New factor provides fresh aspect for 2021 NBA draft


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Cade Cunningham brings the ball up for the Oklahoma State Cowboys

Joe Bjorkman, Staff Writer

The NBA season is heading to its end, and as it wraps up, the 2021 NBA draft is coming up on July 29. This draft order is based on current records, but ultimately the draft lottery will determine who picks where.

Although the draft order has not been set yet, it is clear that interests are peaking in the first draft of its kind. There has never been a draft in which players are coming from the new professional route in the NBA G-League. This upcoming class is full of talent and will absolutely be fun to watch in the 2021-2022 NBA season.

#1 Pick: Houston Rockets-Cade Cunningham

Cunningham is a 6’8¨ playmaker with guard skills in a wing body. He has the ability to make game-changing plays as he proved himself an excellent scorer at the college level while playing for Oklahoma State University. He will fit nicely next to John Wall as the Rockets look to expand the team’s guard play with the best player in the draft.

#2 Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves-Evan Mobley

The Timberwolves are looking for a big man that can play the four spot that can make an immediate impact and will be a force in the paint. Mobley fits that description like a glove; the 7’0” athletic center can protect the rim with his length and has an impressive offensive upside— he can finish with good touch around the rim, face up from the post, and shoot the ball from the outside.

#3 Pick: Orlando Magic-Jalen Green

Jalen Green is one of the most athletic players in this draft; he is an elite wing with impressive bounce who can finish around the rim. He proved himself in the G-League this year on Team Ignite since he decided to take the professional route as opposed to playing college ball. Green has a ton of potential and that is exactly what the Magic is seeking, as the team is in need of a fresh look for its future as it looks to turn the team around.

#4 Pick: Detroit Pistons-Jalen Suggs

Suggs is one of the best point guards in the draft and can do just about whatever is asked of him. Besides being extremely athletic, Suggs can facilitate the ball, score at all three levels, and guard the opposing team’s best player, making him one of the most valuable picks in the draft that can definitely have an immediate impact on a team. The Pistons may have struck out in last year’s draft in picking guard Killian Hayes and should look to get Suggs as the team is in need of all the help it can get.

#5 Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder-Jonathan Kuminga

Oklahoma City is in need of solid players for just about every position possible. Jonathan Kuminga may have one of the highest ceilings in the draft and he is a player that can fill multiple roles at once; he can rebound, score, and defend at a high level. Kuminga stands at 6’7” and has the perfect build to be an NBA wing. However, there here are some worries due to Kuminga’s lack of efficiency, as he had a low field goal percentage during his time in the G-League.

#6 Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers-Keon Johnson

The Cavaliers is another team that needs just about every position and will shop for the best player possible. Although it has an impressive young guard in Collin Sexton, the Cavs should look to improve its back court with Keon Johnson, guard from Tennessee. Johnson’s claim to fame is his defensive ability as well as his explosiveness on the court. He will give the Cavs an aggressive defender that is able to get to the rim with his athleticism and can create if he needs to.

#7 Pick: Sacramento Kings-Jalen Johnson

Johnson is of the most physically gifted players this draft will see. Standing at 6’9΅ and 220 pounds, Johnson gets up and down the court like a pure guard with his athletic and quick build. Despite his decision to leave Duke, he is still an extremely good player. Johnson’s only downside is his shooting, but his athleticism and guard skills as a big outweigh the negatives. The Kings will continue to build on the team’s young core that includes De’aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Marvin Bagley.

#8 Pick: Toronto Raptors-Davion Mitchell

Davion Mitchell increased his draft stock after his impressive performance in March Madness this year for the Baylor Bears. Yet another guard that is an aggressive defender, he has now proven he can create opportunities for himself and his teammates and score from all three levels. The Raptors have decisions to make regarding its guards with free agency coming up and will look to get a young star in Mitchell.

#9 Pick: Orlando Magic (Via Chicago Bulls)-Scottie Barnes

Another great pick for the Magic, Scottie Barnes, is being called the next Magic Johnson. Now, obviously it is not likely that Barnes will reach Magic Johnson’s level, but he does have a similar skill set. He is a 6’9” defending forward who can make plays like a guard. Barnes is also an underrated passer, as he averaged 4.1 assists per game at Florida State University. The Magic have shown that the team loves two-way forwards, as it has one of the best defending wings in the league in Jonathan Isaac, and will definitely take Barnes if he is still on the board at pick number nine.

#10 Pick: New Orleans Pelicans-Moses Moody

Moody feels almost underrated at being selected 10th overall; he had one of the most impressive college seasons coming into the draft. Moody is an absolute menace on offense— he ranked fourth in the freshman scoring system at Arkansas, where there were not as many opportunities to score as other programs. The Pelicans are in need of a scorer at the guard position, and Moody can be the piece the Pels need to take the team to the next level.


This is an extremely loaded draft class that has a ton of potential stars that will be selected throughout the first round. Some players that could sneak up into the top 10 are Isaiah Jackson, a lengthy, athletic forward from Kentucky; Franz Wagner, a two-way forward from Michigan; and Cam Thomas, a young guard who can score from wherever he wants on the floor.

The new circumstances of athletes going straight to the NBA’s G-League in this draft are creating a special feeling for the upcoming class. This is an overall strong class and one should expect to hear these names in the next few years, as these draft picks are the future of the NBA.