The 2021 NBA Draft Will Be the Most Exciting in Years


(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


The NBA Finals are coming to a close, meaning that the attention of many fans will now be turning to the NBA Draft.

The lottery is set and we know which teams will be picking where, which leaves fans to speculate on which players will hear their names called first.

Potential trades, surprises, risers and fallers are all in store when the NBA draft takes place on July 29.

The Top 6

This is a strong draft class with a lot of potential options depending on where you are in the order. The presumptive No. 1 overall pick is Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham to the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit is in sore need of any talent they can get their hands on, and Cunningham will surely help speed up this rebuild and return the Pistons to the playoffs.

Past Cunningham, however, the draft becomes a lot more interesting. The next tier of players consists of USC center Evan Mobley, G League Ignite guard Jalen Green, Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga and Florida State forward Scottie Barnes.

Each of these players is deserving in their own right and unique from the others. Teams picking 2-6 will have a tough time differentiating between who they want, and there could be a lot of surprises in store within the top section of the draft.

Rumors say that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, picking at 3 and 4 respectively, may be interested in trading down to get more assets, so a mystery team could jump up and grab a really nice prospect. 

The Low Lottery

Past the sixth overall spot, things get really murky. There’s a grab bag of really talented players in this range, and the order they go in will really depend on fit and team need.

Some mix of Arkansas guard Moses Moody, Tennessee guard Keon Johnson, Michigan forward Franz Wagner, Connecticut guard James Bouknight, Tennessee guard Jaden Springer, Duke forward Jalen Johnson, Baylor guard Davion Mitchell, Real Madrid forward Usman Garuba, Australian guard Josh Giddey, Texas center Kai Jones, Stanford forward Ziaire Williams and Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert will likely be the next group of players called, and that’s not an exhaustive list.

Williams, for example, is a guy I’ve seen ranked as high as No. 6 and as low as 26, so there will be a ton of variability within this range.

Teams are expecting a lot of movement between picks 7 and 20, and there are tons of players who could end up much higher or lower than we are expecting. 

The Rest of the First Round

Beyond the leftover players from the previous group, there is still plenty to get excited about if you are picking in the mid to late first round.

Some of the players available include VCU guard Nah’Shon Hyland, Turkish center Alperen Sengun, Alabama guard Josh Primo, Oregon forward Chris Duarte, LSU guard Cameron Thomas, Auburn forward JT Thor, Auburn guard Sharife Cooper, Kentucky center Isaiah Jackson, Baylor guard Jared Butler and Houston guard Quentin Grimes.

This is a very deep draft class with a lot of talented players well into the 20s and even the second round. A lot of teams may try to trade up to grab a specific guy, while others will be content with whoever falls to them. There are even teams who do not own a first round pick this year that may try to trade future assets to get one in this draft. 

Teams to Watch

The Oklahoma City Thunder are armed with more draft capital over the next five years than you can count on your fingers and toes, and they are definitely a candidate to trade up, down and everywhere in between. If there’s a prospect that OKC likes, they are more than capable of making it happen for the right price.

The Golden State Warriors have two lottery picks and hopes of returning to title contention. They may use one or both of those picks to trade for veteran help rather than drafting a young player who may not be ready to contribute right away.

The Houston Rockets have three picks in the first round and could be a team who attempts to move up to add multiple young prospects to their roster.

The Orlando Magic, along with Cleveland and Toronto as mentioned before, are candidates to trade down in the lottery to obtain more draft capital.

Good teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz all have picks at the end of the first round, and they can all add a solid player at those spots to help push for a title next season.

Overall this is shaping up to be an incredibly exciting draft, and there is room for a ton of fireworks on July 29 at 6 p.m. MDT.


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