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NBA mock draft 2021

Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham during an NCAA Tournament

Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham during an NCAA Tournament game against Oregon State at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 21, 2021.  Credit: TNS/Andy Lyons

As we move closer to the July 29 draft date there has been some movement from the initial predictions and there should be more by the time that the names begin to be called on Thursday night.

With an abbreviated offseason and free agency following just days after the draft moves are still to be made, but we provide our best guesses on how the draft plays out now. We still believe that the Knicks will try to move up from the current spots of 19, 21, 32 and 58, packaging the picks in some form to move up - or use some in a deal for a veteran who can help them win now.

1. DETROIT: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State, G, 6-8

Little doubt about this one as Cunningham lived up to all of the preseason hype even through a pandemic-ravaged season. Point guard skills, shooting guard touch and size.

2. HOUSTON: Jalen Green, G League Ignite, G, 6-5

In a draft that is considered top-heavy, Green has risen among those elite prospects and, as the highest-ceiling scorer in the draft, has even garnered some consideration for the top spot.

3. CLEVELAND: Evan Mobley, USC, F-C, 7-0

New age frontcourt player - rail-thin, but athletic and skilled. He can score, but immediately is the sort of big who can switch onto almost any position.

4. TORONTO: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga, G, 6-4

With Kyle Lowry on the way out Suggs is a perfect fit, a heady point guard with Jason Kidd comparisons already. Defense, passing and shooting should translate easily into an NBA lineup.

5. ORLANDO: Scottie Barnes, Florida State, G, 6-7

Jumped from No. 10 in our first mock. Comparisons to Draymond Green seem like a leap, but he does already serve as a multiple-position defender who plays bigger than his size thanks to his strength and toughness. Measured a 7-2 wingspan at the combine.

6. OKLAHOMA CITY: Jonathan Kuminga, G League Ignite, F, 6-8

Athletic forward fits the needs as the Thunder build with youth, although don’t rule out Alperen Sengun jumping up here as draft approaches. Kuminga is raw while Sengun already showed skills.

7. GOLDEN STATE (from Minnesota): Davion Mitchell, Baylor, G, 6-0

What team will disregard the worries that he is undersized more than the one who has overseen Steph Curry’s rise to a Hall of Fame-bound scorer? Gritty playmaker who plays, yes, bigger than his measurements.

8. ORLANDO (from Chicago): Alperen Sengun, Turkey, F, 6-10

The Magic could still get their man here thanks to the second lottery pick. The 18-year-old MVP of the Turkish League has skills beyond his age but still has a ways to go and must improve three-point shooting.

9. SACRAMENTO: Franz Wagner, Michigan, F, 6-9

Defensive-ready, Wagner already projects as a three and D wing and would fit nicely with the Kings young weapons.

10. NEW ORLEANS: James Bouknight, UConn, G, 6-5

After a solid career, his workouts have jumped him in most mocks as he has shown an ability to score in different ways.

11. CHARLOTTE: Josh Giddey, Australia, G, 6-8

Interesting playmaking ability for an 18-year-old, but needs to improve his shooting.

12. SAN ANTONIO: Moses Moody, Arkansas, G-F, 6-5

Hard-working defender who can shoot from three. He’s risen, along with Giddy, into most believing that they will be lottery locks.

13. INDIANA: Keon Johnson, Tennessee, G, 6-5

If you are building why not take a chance on the raw ability of a player like Johnson? Already a tough defensive stopper with the ability to get to the rim on the other end.

14. GOLDEN STATE: Jalen Johnson, Duke, F, 6-7

Walked away from the Blue Devils in the pandemic, drawing the ire of Duke fans, but wisely readied himself for the NBA. Possesses finesse for his size with huge hands, but still raw and mistake-prone.

15. WASHINGTON: Kai Jones, Texas, F-C, 6-11

While his athleticism may remind you of Mitchell Robinson, he already shot nearly 40% from beyond the arc this season, which could propel him higher as the draft approaches.

16. OKLAHOMA CITY (from Boston): Chris Duarte, Oregon, G-F, 6-6

While teams seem dubious of taking older players and he’ll be 24 years old when drafted, his shooting touch (42.4% from 3) is hard to resist.

17. MEMPHIS: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga, G-F, 6-7

Shot 44.4% from three this season and enters the draft as the best shooter available. He can create his own shot, too, and move the ball, but his strength is shooting and teams are hunting that right now.

18. OKLAHOMA CITY (from Miami): Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky, F-C, 6-10

Athletic if raw big who should be able to contribute as shot blocker and rim-runner immediately.

19. KNICKS: Sharife Cooper, Auburn, PG, 6-1

Maybe the purest PG after Suggs in the draft, elite passing ability and can get to the rim in a way that would warm Tom Thibodeau’s heart.

20. ATLANTA: Usman Garuba, Real Madrid, F, 6-8

The Hawks have shown they have plenty of scoring, but adding a versatile defender to the likes of Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter would be a nice plus to their mix.

21. KNICKS (from Dallas): Tre Mann, Florida, G, 6-5

Do I think the Knicks will keep both first-rounders as well as the No. 32 pick and hand Thibodeau three rookies? I do not. But let’s put a name here anyway. Shot 40.2% from three this season, but more than that showed the sort of mid-range and paint ability to score at multiple levels.

22. LOS ANGELES LAKERS: Jared Butler, Baylor, G, 6-3

Cleared for the draft after health concerns, a scorer who has become more of a playmaker as he helped leave Baylor to an NCAA title.

23. HOUSTON (from Portland): Jaden Springer, Tennessee, G, 6-4

Two-way guard with three-point shooting range.

24. HOUSTON (from Milwaukee): Greg Brown, Texas, F, 6-9

Raw, but versatile defender.

25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Trey Murphy III, Virginia, G-F, 6-9

Never scored 20 points after season-opener, but consistent three-point shooter (43.3%).

26. DENVER: Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky, C, 6-10

Shotblocking and rim-running backup for Nikola Jokic could fill a need here.

27. NETS: Ziaire Williams, Stanford, G-F, 6-8

Didn’t quite live up to his preseason hype but still showed some of the steady and smooth playmaking for his size that interests scouts.

28. PHILADELPHIA: Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois, G, 6-5

Versatile guard who improved as a junior and shot well on limited attempts from long range.

29. PHOENIX: Nah’Shon Hyland, Virginia Commonwealth, G, 6-5

"Bones" opened eyes maybe more than any other player at the Combine after a very good sophomore season at VCU.

30. UTAH: Cam Thomas, LSU, G, 6-4

Could be a steal if he lasts this far down with elite scoring ability.

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