It’s that time again folks! Draft night. And that means the Sports 2.0 team is taking its best stab at who will be chosen in the lottery tonight. We put together this mock draft to show who we would take if we were the GMs of these teams, and in our opinion, these guys should listen to us!
Without further ado, here is the Sports 2.0 team’s 2021 NBA lottery pick mock draft. Enjoy!
Detroit – Grant Mitchell – Cade Cunningham
Cade Cunningham is the perfect mold of a modern NBA player, with positional versatility stretching from point guard to small forward and the ability to score, rebound, and assist the basketball. He also has length and strength that could help him become a solid defender if he is not burdened with carrying the majority of the offensive load.
At 6-foot-8, Cunningham was the number-one high school recruit in 2020 and had a stellar freshman campaign at Oklahoma State, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 43.8% field goal shooting, 40% from beyond the arc, and 84.6% from the stripe. He also snatched 1.6 steals per game and used his elite anticipation and understanding of the game to his advantage on the defensive end, which would have impressed many scouts around the league.
His most memorable performance came against #7 Oklahoma when he dropped 40 points and 11 assists in an overtime win. He is the sure-first top pick in this draft, regardless of how stacked his competition is.
Houston – Erik Neff – Jalen Green
While Houston may not need another strong and versatile shooting guard at the moment, if you’re this high in the draft, I’m a strong proponent of taking the best available player. That player is Jalen Green, who chose to forgo college last season and go straight to the G League.
Green averaged 18 points and 4 assists per game in the G League last season. While shooting nearly 38% from three-point range. Scouts tend to agree with the fact that Green’s shooting has improved since joining the G League.
Green will be a welcome addition to head coach Stephen Silas’ squad. Look for the rookie star to finish near the top of Rookie of the Year voting in the coming season.
Cleveland – Justin Onken – Jalen Suggs
Suggs would be second on my board behind Cade Cunningham so getting him at three is pretty nice. There are certainly fit concerns with the current Cavs roster with Garland and Sexton but neither have proven to be effective enough to win games. The Cavs didn’t win enough and those two haven’t shown enough to draft for need at this point.
Mobely is intriguing and certainly would fit nicely but Suggs checks every box for me. He’s tough as hell, a really good defender who should be able to defend both guard spots effectively and he can shoot. His IQ is off the charts and he has a nice natural feel for the game. His shooting numbers will have to get better but his shot isn’t broken. He will improve as his shot selection improves and he was a good free throw shooter at Gonzaga.
Ultimately, Suggs does everything it takes to actually dictate the outcome of a game and create wins. I think Suggs, Garland and Okoro are the start of a really nice threesome in Cleveland with a super high ceiling on defense and elite athleticism and enough shooting to go around.
Toronto – Grant Bale – Evan Mobley
Raptors fans should be ecstatic drafting a #1 pick talent at #4 in Evan Mobley. Mobley stands 7 feet tall with a long frame and coordinated movements, perfect for creating mismatches in the NBA. Adding Mobley to your roster gives your team a playmaking forward with high upside. An underrated aspect to Mobley’s game is his defense. His ability to move laterally with speed should translate to surviving switches and feasting on blocks at the rim.
As Mobley gets stronger and develops his catch and shoot ability, his face up scoring could be lethal, scoring in the post, attacking from the elbows, and (fingers crossed) corner 3’s. A Chris Bosh style role and production could be in Mobley’s future, this is great value at the number 4 pick.
The Raptors have proven player development (see Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam), the team’s transition into young talent is a perfect roster fit for Evan Mobley.
Orlando – Andy Slawecki – Scottie Barnes
The Magic traded away their top two players at the deadline last year, opting for a rebuild instead of moving forward with Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. They have their first of two top-10 opportunities here to try to replace the former franchise stars, but it’s also time for Mo Bamba, Jonathan Issac and Wendell Carter, Jr to fill that frontcourt void.
Orlando goes with Barnes in this scenario, with whispers that the two are infatuated with one another. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Florida State product slip to 8 where the Magic could grab him again, but they’ll avoid potential disappointment by making Barnes the second straight Seminole to go in the top five (Patrick Williams went 4th overall to the Bulls in the 2020 Draft).
Barnes’ college boxscores won’t blow you away, but his offensive versatility (6’9 point forward) will give the Magic options. However, it’s his defense that has scouts drooling and ultimately why Orlando will plug him into their rotation right away.
Oklahoma City – Alec Busse – Jonathan Kuminga
Taking Jonathan Kuminga sixth overall might be a slight gamble when you think about how raw of a talent Kuminga is, but despite the concerns around his game he has one of the three or four highest ceilings of any player in this Draft.
Oklahoma City is known for being good evaluators of talent and they have also developed a lot of talent over the years, so Kuminga makes some logical sense in Oklahoma City to potentially roll the dice on taking Kuminga in the top-10 of the Draft. Another reason why the Thunder can gamble with this pick here is that they have so many picks lined up in future drafts, so while you don’t want to miss on a top-10 pick it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Kuminga is a complete bust.
Kuminga is too good of an athlete to be a complete bust though. Once he figures out how to shoot it more consistently from the floor, Kuminga could turn into a nice NBA player for a long time.
Golden State (From Minnesota) – Grant Mitchell – Franz Wagner
In all likelihood, Andrew Wiggins does not have much of a future left in Golden State; this is not to say that Wagner is his immediate replacement, because he is not, but he would be a playable rotation piece as a rookie that could contribute for roughly 20 minutes per game as he develops and adjusts to the Warriors’ system.
Wagner, the younger brother of the Orlando Magic’s Mo Wagner, is a proficient defender that can cover multiple positions. He also has clean shooting mechanics that would project him to be much better than the 32.5% three-point shooter he was in at Michigan.
As a sophomore, Wagner averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and three assists despite receiving a minority share of time on the ball. He does not have jaw-dropping athleticism, but he is smart, improved during two years of college ball, and has desirable skills in a 6-foot-9 body.
The German-born guard could play as a small forward, or even in five-out situations as a floor-spacing four with Draymond Green at center. Teams are high on Wagner for a reason, and he would fit in very well in the Bay.
Orlando (From Chicago) – Erik Neff – Keon Johnson
Orlando can basically throw a dart at the board for both of their lottery picks this season. It seems their rebuild is never-ending. With the 5th pick, they grabbed 6’9” point forward Scottie Barnes. A worthy pick at 5.
With the 8th pick, the Magic will grab Keon Johnson, guard from Tennessee. Johnson’s stats may not look like that of a superstar, but keep in mind that Keon was basically splitting the position with fellow guard Jaden Springer at Tennessee.
The eye test tells me that Keon will be the better NBA player and with that in mind, the Magic will take the selection that is highest on their draft board. Keon Johnson should be that guy. Johnson and Barnes should put on quite the show together in their rookie season.
Sacramento – Justin Onken – Trey Murphy
Murphy has been a hot name the last few days and I think it’s deserved. He is a perfect fit as a four in today’s NBA. He is a knock-down shooter and has the length and size to hang on defense. He is about 6’8” with a 7’ wingspan and is quick enough for most forwards and big enough for most of today’s fours.
He might be the best or second-best shooter in the draft and is good on pick and pops and short rolls. He fits perfectly with Fox and Halliburton and can grow with them. He doesn’t need the ball to score but can attack closeouts and finishes well at the rim. Murphy is more athletic than he gets credit for and finishes above the rim consistently and in transition.
With Fox and Halliburton as the main creators, they’ll need shooters and pick and roll partners going forward. Murphy fits the bill perfectly and provides a smart defender with nice length and effort on defense as well which the Kings certainly need. Drafting for need is not always my favorite move but I think Murphy is a perfect fit and isn’t an overdraft at this point.
Memphis (From New Orleans) – Grant Bale – Moses Moody
The Grizzlies moved into the 10th pick with a player in mind. A soon-to-be impact player who can complement their young star in Ja Morant, Moses Moody fits that role. Moses comes off a productive freshman year at Arkansas shooting 37.9% from 3 and 81.7% from the free throw line. To me, good free throwing shooting is reassurance that the shooting is real and should translate to the NBA.
Moody has a strong frame and long arms at 6 foot 5 inches tall, giving him the ability to compete on the defensive end and shoot over long defenders. I believe a clear role and good coaching should take Moody’s game to the next level.
Production from Moses Moody could get to peak Trevor Ariza, allowing him to focus on making shots and winning his matchup on the defensive end. His knack for playing off the ball fits with the Grizzlies’ young core and should equal playing time in his rookie season.
Charlotte – Andy Slawecki – Davion Mitchell
Do the Hornets need Mitchell? With Terry Rozier and especially, LaMelo Ball, not necessarily. But Rozier has emerged as a potential trade candidate, and even if he stays in Charlotte, you can never have enough ball handlers in today’s NBA.
The better question might be: Can the Hornets afford to pass him up if he’s available at No. 11? That answer would be no. Yes, Charlotte could use help in the frontcourt and might consider Kai Jones or Alperen Sengün in this spot. But Mitchell is already being labeled as the one of the most NBA-ready prospects in this class, proving he’s capable of performing in high-pressure situations after Baylor’s run during March Madness.
Mitchell’s ascension from marginal college player to first-round talent will fully unfold Thursday night. He’s got the potential to go in the top 10, but if he’s available as our mock has unfolded here, Charlotte should expect their phones to be ringing off the hook.
San Antonio – Alec Busse – James Bouknight
If James Bouknight falls this far, the San Antonio Spurs would be silly not to take him. Most NBA mock drafts have Bouknight going in the top-8 of Thursday night’s draft. Bouknight is one of the most gifted scorers in this year’s draft class he is a potential high-impact player early in his career because of that.
The one knock on Bouknight’s game is his lack of playmaking ability for his teammates. During his two seasons at UConn, his teammates struggled to find freedom on the court and that’s a major concern in the NBA game, which is more based on spacing than the college game. However, he’s shown a great ability to finish in the lane and create shots that shouldn’t really be available to him inside the perimeters.
If Bouknight can turn into a more consistent three-point shooter — and that’s a big if because he shot just 29.3 percent last season at UConn — whatever NBA team that drafts him is going to be really happy.
Indiana – Andy Slawecki – Corey Kispert
This pick may be contingent on what the Pacers decide to do with Doug McDermott. McBuckets is a free agent and has played his way into earning a lucrative contract. The Pacers have about $11M in cap space but would have full Bird-rights and be able to go over the tax by bringing him back.
If they’ve already decided to let him walk, or the draft actually falls this way, Kispert becomes a logical replacement. The Gonzaga product is the best shooter in this year’s class and will have the ability to develop into an elite sniper at the next level.
Ziaire Williams is another option for Indiana here, but they would almost certainly have to bring back McDermott in that case with the former Stanford Cardinal in need of a lot of work on his jumper.
Golden State – Grant Mitchell – Jalen Johnson
Before we dive into Johnson’s profile, it is important to note that the Warriors could trade this pick to a team a few picks behind them if they could get a forward and a player like Jared Butler in return.
Assuming they keep the pick, though, Johnson would provide a huge boost to a Warriors’ roster that is devoid of real athleticism and industry. At 6’9, Johnson can guard 2-4 and handle himself when switched onto centers, though his lighter, 220-pound frame make him better as a help defender.
The former Duke Blue Devil is also very fast and has no problems handling the rock either in the mid post or running in transition, the latter of which would help the Warriors speed the game up with fastbreaks and outlets to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson outside the perimeter.
Although he is an inconsistent shooter, there is no real need to worry: believe it or not, neither of the past two Finals-winning teams were exceptional from beyond the arc. Johnson would serve as a slashing four when partnered with James Wiseman and would crash the boards alongside Draymond Green with shooters around them.
If you enjoyed this mock, please be sure and check out Knup Sports’ full 1st round mock draft.