Big Board 4.0

Breaking down the top 30 prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft

The college basketball season is over and the Baylor Bears are the NCAA champs. That means it’s time for the fourth update to my 2021 NBA Draft Big Board!

Nothing that happened the past few weeks moved the needle among the Top 5. But we saw some big movement both up and down the board starting at pick six.

From here draft prospects will begin training in preparation for individual team workouts and the NBA Draft Combine on June 21st.

Read the entire Big Board below or listen to the Big Board 4.0 podcast here.

For a complete list of players who have declared for the 2021 NBA Draft and their draft ranges, check out our Who’s In and Out of the NBA Draft


01 CADE CUNNINGHAM

WING, OKLAHOMA STATE, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Elite court vision, Ballhandling, Size
Age 19.8 | 6'7" | 215

Cunningham didn’t quite have the dominant performance he and his team were hoping for in the NCAA Tournament. Nevertheless, he appears to have a solid grip on the first spot on the Big Board. A couple of subpar games by his standards don’t detract from the way Cunningham dominated the Big 12. Scouts continue to believe he’s the most complete prospect in the draft, with elite size and skills for his position. His lack of elite explosiveness and penchant for turnovers at Oklahoma State are the only areas of concern for scouts right now.

Draft range: 1-3


02 EVAN MOBLEY

PF/C, USC, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Athleticism, Defense, Ballhandling
Age 19.8 | 6'11" | 205

In the NCAA Tournament, Mobley continued to build his strong case for being the No. 1 pick. While his box score stats may not have wowed you, he established his potential to be a dominant rim protector and defender at the next level. And while his offensive game is still more a work in progress, he has the tools to be a weapon anywhere on the floor.

Draft range: 1-5


03 JALEN SUGGS

G, GONZAGA , FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Athleticism, Toughness
Age 19.5 | 6'4" | 195

Suggs showed the poise of an NBA veteran in the NCAA Tournament. He made arguably the two most memorable plays of the tournament in the Zags’ win over UCLA in the Final Four: a block plus half-court pass that led to a spectacular Gonzaga break and a nearly half-court, 3-point bank shot at the buzzer to send Gonzaga to the title game.

The first play, not the latter, is what really defines Suggs as a prospect. He has a presence about him that NBA scouts often refer to as the “It” factor -- a leadership quality that allows him to take over games when his team needs it, and to defer to others when it’s more advantageous to his team. He doesn’t play hero ball, but with the game on the line, you want the ball in his hands. While the loss to Baylor in the Finals hurt him personally, Suggs had a strong game against the best defender in college basketball. His competitiveness, mental toughness, high-level athleticism and motor are coveted qualities in the NBA.

Draft range: 1-5


04 JALEN GREEN

SG, G LEAGUE
Primary Attributes: Athleticism, Scoring
Age 19.1 | 6'5" | 180

Green certainly helped himself with his strong play in the G League. But I wonder if he and Jonathan Kuminga are watching the NCAA Tournament right now and having second thoughts. While the style of play they played in the G League is actually more translatable to the NBA, Cunningham, Mobley and Suggs have been able to showcase their talents on the biggest stage and leave NBA scouts and fans with an emotional reaction to their games that Green and Kuminga couldn’t. Nevertheless, Green is the best pure scorer in the draft and one of the draft’s most explosive athletes. When he gets into workouts, he has a chance to move up.

Draft range: 1-5


05 JONATHAN KUMINGA

SF, G LEAGUE
Primary Attributes: Athleticism, Defensive versatility
Age 18.5 | 6'8" | 210

Kuminga got off to a huge start in the G League before tapering off and then suffering a knee injury that prematurely ended his season. He has all the tools scouts are looking for in a franchise prospect, but he’s significantly rawer (and younger) than the four prospects ahead of him on the board. As good as he might become, the risk is a little higher with him and means he’ll likely stay fifth unless dominant workouts convince a team to take him higher.

Draft range: 1-5


06 DAVION MITCHELL

PG, BAYLOR, JUNIOR
Primary Attributes: Playmaking, Defense
Age 22.6 | 6'2" | 205

We’ve been singing Mitchell’s praises in the last couple of Big Boards and moved him up to No. 18 on Big Board 3.0 before the NCAA Tournament started. Last month we said if he were two years younger, he’d be a top-10 pick. Well ... after Mitchell led Baylor to an NCAA championship in which he proved that he was not only the best on-the-ball defender in college basketball but also the engine that really made Baylor’s offense run, I believe he’s moved into the top 10. What’s more, he’s in the mix to be the first player off the board after the consensus top-5 prospects are gone.

His age works against him, for sure. But I’m not sure there’s another player in this draft that has his combination of athleticism, toughness and offensive and defensive skills. His draft rise reminds me a lot of what happened with Damian Lillard as we got closer and closer to the draft.

Draft range: 6-14


07 FRANZ WAGNER

F, MICHIGAN, SOPHOMORE
Primary Attributes: Versatility
Age 19.6 | 6'8" | 205

Wagner continues to be a bit of a polarizing prospect among front offices. His size, mobility, ability to defend three positions, excellent feel for the game and off-the-dribble game are all very intriguing. So is one of the best statistical profiles in the draft. His penchant for disappearing for long stretches on the offensive end, combined with a horrid final game against UCLA (1-for-11 from the field), including two missed 3s (one that was airballed) that could’ve won the game for Michigan, will be cited by his detractors who question whether Wagner does anything well enough to justify this position on the board. However, compared to the competition (Keon Johnson, Scottie Barnes, Kai Jones, et al.), Wagner is more advanced offensively and defensively. Rangy, versatile, 6’9” two-way wings don’t come along everyday.

Draft range: 6-14


08 KEON JOHNSON

SG, TENNESSEE, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Athleticism, Motor
Age 19.1 | 6'5" | 186

Johnson really hit his stride as the season went on. His only NCAA Tournament game, an upset loss to Oregon State where Johnson shot 6-for-16 from the field, was a mild disappointment. Nevertheless, Johnson offers the most long-term upside of any of the prospects left on the board. Defensively he already projects as a potential star, and his offensive game (namely shooting and ballhandling) has come along enough to give scouts hope that as he refines his game, he’ll be a threat on both ends of the court.

Draft range: 6-14


09 SCOTTIE BARNES

F, FLORIDA STATE, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Versatility, Defense
Age 19.7 | 6'8" | 210

Barnes, like Wagner, continues to be a polarizing prospect. Barnes intrigues because of his size, ballhandling and passing ability but also confuses because of his lack of rebounding and shooting ability. He’s just a strange prospect. His head-to-head matchup against Wagner in the Sweet 16 highlighted both his strengths and his weaknesses as a prospect in ways that made it pretty clear that Barnes is going to need to land on a team that knows how to use his talents and minimizes his deficiencies. He’s a work in progress who might be the most system-dependent prospect in the top half of this draft. If he finds the right fit, however, there’s enough talent here to warrant a top-10 pick.

Draft range: 6-14


10 JALEN JOHNSON

F, DUKE, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Versatility, Passing
Age 19.3 | 6'9" | 220

Johnson left Duke before the end of the season, but given that Duke didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, I don’t think it affected him much in terms of the draft. What has seemed to help a bit is the subpar play of several prospects, particularly Moody, Kispert and Bouknight. Johnson might have become a top-10 pick again by sitting out. His size, passing ability and rebounding will be intriguing for teams that feel comfortable his perimeter game will come around.

Draft range: 8-15


11 JOSH GIDDEY

W, AUSTRALIA
Primary Attributes: Court vision, Size
Age 18.5 | 6'8" | 205

Giddey’s versatility, ability to see the floor and defend multiple positions at his size and age make him very intriguing. He’s having an excellent season in Australia this year, averaging 11 ppg, 7 rpg, 6.6 apg and 1.2 spg. A number of scouts think he has the most upside of any international prospect in the draft. His lack of explosive athleticism and a consistent jump shot (he’s shooting 32 percent from three and 41 percent from the field) give some Ricky Rubio vibes. The question is whether elite size and floor vision is enough to warrant a lottery pick?

Draft range: 10-20


12 KAI JONES

C, TEXAS, SOPHOMORE
Primary Attributes: Size, Mobility
Age 20.2 | 6'11" | 218

Jones has steadily risen up draft boards all year despite a solid but unspectacular sophomore season. His defensive mobility is particularly attractive to scouts. He has both the ability to be an effective rim protector and the foot speed to guard players on the perimeter. He also is showing progress as a big who can stretch the floor, shooting 38 percent from 3. On the other hand, he lacks strength, is a below-average rebounder and struggles to stay out of foul trouble. Selecting Jones would be more about the future than now, but he looks like a late-lottery prospect.

Draft range: 10-20


13 MOSES MOODY

WING, ARKANSAS, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Shooting
Age 18.8 | 6'6" | 185

Moody struggled in the NCAA Tournament, going 3-for-17 from beyond the arc and hitting just two shots in the Elite Eight matchup against Baylor. He struggled to get into the flow in several of the games and looked overwhelmed by Baylor’s defense. His lack of explosive athleticism has always been one of the biggest concerns about his draft stock, and the Baylor game didn’t do him any favors.

However, before that rough patch, Moody projected as one of the top shooters in this draft class, and showed the makings of a prototypical 3-and-D wing in the NBA. How much will that tournament performance hurt his draft stock? Given he is one of the younger prospects in the draft, with terrific length, the ability to stretch the floor and defensive capabilities to guard two positions, I doubt he drops too far.

Draft range: 10-20


14 COREY KISPERT

SF, GONZAGA, SENIOR
Primary Attributes: Shooting
Age 22.1 | 6'7" | 220

Kispert was arguably the best player on Gonzaga all season, but took a backseat to Jalen Suggs, Drew Timme and even Joel Ayayi in the NCAA Tournament. Part of that has to do with his unusual struggles from deep in the past few games. Kispert, who has graded out as the best shooter in the draft all year, went 9-for-28 from 3-point territory in his last four games and looked overwhelmed athletically against Baylor and UCLA. Kispert takes roughly 45 percent of his shots from 3 and shoots 45 percent from there. He’s just 32 percent, however, on his 2-point jumpers. Still, I don’t think it will deter teams who see him as a Joe Harris-like floor spacer who also has enough athletic chops to compete on the defensive end. He’s plug and play in the NBA.

Draft range: 10-20



15 SHARIFE COOPER

PG, AUBURN, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Passing, Scoring
Age 19.8 | 6'1" | 180

Cooper is one of the most exciting players in the draft, with elite speed, floor vision and the ability to get anywhere he wants on the court. His lack of size and poor shooting numbers at Auburn temper his draft projection somewhat.

Draft range: 10-20


16 GREG BROWN

F, TEXAS, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Freaky athleticism
Age 19.6 | 6'9" | 205

Brown continues to be the hardest player to peg on the board. Some teams think that his explosive athletic ability, motor, versatility as a defender and solid jump shot give him one of the highest ceilings in the draft. Others point to his steady decline in minutes and production throughout the season, poor assist total and inexperience and see a major work in progress with a very scary floor. Teams that focus on the upside see him as a top-10 pick. Teams that are worried about his development see him in the late first round. For now, we’re splitting the difference. Workouts will ultimately decide his fate.

Draft range: 10-25


17 ISAIAH JACKSON

F/C, KENTUCKY, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Athleticism, Shot-blocking
Age 19.2 | 6'10" | 205

Like Brown, Jackson is relying primarily on his athletic upside to propel him this high in the draft. He’s an excellent athlete with a real defensive skill set -- he’s one of the best shot blockers in the draft, if not the best. His offense started coming around in the second half of the season, which has some GMs a little more bullish on him than this spot. Others feel he has a long way to go before he gets meaningful minutes on an NBA team. Jackson, like Brown, has one of the biggest draft ranges on the board.

Draft range: 10-25


18 JAMES BOUKNIGHT

SG, UCONN, SOPHOMORE
Primary Attributes: Scoring, Basketball IQ
Age 20.5 | 6'5" | 190

Bouknight is widely considered the second-best pure scorer in the draft behind the G League’s Jalen Green. But he struggled to score with any real efficiency after returning from an elbow injury in mid-February. His one NCAA Tournament game, a loss to Maryland, highlighted his shooting woes. He went 6-for-16 from the field and just 1-for-6 from 3, lowering 3-point percentage to under 30 percent for the season. He was also a turnover machine without showing much promise as a playmaker at the next level.

Draft range: 15-25


19 JARED BUTLER

G, BAYLOR, JUNIOR
Primary Attributes: Versatility
Age 20.6 | 6'3" | 195

Butler was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four after leading Baylor with 22 points and netting seven assists in the championship game. He shot 8-for-14 from 3 and looked the part of the versatile scorer, shooter and defender who could be an important role player on an NBA team. His ceiling isn’t as high as that of many of the other players in the top 20 because of his lack of elite size and athleticism for his position.

Draft range: 15-25


20 JADEN SPRINGER

G, TENNESSEE, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Scoring
Age 18.5 | 6'4" | 205

Springer ended the season on a disappointing note, scoring 12 points in an opening-round loss to Oregon State. He’s another polarizing prospect. Teams that like him see a strong defender with excellent shot selection. He can score from anywhere on the floor. The questions surround his lack of elite size and athleticism. Can he get the same good looks against NBA defenders?

Draft range: 15-25


21 CAMERON THOMAS

SG, LSU, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Scoring
Age 19.5 | 6'4" | 210

Thomas had a big NCAA Tournament, averaging 28.5 ppg in LSU’s two games. He has been one of the best scorers in college basketball all season. He can get his shot off from anywhere and thrives at getting to the line. His inconsistency behind the arc, lack of elite size and athleticism for his position and one-dimensional game make scouts question how his game will translate at the next level.

Draft range: 15-25


22 CHRIS DUARTE

W, OREGON, SENIOR
Primary Attributes: Scoring, Shooting, Defense
Age 23.8 | 6'6" | 190

Duarte has been one of the best players in college basketball this year and had a strong NCAA Tournament, averaging 22 ppg, 6.5 apg, 4 rpg and 2 spg against Iowa and USC. Duarte’s scoring efficiency from everywhere -- at the rim, in the midrange and from 3 -- is very impressive. His defense has been equally good with a terrific steal rate. His age (he’ll be 24 on draft night) and his infrequent free throw attempts are the big red flags on his resume.

Draft range: 15-25


23 ZIAIRE WILLIAMS

WING, STANFORD, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Tools, Versatility
Age 19.6 | 6'8" | 185

It’s really challenging to peg Williams’ draft stock right now. A preseason top-10 pick, his struggles at Stanford are hard to ignore. His lack of strength, poor shooting and inconsistent play raise questions about how his game will translate in the NBA. He’s got a lot of tools as a player, but are any of them good enough to get him on the floor during an NBA game?

Draft range: 15-25


24 TRE MANN

G, FLORIDA, SOPHOMORE
Primary Attributes: Shooting, Size
Age 20.2 | 6'5" | 190

Mann finished the season strong for Florida, with two good performances against Virginia Tech and Oral Roberts in the NCAA Tournament. His outside jumper and the versatility to play both backcourt positions are appealing to scouts. He’s not an elite athlete and he’s a better scorer than passer, which causes some scouts to question whether he can really play the point at the next level.

Draft range: 20-30


25 JOHNNY JUZANG

W, UCLA, SOPHOMORE
Primary Attribute: Scoring, Shooting
Age 20.1 | 6'6" | 210

No one helped their draft stock more than Johnny Juzang in the NCAA Tournament. The sweet-shooting wing was a scoring machine for the Bruins in the tournament and saved his best two games for last -- a 28-point outing against Michigan and 29 points in a heartbreaking overtime loss against Gonzaga in the Final Four. Juzang has deep range on his 3-point shot and a very strong midrange game -- he shot 49 percent on 2-point jumpers, according to hoop-math.com. He needs to add strength, doesn’t have blow-by speed and is just an average defender, but his shooting and scoring ability alone should land him in the top 25.

Draft range: 20-35


26 ALPEREN ŞENGÜN

C, TURKEY
Primary Attributes: Scoring, Rebounding, Passing
Age 18.6 | 6'9" | 235

Şengün is one of the most divisive prospects in the draft. A few teams have him in the lottery. Some have him out of their top 30. What’s going on? Şengün is putting up huge numbers in Turkey at 18 years of age, which normally would bode well for his draft stock. But will it translate? He thrives in the paint and finishing at the rim, but lacks the elite size, length, shooting ability or explosiveness to play like a modern big man in the NBA.

Draft range: 20-35


27 MARCUS BAGLEY

F, ARIZONA STATE, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Scoring, Versatility, Athleticism
Age 19.5 | 6'8" | 215

The younger brother of the Kings’ Marvin Bagley III is a bouncy, emerging scorer who can stretch the defense, finish at the basket and defend multiple positions. He’s battled injuries this year that have limited opportunities for scouts to see him. He could rise with great workouts because he has the talent to succeed in the NBA.

Draft range: 20-35


28 MATTHEW MAYER

F, BAYLOR, JUNIOR
Primary Attributes: Shooting, Defensive versatility
Age 21.8 | 6'9" | 225

Mayer was outed as a prospect by John Hollinger earlier this year, and, true to John’s view, he's been an intriguing, if inconsistent scoring and defensive option off the bench for Baylor. He wasn’t much of a factor in the NCAA Championship game, but he put together strong performances against Houston and Wisconsin. His size, shooting ability, motor and quick feet make him an interesting prospect at the next level despite his never starting a game in his college career.

Draft range: 20-35


29 USMAN GARUBA

C, SPAIN
Primary Attributes: Rebounding, Defense
Age 19.1 | 6'8" | 220

Garuba will be drafted because of what teams think he might be someday, not on what he is right now: an undersized big man who has length, athleticism and a motor but no real offensive game to speak of. The bet is that Real Madrid continues to develop him after he’s drafted. Down the road he projects as a shot-blocking rim runner.

Draft range: 20-35


30 DAY'RON SHARPE

C, NORTH CAROLINA, FRESHMAN
Primary Attributes: Motor, Size
Age 19.4 | 6'11" | 265

Sharpe’s performance against Wisconsin in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament was lackluster: He had four points, three rebounds and three turnovers. He’s a work in progress, but an intriguing one. His combination of size and motor is special. He’s everywhere on both ends of the court. His other skills are still catching up, but playing hard is a skill, and Sharpe’s tenacity makes him a prospect.

Draft range: 25-40


Coming next week … Big Board 4.0, Part 2 - Picks 31-60