Mock Draft 1.1 (Picks 1-5)

Updated Mock Draft reflecting latest lottery odds and draft order

(Note to readers: This is an excerpt of Mock Draft 1.1 provided to free subscribers. To get picks 6-30 you need to be a paid subscriber. Click button below to read the full version.)

FULL MOCK DRAFT 1.1

We released our first Mock Draft of 2021 a few weeks ago based on projected records for every team in the league.

Now that the NBA regular season (and play-in tournament) is over and the league has conducted its draft tiebreakers, we finally know the exact odds for every team in the lottery and who is drafting picks 15 to 30 in the first round.

That means it’s time to update our Mock Draft. This isn’t a full update. Most of the picks are the same for now, which is why it’s Mock Draft 1.1 instead of Mock Draft 2.

Nevertheless, there are some significant changes for at least seven teams: the Magic, Thunder, Hornets, Grizzlies, Hawks, Nuggets and Clippers. And of course, every change in the draft order has ripple effects throughout the league.

As a reminder, the new NBA lottery percentages changed in 2019, so that the three teams with the worst records in the NBA will each have a 14% chance of getting the top pick, a 13.42% chance of getting the second pick and a 12.75% chance of landing the third pick. After that the scale starts to slide: The team with the fourth-worst record has a 12.5% chance of jumping up to get the top pick, the fifth-worst team has a 10.5% chance, and so on. 

Current projected lottery odds are noted in the Mock Draft as well as any draft-pick trades that could affect who is drafting where.

We will do a new mock draft -- Mock Draft 2.0 -- on June 22, the night of the draft lottery, when we know which teams have picks 1 to 14.


1. Houston Rockets

Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 14%
Odds of winning a Top 4 pick: 52.1%

Cade Cunningham

Oklahoma State
Freshman
Point Forward
Age: 19.6

The Rockets will be praying to the lottery gods that they stay in the top 4. If their pick falls to No. 5, they must send it to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Currently they have a 52.1% chance of staying in the top 4.

The Rockets need help almost everywhere, and adding Cade Cunningham should be a no-brainer. A versatile wing with a tremendous feel for the game, Cunningham sees the floor, can score from anywhere and appears to be a model teammate.

Cunningham’s combination of size and offensive abilities make him the unicorn of NBA wings. He should be an elite building block as the Rockets start a multi-year rebuild.


2. Detroit Pistons

Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 14%
Odds of winning a Top 4 pick: 52.1%

Jalen Green

G League Ignite
Shooting Guard
Age: 19.2

The Pistons began their rebuild in earnest in November by adding three first-round picks -- Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey -- but they are still looking for a young star to build around. 

Of the players left on the board, Green should be the most tantalizing for the Pistons. He has the potential to be the best scorer in this draft class, he has electric athleticism and the rest of Detroit’s young core should fit around him nicely. 

Green’s strong play in the G League has some scouts quietly wondering whether he might ultimately have the most star power of anyone in the draft. That’s exactly what the Pistons need right now as they begin building a new identity.


3. Orlando Magic

Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 14%
Odds of winning a Top 4 pick: 52.1%

Evan Mobley

USC
Freshman
Forward/Center
Age: 19.9

The Magic have a reputation for taking players with the longest wingspan, best athletic numbers and most ridiculous upside. Jonathan Kuminga is one of those players. But Mobley can check similar boxes and has a much higher floor than Kuminga.

He is an elite prospect who has what NBA teams are looking for in bigs today. He’s got a versatile offensive toolbox that allows him to score from anywhere on the floor, and he’s proven to be a good rebounder and an excellent rim protector. 

The biggest knock on Mobley is that he lacks strength. He can be pushed around in the paint a bit. Given his frame, he might end up keeping a Chris Bosh-esque body type throughout his career. 


4. OKC Thunder

Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 11.5%
Odds of winning a Top 4 pick: 45.1%

Jonathan Kuminga

G League Ignite
Forward
Age: 18.6

The Thunder are in the midst of a major rebuild with one cornerstone -- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander -- and a bunch of intriguing young players who everyone, including OKC, is still trying to assess.

Like the Magic, the Thunder absolutely love long, athletic, multi-positional players with upside. Kuminga, one of the youngest players in the draft, has as high a ceiling as anyone in the draft, and he’s tailor-made as the type of prospect Sam Presti has valued over the years.

His size, positional versatility and defensive potential should make him too intriguing to pass up here for the Thunder. His hot play in the G League cooled as the truncated season went on, but that hasn’t deterred scouts from seeing star potential.


5. Cleveland Cavaliers

Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 11.5%
Odds of winning a Top 4 pick: 45.1%

Jalen Suggs

Gonzaga
Freshman
Guard
Age: 19.9

The Cavs have already heavily invested in their backcourt by using lottery picks on Collin Sexton and Darius Garland in recent drafts. But I don’t think that will stop them from taking Suggs if he’s on the board. Sexton and Garland have both shown promise, but neither has the upside of Suggs.

Suggs is a leader who makes winning plays and has the ability to play both on and off the ball. His streaky 3-point shooting is a little worrying, but teams are willing to overlook it based on all the other ways he impacts winning on the court.


(Note to readers: This is an excerpt of Mock Draft 1.1 provided to free subscribers. To get picks 6-30 you need to be a paid subscriber. Click button below to read the full version.

Paid subscribers will also get access to full scouting reports on all of the top players in the draft as well as the ability to comment on articles and special discussion boards, Zoom calls and more interaction with me in the coming weeks.)

FULL MOCK DRAFT 1.1