s a long, smooth, and athletic forward who has a versatile skill set. Williams will need to be able to improve his perimeter shot, but he’s a guy who can put it on the floor and make plays for himself and for others. LeBron James is also plenty familiar with Williams since he played with Bronny James in high school.
2020-21 Stats: 10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.2 apg, 29% 3-pointers
23. Houston Rockets (from Portland) – Usman Garuba, 6-8, 230, PF, Spain
Possesses a 7-foot-2 wingspan, so he can really alter and block shots, and defend. High-energy, tough forward who really contests shots on the defensive end. Unselfish. Good passer. Needs to improve his perimeter shot. The Rockets have three first-round picks, so they can roll the dice on Garuba.
2020-21 Stats: 4.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg
24. Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee) – Brandon Boston Jr., 6-7, 185, SG, Fr., Kentucky
Boston is ultra-long and can score, although he struggled to do that for much of his time at Kentucky as a freshman. But he could become a Brandon Ingram-type of player due to his body frame and the potential to score consistently as he adds strength.
2020-21 Stats: 11.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 30% 3-pointers
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Day’Ron Sharpe, 6-11, 265, C, Fr., North Carolina
Sharpe is a hard-playing big man who can score around the basket and rebound at a high level. He’ll need to work on expanding his shooting range, but he has a high motor and can impact the game on the defensive end. He’s one of the top big men in this draft.
2020-21 Stats: 9.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.9 bpg
26. Denver Nuggets – Greg Brown, 6-9, 205, PF, Fr., Texas
Brown is a long, athletic forward who had an up-and-down freshman season with Shaka Smart and the Longhorns. He came in as a heralded recruit and soon left, barely getting off the bench. But there’s plenty of potential with Brown — who can be an energetic rebounding forward if he buys into that role.
2020-21 Stats: 9.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg
27. Brooklyn Nets – Jaden Springer, 6-4, 205, G, Fr., Tennessee
Springer is a tough, strong, athletic guard who can defend, and he wound up shooting 44 percent from three as a freshman. Springer could be an eventual starter, but might get on the floor quickly due to his physical skills and willingness and ability to defend.
2020-21 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 44% 3-pointers
28. Philadelphia 76ers – Marcus Bagley, 6-8, 215, SF, Fr., Arizona State
He’s got good size, is a plus-athlete and can make shots from long distance. The Sixers could use yet another guy who can space the floor.
2020-21 Stats: 10.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 35% 3-pointers
29. Phoenix Suns – Sharife Cooper, 6-1, 180, PG, Fr., Auburn
He only played 12 games, but he was entertaining in those dozen contests. He’s small, but quick and knows how to find guys. Can really pass it and push the ball, but he’s a liability on the defensive end and also has to be able to make shots at the next level to keep defenses honest.
2020-21 Stats: 20.2 ppg, 8.1 apg, 4.3 rpg, 23% 3-pointers
30. Utah Jazz – Jared Butler, 6-3, 195, G, Jr., Baylor
Butler is a combo guard who can run a team and also score in a variety of ways. He’s high-, high-character and is also a proven winner. He’s a versatile guard who can certainly help a team like the Jazz immediately.
2020-21 Stats: 16.7 ppg, 4.8 apg, 42% 3-pointers