It’s NBA Draft week, and the buzz around the league’s next crop of stars is growing by the minute. We’ll know soon enough how teams view each player when they walk across the draft stage, but our NBA analysts Brandon Anderson and Michael Walton have broken down where the top player and lottery teams could be focusing their attention come Thursday.
NBA.com has compiled nine mock drafts around the NBA landscape and gave a consensus score for the top 14 players based on how high they were taken in each mock draft. Below, we’ve combined those consensus mock draft scores and the current draft position odds for each player using odds from BetMGM.
Here’s where the odds for the consensus top 14 stand leading up to the draft:
2021 NBA Draft Odds
|Player||Mock Draft Consensus||Odds|
|Cade Cunningham||1||-5000 (No. 1)|
|Jalen Green||2||-400 (No. 2)|
|Evan Mobley||3||-225 (No. 3)|
|Jalen Suggs||4||-160 (No. 4)|
|Scottie Barnes||5||-225 (No. 5)|
|Jonathan Kuminga||6||+250 (No. 5)|
|James Bouknight||7||7.5 (+155/-190)|
|Davion Mitchell||8||12.5 (+100/-125)|
|Franz Wagner||9||9.5 (+140/-175)|
|Keon Johnson||10||12.5 (-135/+110)|
|Josh Giddey||11||10.5 (+150/-190)|
|Moses Moody||12||11.5 (+115/-145)|
|Jalen Johnson||13||14.5 (-130/+105)|
|Kai Jones||14||15.5 (+150/-185)|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via BetMGM.|
Now, with another No. 1 pick, you can count on the Pistons keeping and making that selection. And by all accounts, that should mean Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham is headed to the Motor City.
However, Green’s upside, development and projection are what make him a clear top-five pick, even if his archetype and longer development curve slightly limit him.
Mobley is not a perfect prospect, but no 20-year-old is a completed project. He needs to add strength, work on his shot, and polish a lot of raw talent.
But NBA teams are drafting a toolset, not a finished product, and Evan Mobley is about as complete a toolset as you can hope for in a modern big man.
The concern with Suggs is whether he matches the ceiling of the other top prospects in this draft, like Cunningham, Mobley, or Green.
In the end, Barnes looks like a high-variance draft pick who could end up being boom or bust. His defense is too good to bust, but if he can’t find a shot or develop an offensive game, he might not be on the court long enough to defend.
If things develop and Kuminga gets a better feel for the game, he could one day become what he already looks like — the next great NBA wing.
Team Needs & Analysis
Pistons (No. 1)
The Pistons hadn’t received the No. 1 pick in 51 years, with Bob Lanier being their last top pick — and they need plenty of help.
It would be shocking to see Detroit take anyone at No. 1 besides big Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, though USC center Evan Mobley could get a well-deserved look.
Rockets (No. 2, 23, 24)
The Rockets began the season with a superstar and ending looking up in the standings and hoping for a new beginning. They turned in a porous performance on both sides of the ball, though their defense did show some fight late in the regular season.
At this point in their rebuild, the Rockets front office should be looking for the best player available regardless of position.
Cavaliers (No. 3)
The Cavaliers have a lot of decisions to make with their roster. Kevin Love, Jarrett Allen and Collin Sexton are all players who could be gone depending on how Cleveland assesses its roster moving forward.
It’s likely the Cavaliers will take the best available player at this spot and continue to rebuild for the future.
Raptors (No. 4)
Needs: Scoring Wing | Big Man
It’s entirely possible Toronto doesn’t keep this pick. There are tons of rumors surrounding Kyle Lowry, who is likely looking to compete for another NBA Championship as his career enters its twilight years. As detailed by our Matt Moore, there are plenty of suitors for Lowry’s services.
Whichever direction Raptors head coach Nick Nurse and the front office go in, they have plenty of trade assets and draft capital to pull off a big move.
Magic (Nos. 5, 8)
Needs: Shot Creator | Passing Guard
After being ravaged by injuries, the Magic decided to let go of a core that never made it past the first round of the playoffs and start rebuilding. Orlando’s mid-season trade with the Chicago Bulls yielded the No. 8 pick in the draft.
New head coach Jamahl Mosley and the Magic front office can go in a number of directions with their two top-10 picks, but those pieces will likely fit around Jonathan Issac and Markelle Fultz who signed long deals before getting injured last season.
Thunder (Nos. 6, 16, 18)
Needs: Scoring Wing | Stretch Big
Thunder general manager Sam Presti has been stockpiling picks for the past few seasons, and he has three in the first round of this draft. OKC is leaning into its youth with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley showing promise for the future of the team.
Still, the Thunder need legitimate help to return to their days of being a postseason regular.
Warriors (Nos. 7, 14)
Needs: Scorer | Ball-Handler
The Warriors have been linked to trade rumors involving their two top-15 picks, and considering how close they were to making the NBA Playoffs, it’s easy to see why they would attempt to flip their assets for an established veteran.
In a draft with significant depth, the Warriors have a number of options to improve their top-heavy roster.
Kings (No. 9)
The Kings now own the longest active postseason drought in the NBA, which dates back to the 2006-07 season. They nailed their 2020 draft pick by selecting Tyrese Haliburton, and De’Aaron Fox continues to improve. But the Kings are still vulnerable on defense and don’t have an identity.
If the Kings manage to get another steal like they did last season, we could potentially see their fortunes turn.
Grizzlies (No. 10)
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans are trading this pick to the Memphis Grizzlies.
New Orleans creates salary cap space for August that allows them to either match an offer sheet on Lonzo Ball, or have the cap space to pursue a significant free agent point guard, including Kyle Lowry and others. Pels liked Valanciunas as floor spacer at center over Adams, too. https://t.co/3YRyBTEg1S
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 26, 2021
Hornets (No. 11)
Needs: Center | 3-and-D Wing
Despite missing 2020 Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward for long stretches of the season, the Hornets fell just two wins short of a playoff spot and showed tremendous growth.
The Hornets were reportedly looking to add a center via trade at the deadline and could try to address that need in the draft.
Spurs (No. 12)
The Spurs’ season ended in a down-to-the-wire matchup with the Grizzlies in the NBA Play-In Tournament that highlighted San Antonio’s fatal flaws. Gregg Popovich relied heavily on Dejounte Murray, DeMar DeRozan, and Derrick White this past season, but the Spurs were dead-last in the league in 3-point attempts and 24th (out of 30 teams) in 3-point percentage.
Adding another deep shooter will be key to opening up their sometimes stagnant offense.
Pacers (No. 13)
The Pacers started last season with promise, but after injuries and in-fighting, they ended the season falling short of the playoffs for just the second time in 10 seasons.
New head coach Rick Carlisle could decide to overhaul this roster or run it back with a team that features a talented core with Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert, Myles Turner and TJ Warren.