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Another NBA draft is upon us and there is a consensus top overall pick this year. But this draft is loaded with hidden gems waiting to be plugged into the right scheme or system. Every draft is a chance for teams to add young talent to their roster. It’s a lot like investments: there are risks and rewards to be gained. Let’s see who teams put their stock in. Here’s the latest 2021 NBA mock draft:
1) Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham – Point Guard, Oklahoma State
Cunningham has the versatility of a chess piece. He can handle, facilitate and score. He’s a franchise type talent and natural leader. He just makes everybody around him better.
2) Houston Rockets: Evan Mobley – Power Forward/Center, USC
Mobley is an athletic, mobile big who runs the floor well. He can finish around the basket with both hands and is adept at blocking shots. He’s a high volume rebounder. His post game needs refinement.
3) Cleveland Cavaliers: Jalen Suggs – Point Guard, Gonzaga
Adding a talent like Suggs is always a benefit. Suggs can play off the ball as well and can defend both guard positions. He plays both ends at a high level. He’s a day one contributor.
4) Toronto Raptors: Jalen Green – Shooting Guard, G-League
Green will add scoring and athleticism to the backcourt. He has good ball handling skills and can score at all three levels. His ceiling is high.
5) Orlando Magic: Jonathan Kuminga – Small Forward, G-League
This is the highest risk/reward player in the draft. Kuminga hasn’t even scratched the surface of his vast potential. He’s long, quick and super athletic. He will have an immediate impact on defense.
6) Oklahoma City Thunder: Scottie Barnes – Forward, Florida State
Barnes is the Swiss Army knife of the draft. A versatile player with his size and skill is rare. He can handle like a point guard, finish in transition and around the rim and can rebound. His ability to guard multiple positions is a plus.
7) Golden State Warriors: Frank Wagner – Small Forward, Michigan
Wagner fits into the Warriors’ scheme perfectly. He can handle, pass, moves well without the ball and can shoot. Another piece to add to the roster.
8) Orlando Magic: Davion Mitchell – Point Guard, Baylor
The Magic get an NBA ready player in Mitchell. First and foremost, he’s a smothering defender. But don’t sleep on his offense, either. He has a strong frame and has leadership qualities that can’t be taught.
9) Sacramento Kings: Jalen Johnson – Power Forward, Duke
Johnson is a talented big with face up and back to the basket skills. He is a willing defender and rebounder. He’s still learning and will get better with time.
10) New Orleans Pelicans: Keon Johnson – Point Guard/Shooting Guard, Tennessee
The Pelicans are preparing for changes to their backcourt and Johnson’s versatility makes him a great fit to add. His athleticism is through the roof with a solid handle and above the rim finishing capability.
11) Charlotte Hornets: Moses Moody – Guard/Forward, Arkansas
Charlotte continues to add weapons to their roster. Moody has good size, can handle and create his own shot. He can defend and rebound as well.
12) San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Jackson – Power Forward/Center, Kentucky
The Spurs need size and Jackson offers that along with above average athleticism, rebounding and rim protection. He runs the floor well and is an excellent offensive rebounder.
13) Indiana Pacers: Corey Kispert – Guard/Forward, Gonzaga
Kispert is one of the best shooters in the draft . That’s a commodity every team coverts. He’s also a high IQ player who plays to his strengths. He’s a scrappy defender and will stick his nose in to rebound.
14) Golden State Warriors: Josh Giddy – Point Guard/Shooting Guard, Australia
Giddy is another great fit for the Warriors’ system. He offers great size and versatility as he can play both guard spots as well as small forward. He has a solid handle, can facilitate and shoot.
15) Washington Wizards: Kai Jones – Power Forward, Texas
The Wizards needs size up front. Jones is an athletic big who can run the floor, score around the basket and rim protect. He’ll add quality depth immediately.
16) Oklahoma City Thunder: Alperen Sengun – Center, Turkey
The rebuild has started in Oklahoma City. Sengun is raw and full of potential. The skill set is there. They will continue to add young talent to their roster.
17) Memphis Grizzlies: Usman Garuba, Power Forward, Spain
Garuba is a physical specimen who will add depth up front. Defense and rebounding are his strengths and those will be welcomed by Memphis.
18) Oklahoma City Thunder: JT Thor – Power Forward, Auburn
Thor is a classic stretch forward who can handle the ball and finish around the basket. More talent added to the roster.
19) New York Knicks: Ziare Williams – Guard/Forward, Stanford
The Knicks need to upgrade the wing position. Williams is long and athletic with scoring ability. He can defend and create his own shot. Exactly what New York needs.
20) Atlanta Hawks: James Bouknight – Guard, UCONN
The Hawks need quality depth in the backcourt. Bouknight is terrific off the bounce and a gifted scorer. He has the size to play and defend both guard spots.
21) New York Knicks: Chris Duarte – Shooting Guard, Oregon
The Knicks add another player who is athletic, can shoot and create his own shot. There is a definite theme going on here for New York.
22) Los Angeles Lakers: Tre Mann – Guard, Florida
The Lakers need some versatility in the backcourt and Mann offers that. Not only can he facilitate and score, he can defend both guard spots.
23) Houston Rockets: Cameron Thomas – Shooting Guard, LSU
After addressing the front court with their first pick, Houston turns their attention to the backcourt. Thomas is a natural scorer with good size and range on his shot.
24) Houston Rockets: Charles Bassey – Center, Western Kentucky
The Rockets continue to reshape their roster with a raw, talented big in Bassey. He can finish and rim protect. He and Mobley together can be scary.
25) Los Angeles Clippers: Jared Butler – Point Guard, Baylor
The Clippers desperately need an upgrade at point guard. Butler is athletic and hungry. He’s a younger version of Patrick Beverly with an offensive game.
26) Denver Nuggets: Ayo Dosunmu – Guard, Illinois
The Nuggets add quality depth in the backcourt with a multi skilled player in Dosunmu. He can handle, distribute, score and defend both guard positions.
27) Brooklyn Nets: Jalen Springer – Guard, Tennessee
The Nets have to add more quality depth in the backcourt. Springer can fill the void left by Spencer Dinwiddie. He can score and distribute as well as defend.
28) Philadelphia 76ers: Rai’Quan Gray – Forward, Florida State
Gray is a combo forward who will bring toughness to the team. Although undersized, he can defend taller players because of his strength and rebounds well. He also has a knack for scoring.
29) Phoenix Suns: Josh Christopher – Guard/Forward, Arizona State
The Suns add another versatile wing to the roster. He fits their system as a scorer, rebounder and defender.
30) Utah Jazz: Sharif Cooper – Point Guard, Auburn
The Jazz need a distributor at lead guard with the ability to keep defenses honest with his offense. He also gives Donovan Mitchell the room to play off the ball.