With the 2021 NBA Draft fast approaching, it’s time for The Game Day’s 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock, v.3.0! This year is poised to boast one of the best basketball prospect classes in recent memory, which makes for an exciting 2021 NBA Mock Draft. The 2021 NBA Lottery Draft picks order will be drawn on Tuesday, June 22, with the full 2021 NBA Draft taking place Thursday, July 29.
The NBA regular season has come to an end, and with the playoffs starting this week, we continue to predict our Round 1 NBA 2021 Draft. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our 2021 Round 1 NBA Mock, including a mock of the 2021 NBA lottery.
2021 NBA Mock Draft Round 1 updated as of Wednesday, May 19.
2021 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1 • Round 2
2021 NBA Round 1 Mock Draft
Cade Cunningham, G, Oklahoma State
Easily the best player in this class, Cade Cunningham certainly has the look and feel of a future NBA superstar. He does everything well that can possibly be done on a basketball court, and while he slightly disappointed with his 2021 March Madness performance, he still is the consensus choice for the first overall pick.
The Rockets made a late-season push to get the best odds for the first overall pick and if they can land Cunningham, this could accelerate their rebuilding process a great deal. He fits well with the team’s future and with star forward Christian Wood — Cunningham and the Rockets are a great match.
2. Detroit Pistons
Evan Mobley, C/PF, USC
Evan Mobley, the consensus-best big man in the NBA Draft this summer, showed out during his one year as a USC Trojan.
He’s lanky, and while the physicality is not there in the present, there is some projection for him as a Stretch 5 player. He showed some feel for a deep ball in college and if he keeps building on it, look out.
The Pistons basically have a blank canvas of a roster, and Mobley could be the piece that kicks their rebuild into high gear.
3. Orlando Magic
Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga
Jalen Suggs will not just be known for his game-winner over the UCLA Bruins in the semifinals of March Madness. This man can straight-up ball with the best of them.
If the expected happens and Cunningham-Mobley wind up as the 1-2 punch at the top, the Magic will be delighted to have Suggs drop down to them in the midst of their rebuild.
While the Magic have Markelle Fultz in tow, going best player available is always good practice and passing on Suggs would be the opposite.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jalen Green, SG, NBA G League
Looks on Jalen Green are rather limited, but his potential is certainly not. Green’s ceiling is likely higher than anyone in this draft class sans Cade Cunningham, but this placement at 4th overall makes sense simply because of how good the three men above him are.
Green is a solid shooter who profiles as one at the NBA level while also possessing some solid defensive upside if he adds to his frame.
The Cavaliers already have fellow first-round picks Darius Garland and Collin Sexton in their backcourt, but passing on Green for the likes of a guy like Jonathan Kuminga could be a mistake.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jonathan Kuminga, F, NBA G League
Jonathan Kuminga, a solid player who is lost in the G League fold a tad behind Jalen Green, is still a top-five asset without a doubt. The Cavaliers, like many of the teams in the early 2021 NBA lottery, are a team with a blank canvas surrounding a few key pieces.
The Thunder are likely to go best player available at this spot and that would be Kuminga if 1-4 fall the way they are expected to.
6. Golden State Warriors (from Minnesota Timberwolves)
Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
Moses Moody’s three-point shot is one of the best in the entire class, and he somewhat reminds me of Desmond Bane from TCU in the 2020 draft.
Moody’s youth makes him even more enticing, considering he doesn’t turn 19 until May 31. To have an 18-year-old with as much polish as Moody is unreal. The verdict is still out on whether he possesses any sort of defensive upside, but his shot and ability to create for his teammates are special.
Moody would fit in well to the run-and-gun offense of the Golden State Warriors and he has all the time in the world to mature on a team that figures to contend for years to come.
7. Toronto Raptors
Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
The backcourt combo of Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer was electric all year for the Volunteers. Some questions have arisen about whether Johnson will require playing alongside an elite point guard to be successful, but I strongly feel that can be put to bed.
With Toronto, he will get the opportunity to play minutes alongside a seasoned veteran like Kyle Lowry, a huge boost of confidence for any young man coming right out of the draft.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
Scottie Barnes, PF/SF, Florida State
A sort of jack-of-all-trades type of player, Scottie Barnes can fit into an NBA rotation right now. Barnes is the furthest thing from raw that you can find in the projected 2021 NBA lottery, and the Wizards would have a lethal combo of scoring and athleticism with Scottie Barnes, Bradley Beal, and Russell Westbrook into the future.
The Pelicans’ front office is beyond intelligent and will likely have Barnes high on their draft board. He’s the type of pick that can potentially take a team’s rotation over the top given his NBA readiness.
9. Sacramento Kings
Jalen Johnson, SF, Duke
Albeit with some attitude concerns attached, Jalen Johnson is a special player. Johnson left Duke early this season to prepare for the NBA Draft, something that is largely frowned upon. He slightly disappointed in comparison to his lofty preseason projection, but he can still be an NBA star with all things clicking for him.
The Kings like projects with their draft picks, and Jalen Johnson looks to fit that mold in the short term.
10. Orlando Magic (from Chicago Bulls)
James Bouknight, SG, UConn
I had the pleasure of watching Bouknight live before the pandemic hit, and I was blown away. I was initially under the assumption that Bouknight would be an easy 2021 NBA lottery selection, but given the depth of the class, he is on the fringes. He combines length, bounce, and a shot to represent another elite-level talent that is likely to fall out of the top 10.
Bouknight has gone well up the mock draft boards and I am on board with it. He’s got solid skills that most NBA teams will like in the back-end of the lotto.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
I’m going to say this now: Don’t be surprised when Corey Kispert becomes the next Kyle Korver. His 6-foot-7 frame allows him to have some defensive upside and projects him out as a 3-and-D type.
His time at Gonzaga gave him additional polish, and he could be the first junior or senior off the board. In a league where three-point shooting is always a need, Kispert is sure to find himself involved in the back end of the 2021 NBA lottery.
Kispert is the type of prospect that can fit all teams and the Hornets grabbing him here would be a steal.
12. San Antonio Spurs
Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
The younger brother of Wizards center Moritz Wagner, Franz might find himself as the better brother at the NBA level. He can certainly be argued way higher on this mock with his stock on the rise.
Wagner is very much a Gregg Popovich type of player and at 12, this looks like a lock for the Spurs if he’s still there.
13. Indiana Pacers
Davion Mitchell, SG/PG, Baylor
Davion Mitchell, a combo guard from the National Championship-winning Baylor Bears, has been the biggest riser in draft boards since our last edition of the mock.810z
Mitchell was one of the best shooters in the country, notching a 44.7 percent mark from 3 on 4.7 attempts per game. The obvious comparison is there to Raptors combo guard Fred VanVleet, but Mitchell has even higher upside — something that is usually crazy to say about someone who will be almost 23 years old on draft day.
14. Memphis Grizzlies
Josh Giddey, PG, Australia
I love Josh Giddey. He will likely end up as a second-rounder, but I’m going to bump him here. Whatever team is fortunate enough to bring him onto their roster will be rewarded.
Mark my words. Tall point guards don’t come around much anymore. Giddey’s basketball IQ and passing ability are some of the best overall tools in the class, but he lacks any sort of explosiveness.
He could wind up like another Australian point guard with size – think Ben Simmons lite with a shot.
15. Washington Wizards
Alperen Sengun, C/PF, Turkey
Alperen Sengun is receiving lots of buzz at the moment. He’s actually listed as high as a lottery pick in 2021 NBA lottery mock drafts, and while I feel that it is totally justified, it’s just hard to get a great grasp on foreign prospects.
He’s a pretty stationary, traditional big man, which limits his upside. He’s skilled, but it’s hard to put your finger on what position he can reasonably play in the NBA. He’s too undersized to play center, too slow to play with mobile fours, and way too slow to play the 3. Interesting name to watch.
16. Boston Celtics
Jaden Springer, PG, Tennessee
Talk about a guy who has risen up draft boards. Springer was always firmly in the conversation to be drafted, but it was originally believed he was more of a second-round talent. That projection quickly turned into a first-rounder and then a lottery pick shortly after.
This is the year to have lottery picks given how top-heavy this draft class is. Springer’s athleticism and polish as a freshman should get him lotto consideration regardless.
17. Golden State Warriors
Tre Mann, PG, Florida
Tre Mann is a dynamic point guard who made significant strides in his sophomore season for the Gators. The 20-year-old is a strong fit for the Warriors who love to play run-and-gun offense.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Miami Heat)
Kai Jones, C, Texas
Kai Jones is my favorite center in this class by a mile. When he was a freshman, everyone knew he was raw, but he has made some serious strides with his game.
I’m calling him a center for now, but his long-term home could be at the 4. He is the type of big who is capable of running the fast break and has exceptional handles.
19. New York Knicks
Ziaire Williams, SF, Stanford
Williams was one of the most highly touted high school prospects in the country coming in but has slightly disappointed since.
He has tons of talent and can be above average in every facet of the game, but it is absolutely impressive that he adds to his physique. He’s got the type of build that Brandon Ingram had out of college, but without the superhuman length.
20. Atlanta Hawks
Cameron Thomas, PG, LSU
Cameron Thomas is an excellent guard capable of scoring and passing at high rates. Thomas was excellent at LSU and with Trae Young already aboard, the Hawks could view Thomas as a solid backup option.
21. New York Knicks (from Dallas Mavericks)
Usman Garuba, C, Spain
Admittedly, I have not seen much film on Garuba, but reports out of Spain say he is the real deal.
He could easily hop into the top 10 in the draft, but he could easily fall just as much. He’s known as an elite shot-blocker and inside presence, but he is reportedly developing a shot.
22.Houston Rockets (from Portland Trail Blazers)
Jared Butler, PG, Baylor
The star point guard out of Baylor, Jared Butler looks to be a prototypical NBA point guard.
The Rockets can use a solid point guard who can function as a backup or a starter. With Cade Cunningham in tow, they could have two excellent ball-handlers as a duo.
23. Los Angeles Lakers
Isaiah Jackson, C/PF, Kentucky
I would not be the least bit surprised if Jackson winds up going a lot higher than I have him. He has the length and size to be an elite inside presence — as it seems all recent Kentucky centers can be labeled as. Very easily could be the biggest steal of the entire draft.
24.Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee Bucks)
Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
The Houston Rockets tend to like their seasoned college players, and securing Chris Duarte, a whopping 24 years old on draft day, would fit in line with their plans.
Duarte shot 42.4 percent from 3 for Oregon this season and does a little bit of everything.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
This is a slightly aggressive ranking for Cooper considering how high he has risen in mocks in recent weeks. He’s getting the same treatment as Jaden Springer, but he doesn’t exactly possess the same upside.
He can fit in and be a rotational player from the jump given his handles and passing skills, but his offensive game isn’t the most well-rounded. Likely backup point guard in the NBA.
26. Denver Nuggets
Ayo Dosunmu, SG/PG, Illinois
Ayo Dosunmu, a combo guard out of the Illinois powerhouse, could certainly be argued as high as the 20s in this draft, but I see him slipping a tad. He does a lot of everything and was one of the only players in college to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game this season.
27. Brooklyn Nets
David Duke, SG, Providence
It has been a pleasure watching David Duke rise from a ‘college guy’ to a ‘consensus second-rounder.’ He has improved his game so much, and a junior year at Providence was a great idea for his development. I think he can be an excellent role player at the NBA level as soon as this upcoming season — something that cannot be said about all players outside of the lottery.
28. Philadelphia 76ers
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Villanova
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl’s profile is diverse, and he is capable of being in an NBA rotation right now. The 76ers desire these types of players in the draft typically and they are looking to win now as opposed to drafting projects. This pick could ultimately be traded, but if they keep it and Robinson-Earl is there, this is a no-brainer for Philly.
29. Phoenix Suns
Greg Brown, PF, Texas
For being just 6-foot-9, Greg Brown is an elite rebounder and figures to have decent NBA three-point ability. He’s certainly raw, even for a 19-year-old, but the upside is undeniably there.
30. Utah Jazz
Charles Bassey, C/PF, Western Kentucky
Another guy who I had placed firmly in the first round in the last edition of this mock, Bassey will be a good fit for a lot of teams.
An elite shot blocker and rebounder is something that can be found quite a bit in this draft — although, Bassey is quite good — and I think the Jazz will wind up dealing this pick to a team in need.
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