2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Predicting Lottery Picks After No. 1 Cade Cunningham

With the 2021 NBA Draft is fast approaching, it’s time for The Game Day’s 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock, v.1.0! This year is poised to boast one of the best basketball prospect classes in recent memory. This is certainly a class to pay attention to. We will continue to update this 2021 NBA Mock Draft as standings change and news comes out that impacts our 2021 NBA Lottery Mock predictions and the official 2021 NBA Draft order itself.

With Baylor crowned the 2021 NCAA Tournament national champions, we update Round 1 and add Round 2 of this 2021 NBA Mock 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 Monday, April 12.

2021 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1 • Round 2

2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock

1. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Minnesota Timberwolves select Cade Cunningham with No. 1 pick Minnesota Timberwolves

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.

Cunningham can fit in immediately to a core that already includes Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell for a fearsome trio.


2. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Houston Rockets select Evan Mobley with No. 2 overall pickHouston Rockets

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 Five player. He showed some feel for a deep ball in college and if he keeps building on it, look out.

The Rockets already have Christian Wood in the fold, but Mobley and Wood are complementary big men who can crash the boards while also spacing the floor.


3. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Detroit Pistons select Jalen Suggs with No. 3 overall pick Detroit Pistons

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 Pistons will be delighted to have Suggs drop down to them in the midst of their rebuild.

The Pistons basically have a blank canvas of a roster, and Suggs could be the piece that kicks their rebuild into high gear.


4. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Orlando Magic select Jalen Green with No. 4 overall pick Orlando Magic

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 Orlando Magic could find themselves with an electric backcourt duo of Jalen Green and Markelle Fultz if they are fortunate enough to land Green.


5. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team bets, player props, news, team stats, player stats, schedule, scores, results, bet tips Cleveland Cavaliers

Jonathan Kuminga, F, 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 Cavs already have Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, who have shown upside as big-time scorers. Still, adding Kuminga down low could jumpstart their rebuild.


6. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Washington Wizards NBA team bets, player props, news, team stats, player stats, schedule, scores, results, bet tips Washington Wizards

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 Wizards are just one piece away from being an actual playoff team, and I strongly believe Barnes is the piece to get them over the hump.

2021 NBA Mock Draft Round 1: Florida State's Scottie Barnes looks set for a top-10 pick.

Florida State’s Scottie Barnes looks set for a 2021 NBA Lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)



7. Oklahoma City Thunder

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.

Oklahoma City is a forward-thinking team, and with so many picks in this draft, they can afford to take a chance on a higher-risk wild card.


8. 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.


9. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Sacramento Kings NBA team bets, player props, news, team stats, player stats, schedule, scores, results, bet tips Sacramento Kings

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.

Williams can find his groove playing with De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento without a doubt.


10. 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Orlando Magic NBA team bets, player props, news, team stats, player stats, schedule, scores, results, bet tips Orlando Magic (from Chicago Bulls)

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.

Doubling up on two shooting guards might be a long-shot, but considering the front court-heavy complexion of their roster, the Magic should go ‘best player available’ here.


11. New Orleans Pelicans

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 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.

The Pelicans have been fooling around with finding elite shooters on the free-agent market, but they will no longer need to do so if they can get a cheap option like Kispert.


12. Golden State Warriors

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 such a strong fit for the Golden State Warriors with his flair and his high basketball IQ. If the Warriors can land Wagner to add to their core, he will get the chance to develop alongside some of the biggest stars — a luxury not every 2021 NBA lottery selection will be afforded this summer.


13. Indiana Pacers

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.

The Pacers will look to start their rebuild this summer, and a first-round selection of James Bouknight will have them heading in the right direction.


14.  San Antonio Spurs

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.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich loves players like Jaden Springer who aren’t projects and can fit right into his rotation. Springer will have to develop behind Dejounte Murray for the time being, but I think this move makes all the sense in the world for San Antonio.

2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Jaden Springer is one of the top risers in this class.

2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Tennessee alum Jaden Springer is one of the top risers in this class. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)


15. New York Knicks

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.

The Knicks already have an underrated center in Mitchell Robinson, but Garuba is a raw prospect who could be a good piece to a Knicks team that is slowly turning the tide on their narrative.


16.   Memphis Grizzlies

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.

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.

A backcourt pairing of Ja Morant‘s explosiveness and Davion Mitchell’s scoring ability would be fun to watch.


17. Boston Celtics

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.

The Celtics have lacked a big man of value this year and Kai Jones is a dream fit for Boston.


18. Charlotte Hornets

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.

The Hornets don’t exactly need a young point guard with LaMelo Ball in tow, but given Ball’s playing style, the two might be able to co-exist.


19. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Miami Heat)

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.

Jackson’s athleticism for a big man will be of great interest to Thunder GM Sam Presti who has not had a big man prospect like this since Steven Adams.


20. Atlanta Hawks

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.

The Hawks recently drafted Onyeka Okongwu out of USC and view him as their center of the future. However, that poses no issue with Sengun being a sort of new-age ‘position-less’ basketball fit. He is a solid fit for any team that takes a chance.


21. New York Knicks (from Dallas Mavericks)

Jared Butler, PG, Baylor

The star point guard out of Baylor, Jared Butler looks to be a prototypical NBA point guard.

The Knicks have Immanuel Quickley already on board, but Butler’s shooting ability, defense, and floor general skills should be too tempting to pass up.

2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Baylor's Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell look like solid first-round NBA Draft picks for 2021.

2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock: Defending national champion Baylor’s Jared Butler (12) and Davion Mitchell look like solid first-round NBA Draft picks for 2021. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)


22. Houston Rockets (from Portland Trail Blazers)

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.

The Rockets are a perfect fit for him as they can simply take ‘best player available’ with all of their picks, figuring to be a bottom-feeding team for the next few seasons.


23.Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee Bucks)

Cameron Thomas, PG, LSU

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.


24. Los Angeles Lakers

Day’Ron Sharpe, C, North Carolina

Sharpe is more of a traditional big man which hurts his draft stock significantly, but he is still a fantastic one. He is a big 265-pound body in the paint and shows the chops to be an outstanding rebounder and shot-blocker at the NBA level.

Expect him to be listed toward the end of many 2021 Round 1 NBA Draft mocks like this one, but if he develops his offensive game more, we could be looking at a steal in that window.

The Lakers were forced to go out onto the buyout market this season to secure Andre Drummond — after an offseason when they watched JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard leave with Marc Gasol showing serious decline. They could use a traditional big man and rim protector to pair with Anthony Davis.


25. Denver Nuggets

Josh Christopher, SG, Arizona State

Similar to the aforementioned BJ Boston, Christopher has not been all he has been cracked up to be. Still, he has been fantastic for the Sun Devils. He’s a three-level scorer capable of expanding his game even further on both ends of the floor. He should immediately be able to step into an NBA rotation from Opening Night.


26.  Los Angeles Clippers

Josh Giddey, PG, Australia

I love Josh Giddey. He will likely end up as a second-rounder, but 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.

The Clippers tend to go outside of what’s expected when it comes to the draft, and a selection of a unique skill set would be on-brand.


27. Brooklyn Nets

BJ Boston, SF/SG, Kentucky

BJ Boston has largely been a disappointment this season at Kentucky after being ranked as a consistent lottery selection prior to the season. Lately, however, he is starting to find his groove as a collegiate athlete. His upside is undeniable.

The Brooklyn Nets love their scoring and Boston would be a nice little project if they opt to not trade this selection.


28. Philadelphia 76ers

Terrence Shannon, SG, Texas Tech

The 76ers have always been a dark hole at the shooting guard position despite drafting defensive dynamo Matisse Thybulle a couple years ago. Terrence Shannon is more of an athlete right now than a basketball player as I have said about others on this list.

Lots of holes in his game – might need to return to Texas Tech for another year or two to develop.


29. Phoenix Suns

Daishen Nix, PG, NBA G League

I have no issue calling Nix the best passer in the entire class. Nix has gotten much-needed time in the G League and has absolutely shown out. He does have a little too small of a frame to call him a future combo guard, but it won’t matter given his pass-first nature.

The Suns have Chris Paul locked in for the foreseeable future, but with him aging, Nix is the perfect asset to get to learn from another undersized floor general.


30. Utah Jazz

Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon

The Utah Jazz 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.


🏀 After reading The Game Day’s 2021 NBA Draft Round 1 Mock, plus our 2021 NBA Lottery Mock coverage:

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