In our first 2021 NBA Mock Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers jump the lottery to land the No. 1 pick and make a big swing for elite big man Evan Mobley.
The adjusted NBA schedule means the 2021 NBA Draft is still a long way off but the holes in every roster are becoming more and more apparent, and as the regular season rolls along the lottery odds are taking shape. Our first 2021 NBA Mock Draft uses a simulation from Tankathon to establish the order.
Who is rising and falling in our latest NBA Mock Draft?
The analysis of each individual player here relies heavily on the insights of draft experts like Trevor Magnotti, Ben Pfiefer and Jackson Frank. Each pick is not necessarily a guess at who each team will or even should take, just a hopefully insightful match between prospect skill and upside and each team’s need.
And if you’re looking at any of these picks wondering what the heck I was thinking, just remember that mock drafts are made to be mocked.
Point Guard, Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz have surged this year behind a multi-faceted attack with myriad ball-handlers and shooters. The 19-year-old Giddey may not be able to play a meaningful role anytime soon but his combination of size (6-foot-8) and passing ability make him an interesting fit for a team looking to build on strength.
Wing, Los Angeles Lakers
Christopher needs to prove he can hit consistently from outside the arc, but he’s an aggressive scorer with 3-level potential and good backcourt size. He could eventually be a useful microwave scorer for the Lakers.
Guard, Los Angeles Clippers
Thomas probably doesn’t have any immediate role on a deep, veteran team like the Clippers. But he has diverse scoring skills and could be more efficient with experience and in a complementary role. Lou Williams won’t be around forever and Thomas could do a passable impression in a few years.
Guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Boston has had a disastrous freshman season at Kentucky, shooting under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. But he still has size and scoring tools on the wing and could be worth a late-round flier for a team like the 76ers, who are always in need of perimeter scorers.
Big, Brooklyn Nets
Jackson is an extremely mobile big with good size and length. Right now, he projects as an energy big and interior presence (which the Nets could certainly use) but there could be more to his game down the road.
Guard, Phoenix Suns
Butler is a savvy scorer and facilitator who has really improved his outside shooting this season. The question is whether his skills can translate and he can continue to create separation against NBA athletes.
Forward, Houston Rockets
Robinson-Earl isn’t an exceptional athlete and doesn’t have that one definable skill that drives his NBA potential. But he has decent size and mobility, plays with awareness and within his role and should be a reliable and versatile team defender.
Big, San Antonio Spurs
Sengun isn’t an explosive athlete or stretchy shooter and, at 6-foot-9, he may be a bit undersized as a full-time 5. But he has great footwork and touch around the basket, and is comfortable enough as a passer that he can be useful in a complementary role.
Forward, Milwaukee Bucks
A versatile frontcourt scorer who can shoot and create from the wing Prkacin could give the Bucks another weapon to diversify their offensive attack around Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Terrence Shannon Jr.
Wing, Denver Nuggets
Shannon is a solid defender with a broad and developing offensive toolbox. He still needs to prove he can hit open jumpers but he could be a useful role player in Denver with his wing defense and complementary offensive skills.
Forward, Golden State Warriors
Wagner isn’t outstanding in any one area but offers offensive versatility with plenty of size on the wings and brings a feel and awareness that would be extremely valuable in the Warriors’ system, playing off Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
Greg Brown Jr.
Forward, Boston Celtics
Brown is still working on his outside jumper (35.1 percent on 4.1 attempts per game) but he’s an explosive, high-energy athlete with the size and quickness to handle a variety of defensive assignments. He’s a project but the Celtics desperately need another bigger wing and he could certainly fill a hole.
Guard, Indiana Pacers
Nix hasn’t finished or shot the ball particularly well with the G League Ignite team but he’s a point guard with great strength, size (6-foot-5) and vision who knows how to make use of what he does well — averaging 6.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Nix could eventually make a solid second-unit backcourt partner for Aaron Holiday and his undersized shooting.
Wing, New York Knicks
Kispert has the profile of an elite shooter, excelling coming off screens, pulling up off-the-dribble and hitting with his feet set. His athletic limitations will likely narrow his role at the NBA level but he has the makings of an excellent complementary floor-spacer.
Big, Toronto Raptors
Sharpe looks like a less explosive version of Bam Adebayo — a paint-bound big with excellent touch and passing instincts with plenty of defensive upside. For a team like the Raptors, looking to rebuild their frontcourt, he could be a great addition.
Check out our full scouting report for more on Day’Ron Sharpe.
Big, Charlotte Hornets
Jones has fantastic size, mobility and shot-blocking potential. His offensive game is still very raw but he’s made 18-of-50 3-point shots across two seasons and there is potential for him to grow into a more versatile player. Even if he’s just a rim-protector and vertical floor-spacer he would plenty of utility for a team like the Hornets with a dynamic young backcourt.