2021 NBA Mock Draft
July 24th, 2021
By Alan Lu
We held our NBA mock draft on July 24th, at noon via the Google Meet app. We decided to allow trades to be made, as long as they followed cap rules. The format of this was based on the old Usenet drafts, where different people made picks for different teams.
Here we had five people making picks and trades for six teams each.
You’ll notice of the draft order here won’t entirely match up, and that is because we made mock draft trades, which I’ll explain later in this article.
Here is how our draft played out.
NBA Scouting Live’s 2021 NBA Mock Draft
|Round 1||Round 2|
|1. Detroit Pistons||Cade Cunningham, G-F, Oklahoma State||31. Milwaukee Bucks||Tre Mann, G, Florida|
|2. Houston Rockets||Evan Mobley, F-C, USC||32. New York Knicks||Quentin Grimes, G-F, Houston|
|3. Cleveland Cavaliers||Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga||33. Orlando Magic||Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State|
|4. Oklahoma City Thunder||Jalen Green, G, G-League Ignite||34. Utah Jazz||Isaiah Todd, F-C, G-League Ignite|
|5. Orlando Magic||Jonathan Kuminga, F, G-League Ignite||35. New Orleans Pelicans||Joe Wieskamp, G-F, Iowa|
|6. Toronto Raptors||Jalen Johnson, F, Duke||36. Toronto Raptors||Vrenz Bleijenbergh, G-F, Belgium|
|7. Golden State Warriors||Scottie Barnes, G-F, Florida State||37. Detroit Pistons||Joel Ayayi, G, Gonzaga|
|8. Orlando Magic||James Bouknight, G, UConn||38. Chicago Bulls||Ziaire Williams, G-F, Stanford|
|9. Sacramento Kings||Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor||39. Sacramento Kings||Filip Petrusev, C, Serbia|
|10. New Orleans Pelicans||Corey Kispert, G-F, Gonzaga||40. New Orleans Pelicans||Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F-C, Villanova|
|11. Charlotte Hornets||Usman Garuba, F-C, Spain||41. San Antonio Spurs||Sam Hauser, F, Virginia|
|12. San Antonio Spurs||Alperen Sengun, F-C, Turkey||42. Detroit Pistons||Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma|
|13. Indiana Pacers||Franz Wagner, F, Michigan||43. New Orleans Pelicans||Miles McBride, G, West Virginia|
|14. Golden State Warriors||Moses Moody, G-F, Arkansas||44. Brooklyn Nets||Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan|
|15. Washington Wizards||Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee||45. Boston Celtics||Jason Preston, G, Ohio|
|16. Oklahoma City Thunder||Isaiah Jackson, F-C, Kentucky||46. Utah Jazz||David Johnson, G, Louisville|
|17. Memphis Grizzlies||Chris Duarte, G-F, Oregon||47. Toronto Raptors||Daishen Nix, G, G-League Ignite|
|18. Oklahoma City Thunder||Josh Giddey, G, Australia||48. Atlanta Hawks||Greg Brown, F, Texas|
|19. New York Knicks||Jared Butler, G, Baylor||49. Brooklyn Nets||Luka Garza, C, Iowa|
|20. Atlanta Hawks||Trey Murphy, F, Virginia||50. Sacramento Kings||John Petty, G-F, Alabama|
|21. New York Knicks||Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee||51. Memphis Grizzlies||D.J. Steward, G, Duke|
|22. Los Angeles Lakers||B.J. Boston, G-F, Kentucky||52. Detroit Pistons||Aaron Henry, G-F, Michigan State|
|23. Houston Rockets||J.T. Thor, F-C, Auburn||53. Oklahoma City Thunder||Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky|
|24. Houston Rockets||Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn||54. Indiana Pacers||Matthew Hurt, F-C, Duke|
|25. Los Angeles Clippers||Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU||55. Utah Jazz||Scottie Lewis, G-F, Florida|
|26. Denver Nuggets||Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois||56. Charlotte Hornets||Dave Duke, G, Providence|
|27. Brooklyn Nets||Cam Thomas, G, LSU||57. Charlotte Hornets||Sandro Mamukelashvili, C, Seton Hall|
|28. Sacramento Kings||Kai Jones, F-C, Texas||58. New York Knicks||RaiQuan Gray, F-C, Florida State|
|29. Phoenix Suns||Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine||59. Brooklyn Nets||Marcus Garrett, G-F, Kansas|
|30. Toronto Raptors||Neemias Queta, C, Utah State||60. Indiana Pacers||Chris Smith, F, UCLA|
The 1st Round of NBA Scouting Live’s 2021 NBA Mock Draft (with trades)
Here is a detailed write-up of how our first round mock draft unfolded.
Anything with an asterisk (*) means the original pick was traded to a different NBA team in our mock draft. For more information on our mock draft trades, you can read it in our cogent rationale section below.
1. Detroit Pistons (Peter Wong) – Cade Cunningham, G-F, Oklahoma State
The Detroit Pistons were expected to be a bad team this year, and they were. They did get some solid contributions from star forward Jerami Grant, as well as from their rookies Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. They are slowly building their team to be a defensive-minded squad. Killian Hayes really struggled as he was thrust too soon into a starting point guard role this past year, and the Pistons could use a high-end playmaker that can lead their squad next season.
Cade Cunningham is a tremendously skilled, all-around playmaker that has the ability to play all five positions on the court. He does just about everything well on the court, and Cunningham is most likely the best player in this draft.
2. Houston Rockets (Kyle Henderson) – Evan Mobley, F-C, USC
When the Houston Rockets traded James Harden away, they were poised for a rebuilding season, as they immediately became the worst team in the league. They have some solid players to work with, as they have a skilled, young big man in Christian Wood, and they’ll look to find another high-end prospect to pair him with in the meantime.
Evan Mobley is a very athletic, skilled big man that is one of the best players in this draft. He is a versatile scorer that can certainly finish plays above the rim, and he also is a good playmaker, especially for his size. He also is a very good shot blocker and defender. Mobley will need to be a more consistent outside shooter and add more strength, but he has the skills and the work ethic to be a franchise player in the NBA.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (Alan Lu) – Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga
The Cleveland Cavaliers just did not fare very well this past season. They have a weird mix of talented, young players and aging veterans, but they have not seemed to go far as a team right now. They do have a solid group of young players in Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen, and Darius Garland, and the jury is out on whether or not if Isaac Okoro can be another key piece to add to their core. Kevin Love has repeatedly voiced his displeasure of being a veteran on a losing team though. The Cavaliers could be wise to either find a replacement for him, or to retool by other means by getting another quality prospect to try to improve their culture.
Jalen Suggs is a very athletic, skilled guard that can really score and defend on the court. He is an intense player that will hustle to make the winning plays. Suggs has very few weaknesses in his game, and he is an explosive athlete that plays well on both sides of the ball. While he could still look to improve his outside shot, Suggs is an above average shooter, nonetheless. When it’s all said and done, Suggs will likely end up being a very good player in the NBA.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder* (Richard Lu) – Jalen Green, G, G-League Ignite (USA – Fresno, CA)
In our mock draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder packaged their sixth overall pick and their own second round picks to move up two spots to get the fourth overall pick here.
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced their intentions for a rebuild when they let their head coach, Billy Donovan go to Chicago, and when they traded away superstar point guard Chris Paul to Phoenix. They still have some solid players on their team, as they have star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and they have a shutdown defender in Luguentz Dort. Some consider Aleksej Pokusevski to be another key player to their core, as he is a tall 7-0 point forward that has intriguing playmaking and defensive skills, but has struggled to make shots in the NBA. Regardless, the Thunder could look to draft players that will complement Gilgeous-Alexander and Dort’s skill sets.
Jalen Green is a speedy, incredibly athletic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball. Green has a blindingly, fast first step as he can get to the rim at will, and he is also a good shooter. He also has the playmaking skills to be able to run the point. He’ll need to be a more disciplined defender, but Green’s tremendous athleticism, scoring ability, and upside could make him a future All-Star in the NBA.
5. Orlando Magic (Kyle Henderson) – Jonathan Kuminga, F, G-League Ignite (D.R. Congo)
Orlando Magic had a disappointing season this year, and they basically chose to blow up their team by trading away their longtime fan favorite and star center, Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls. They have a group of intriguing players in Jonathan Isaac, Wendell Carter Jr., Cole Anthony, and Markelle Fultz, but none that can be considered key members of their core yet. Right now, the Magic could go in any direction, and they’ll either look to take a small forward that fits within those players, or they could opt to take who they feel is the best player available in this draft.
Jonathan Kuminga is a very athletic, combo forward that has solid scoring skills and superstar potential. He thrives as a scorer in the post, off the dribble, as well as in transition. He is a fairly good shot blocker for his size, and he can be a solid defender when he wants to. Early in the G-League season, he was dominant, but he faltered a bit once his opponents caught on and adjusted to him. He’ll need to improve his outside shot and his effort on the defensive end, but Kuminga is a very talented player who possesses a great deal of upside as a prospect for the NBA.
6. Toronto Raptors* (Kim Dao) – Jalen Johnson, F, Duke
In our mock draft, Toronto moved down two spots after having made a three-team trade with Oklahoma City and Utah. The Toronto Raptors may be in a precarious spot right now. Whether or not if they continue their playoff push or go for a rebuild may hinge on if they will be able to re-sign Kyle Lowry or not. They are coming off of a vastly disappointing season after having a surprisingly very good year in 2020. They could look to take a point guard if they expect to lose Lowry in free agency, or they could opt to take a player that fits Lowry, VanVleet, and Siakam’s skills if they expect to keep him.
Jalen Johnson is a very athletic combo forward that may have a great deal of upside as a prospect for the NBA. Johnson is a versatile player that has solid playmaking and defensive skills, and he’s shown the promise of a jump shot at the collegiate level. On the downside, he wasn’t very consistent as a player this year, and he left Duke midway through the season, which could hamper his draft stock a little bit.
7. Golden State Warriors (Richard Lu) – Scottie Barnes, G-F, Florida State
The Golden State Warriors turned in a much better season compared to last year. They still didn’t make the playoffs, but they had tremendous individual seasons from Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. They’ll get a healthy Klay Thompson back next year (hopefully), but their crew is aging, and they didn’t seem to have enough offense or a deep enough bench in the play-in tournament. Some reinforcements would be welcome, as they could look to draft players that could not only shoot and score, but also fit in Steve Kerr’s motion-oriented, ball movement system.
Scottie Barnes is a smart, skilled point forward that possesses strong playmaking and defensive skills. Barnes is a versatile playmaker that can play all five positions. He is a solid bet to thrive as a role player in the NBA, and he has a knack for making good plays on both ends of the court, but he will need to improve his shooting and scoring skills in order to raise his ceiling in the meantime.
8. Orlando Magic (Kyle Henderson) – James Bouknight, G, Connecticut
The Orlando Magic are a rebuilding team that would be well served in taking the best players available, as they need high-end talent to help raise the ceiling and profile of their team to increase their hopes of a successful future down the road.
James Bouknight is an agile, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball. Bouknight is a very good mid-range shooter that can rack up points in a hurry. He also is a solid rebounder and defender. He is an athletic scorer that plays a smooth, old school style of game, but he will need to be a more consistent three-point shooter and playmaker on offense.
9. Sacramento Kings (Richard Lu) – Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor
The Sacramento Kings have a glut of talented guards in De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Buddy Hield, and they have talented veterans in the versatile forward Harrison Barnes, and impending free agent center, Richaun Holmes. However, the Kings just have not racked up many wins, and it’s seemed like forever since they’ve last been to the playoffs. They’ll need talented frontcourt players to play off of Fox, Haliburton, and Hield, and they could look to get players that can shoot and defend well on the court. (In our mock draft, Fox was traded away to Philly along with other picks and players to acquire Ben Simmons, along with other picks and players.*)
Davion Mitchell is an athletic, skilled playmaker that does just about everything well on the court. He is a fleet-footed guard that can quickly get to the rim, and he really improved his outside shot this year. He also is a tenacious defender that guards his man well. His Achilles heel is his free throw shooting, which could be problematic, as he may not have a repeatable stroke. His jump shot may be a bit of a question mark about if he can be a solid outside shooter at the NBA level, but Mitchell is a solid prospect that should be able to excel as a role player in the association.
10. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Corey Kispert, G-F, Gonzaga
Zion Williamson turned in a very good, individual season in his second year with the New Orleans Pelicans, but their team floundered as a whole and disappointed, as they missed both the play-in tournament and the playoffs in their lone season with Stan Van Gundy as their head coach. The Pelicans really struggled defensively, but their team also doesn’t fit well together, as they have a lot of non-shooters around Zion (Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe). In the meantime, they could look to draft a point guard that could be a better fit with Zion, or they could opt to draft shooters and/or 3 and D players that would also complement him well.
Corey Kispert is a smart, skilled sharpshooter that can shoot the lights out of the basketball. Kispert has a knack for making solid, team plays on the court. He’ll need to improve his rebounding and defense, but Kispert is a gifted shooter that may be underrated as a playmaker and athlete on the court.
11. Charlotte Hornets (Kyle Henderson) – Usman Garuba, F-C, Real Madrid (Spain)
The Charlotte Hornets turned heads by having a surprisingly decent season under head coach James Borrego. They managed to get a lot from star forward Gordon Hayward and rookie point guard LaMelo Ball when healthy, and they were able to exceed expectations to get to the play-in tournament. The Hornets will need a center to be able to play off of Ball, Rozier, Hayward, and P.J. Washington, and they could also look to draft skilled players that can shoot and defend well on the floor.
Usman Garuba is an athletic, high-motor big man that projects to be a solid defender in the NBA. He thrives at scoring on off-ball motion plays, and he is also a solid rebounder and defender. He also is an underrated passer for his size. On the other hand, he will need to improve his jump shot and scoring skills. There are some concerns about his offensive skills, and he will need to be able to ensure teams that he can make a smooth adjustment to play the NBA game. Still, Garuba has been productive at the highest levels of international basketball, and he has terrific intangibles, as that could allow him to thrive as a role player in the NBA.
12. San Antonio Spurs (Richard Lu) – Alperen Sengun, F-C, Besiktas (Turkey)
The San Antonio Spurs surpassed expectations, as they were able to get their team to the play-in tournament. They may need to replace DeMar DeRozan, their star forward who will be a free agent, but they still have a group of solid young players in Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White. They may need to acquire more frontcourt players in the meantime, especially if they lose DeRozan in free agency.
Alperen Sengun is a very productive, skilled big man that has really excelled in international basketball this year. He is a strong scorer and rebounder in the paint, and he also is a solid passer and shot blocker. There are concerns about his mobility and defense, and if his game will adjust as well to the NBA, but that he’ll only be 19 years old on draft day, and that he averaged roughly 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks per game in Turkey’s top league, the Turkish BSL makes him a definite lottery candidate for this draft, and he could be a solid role player in the NBA.
13. Indiana Pacers (Alan Lu) – Franz Wagner, F, Michigan
The Indiana Pacers had a disappointing season in their lone season under former head coach, Nate Bjorkgren. It started off fairly well, and then slowly became like watching a train wreck. Bjorkgren didn’t seem to manage his team very well, and he and his players were rumored to have clashed with each other. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner turned in solid seasons individually, but they have not played well together when they are on the court. They also have a solid group of players in Caris LeVert, T.J. Warren, and Malcolm Brogdon, but Warren played just 4 games before missing the rest of the season due to injury. The Pacers may need to consider trading either Sabonis or Turner to be a more versatile offensive team, and they’ll likely need to draft a forward that can keep Warren fresh and healthy in games. (In our mock draft, the Indiana Pacers traded away Myles Turner for Terry Rozier.*)
Franz Wagner is an agile, skilled player that can play multiple positions on the court. He thrives at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he is also a good playmaker that can comfortably run the point if necessary. He also is a versatile player that can do a little bit of everything. Nothing may really pop out of his game at first glance, but upon repeated viewings, Wagner’s versatility and high skill level makes him a solid candidate to go in the back half of the lottery this year.
14. Golden State Warriors (Richard Lu) – Moses Moody, G-F, Arkansas
The Golden State Warriors have a very talented, but aging core, and they could draft younger, talented players that could help Curry, Thompson, and Green stay replenished throughout the season.
Moses Moody is a skilled sharpshooter that is a very good marksman from all over the floor. Moody can shoot and score the basketball, and he is also a solid rebounder. He’ll need to improve his defense, but his ability to knock down shots could allow him to thrive as a role player in the NBA.
15. Washington Wizards (Kyle Henderson) – Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee
The Washington Wizards have a very strong and talented backcourt in Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, but their forwards didn’t seem to play as well as hoped, and Thomas Bryant ended up getting hurt after playing 10 games, as he missed the rest of the season due to a knee injury. The Wizards could look to use a frontcourt player that could play well off of Beal and Westbrook, and they could be well served to draft a frontcourt player that can shoot and defend well in games. They also could look to take the best available player here, especially if someone very good slips to them at 15.
Keon Johnson is a tremendously athletic guard that has a great deal of upside as a prospect for the NBA. Johnson is a terrific athlete that can jump out of the gym, and he also is a solid defender that can get steals and blocks in games. He’ll really need to improve his jump shot and playmaking skills, but his ability to score and defend combined with his elite athletic gifts makes him a solid candidate to go in the lottery on draft day.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder (Richard Lu) – Isaiah Jackson, F-C, Kentucky
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a rebuilding team, and they could look to draft players that would play well off of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort. They also could look to select the best player available here, especially if a very talented player slips to this spot.
Isaiah Jackson is a very athletic big man that excels as a shot blocker and interior defender in games. He is a gifted athlete that can make high impact plays on both ends of the court, and he is also an underrated passer for his size. On the other hand, he will need to improve his jump shot, scoring skills, and add more muscle to his frame. He may be fairly raw offensively, but he is an intriguing prospect that may possess considerable upside, as he could project to be a solid rim protector in the NBA.
17. Memphis Grizzlies (Peter Wong) – Chris Duarte, G-F, Oregon
The Memphis Grizzlies quietly had a very good season with star point guard Ja Morant having dominated in the play-in tournament games. The Grizzlies are a talented, young team, and they could look to select more wing players and forwards that would play well off of Ja Morant.
Chris Duarte is a skilled, versatile swingman that has very good offensive skills. He is a good shooter and scorer that can do so in a variety of ways, and he is also a solid playmaker. He also is quite adept at collecting steals in games. He played on a zone-heavy defensive team, so he’ll need to adjust to play in a man-to-man defensive scheme at the next level, but Duarte could be one of the most polished rookies in the NBA next year.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (Richard Lu) – Josh Giddey, G, Adelaide (Australia)
The Thunder are a rebuilding team, and they could look to draft a frontcourt player that would play well off of their two best players. They also could look to select the best player available here, especially if a very talented player slips to this spot.
Josh Giddey is an agile, versatile playmaker that can play multiple positions on the court. Giddey is a smart, skilled point forward that possesses very good playmaking and rebounding skills, and he also can score the ball in a variety of ways. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and defense. That he’s only 18 and excelled in Australia’s top league, the NBL is impressive in itself, and he is a lottery candidate that could end up thriving in the NBA.
19. New York Knicks (Alan Lu) – Jared Butler, G, Baylor
The New York Knicks had a surprisingly successful season under head coach Tom Thibodeau, and he along with All-Star forward Julius Randle were able to take their team to the playoffs. Nerlens Noel is an impending free agent and he may have priced himself out of range for the Knicks. On the other hand, Elfrid Payton was a below average starting point guard, and their best point guard was Derrick Rose, a finalist for the 6th Man of the Year award, but he’s already in his early 30s. The Knicks could look to draft a big man to replace Noel, a point guard, or they could look to draft athletic mid-sized players that could adjust better to playing a switching defensive scheme.
Jared Butler is a smart, skilled combo guard that has solid all-around skills. Butler is a good shooter that can put the ball in the hoop, and he has really improved his playmaking skills at the point. He also is a solid defender that can lock down his man. He’s an above average athlete, but not an elite one, but his high basketball IQ, skill set, and terrific intangibles should allow him to thrive as a role player in the NBA.
20. Atlanta Hawks (Richard Lu) – Trey Murphy, F, Virginia
The Atlanta Hawks had a very successful season, and they were able to get to the Eastern Conference Finals with superstar point guard Trae Young and with head coach Nate McMillan having replaced their former head coach midway through the season. The Hawks had a solid mixture of young players and experienced veterans that mixed well together, and they had a talented team top to bottom. They already have a good group of players, but they could always look to add more shooters to play off of Trae Young, or perhaps a point guard that can be groomed behind Lou Williams.
Trey Murphy is an athletic, skilled sharpshooter that can really shoot the basketball. Murphy is a tall floor spacer that can knock down threes, and he is a solid offensive player. On the other hand, he played on a very slow paced, basketball team, and he didn’t stand out nearly as much in the other areas of the game. His tremendous jump shot though should enable him to thrive as a role player in the NBA.
21. New York Knicks (Alan Lu) – Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee
The Knicks had a very successful season this year, despite also having an early, first-round exit in the 2021 NBA playoffs. They’ll need to keep adding talent. Whichever need they may have filled at 19, they could look to fill other needs at 21, or they could also look to take the best player available that would fit in well with their defensive-minded culture.
Jaden Springer is an athletic combo guard that has fairly solid offensive skills. Springer excels at attacking the rim to score the basketball, and he also is a solid playmaker. He’ll need to be a more consistent player in games, but his ability to put the ball in the hoop could enable him to thrive in the NBA.
22. Los Angeles Lakers (Kim Dao) – B.J. Boston, G-F, Kentucky
The Los Angeles Lakers had a disappointing season this year after having won the NBA title last year. This year though, they ended up getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers have a fairly old core. LeBron is entering his late 30s, and though Anthony Davis is still just 28 years old, he’s racked up injuries, so it’s as if he’s a significantly older player. The Lakers will need players that can play well off of LeBron and AD, but they also need players that can give them a break to help them replenish, so their best move here may very well be to either take the best player available, or to take a versatile forward that can play multiple positions.
B.J. Boston is an athletic, skilled player that came in with lofty expectations prior to the start of the season. He is a gifted athlete that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also can run the point. He also has fairly solid rebounding and defensive skills. On the downside, Boston really struggled to make shots this year, and he will need to improve his outside shot. He’s not a great shooter at this stage and he possesses spotty shot selection, but Boston’s athleticism, versatility, and upside could make him an intriguing option to consider in the late first round in this draft.
23. Houston Rockets (Kyle Henderson) – J.T. Thor, F-C, Auburn
The Houston Rockets will need to keep drafting high-end talent to be able to raise the ceiling and profile in order to increase their odds of having a bright future. They also could look to take the best player available that could help them both in the short term and in the long run.
J.T. Thor is very athletic big man that can make plays on both ends of the floor. Thor has shown a promising jump shot, and he can also score and make plays off the dribble. He also is a solid shot blocker that has good defensive potential. He wasn’t really a featured player in college and he’ll need to polish up his game, but his versatility and upside could make him an intriguing pick in the late first round of this draft.
24. Houston Rockets (Kyle Henderson) – Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn
The Houston Rockets will need to take quality players that could move them forwards to a winning culture, and they will need to acquire players that can help them do so.
Sharife Cooper is a speedy, fleet-footed playmaker that can really attack the rim to get points and assists on offense. He has a very good first step that allows him to consistently get into the paint, and he is a skilled offensive player that can rack up assists. On the other hand, he is undersized at the point, and he’ll need to improve his outside shot and defense. He’ll need to make adjustments to be a better fit to the modern NBA game, but his sheer speed and ability to create plays on offense could make him an interesting selection late in the first round in the draft.
25. Los Angeles Clippers (Richard Lu) – Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, G, VCU
The Los Angeles Clippers turned in a solid season this year, and they were able to get pretty far in the postseason, even with Kawhi Leonard out due to being injured. They ended up losing in the Western Conference Finals to a healthy Phoenix Suns team, but the Clippers played valiantly, as they received strong performances from Paul George, and other role players such as Terance Mann and Reggie Jackson stepped up in the meantime. It’s uncertain if they’ll be able to re-sign Jackson, and they’ll likely need more offensive firepower to combat against the top teams in the West.
Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland is an agile, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball. He is a fleet-footed scorer that can make shots from anywhere on the court, and he also has decent playmaking and defensive skills. He’s rail thin and there are concerns about if he can guard stronger opponents or if he can reliably run the point for extended stretches, but Hyland’s strong shooting and scoring skills combined with having solid athletic gifts would make him a solid pick in the late first round of this draft.
26. Denver Nuggets (Peter Wong) – Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois
The Denver Nuggets played well in the regular season, as superstar center Nikola Jokic took home the MVP honors. On the other hand, star point guard Jamal Murray got hurt late in the regular season and he ended up missing the entire playoffs. The Nuggets were able to win a round but they couldn’t keep up, as they got swept in the second round by the Phoenix Suns. The Nuggets were able to get solid seasons from Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon, but they’ll likely need skilled and healthy guards to be able to keep up in the very tough Western Conference.
Ayo Dosunmu is an athletic, skilled combo guard that had a sterling junior season at Illinois. Dosunmu is a steady, skilled offensive player that can score in a variety of ways, and he also showed off a solid jump shot this year. His size allows him to shoot over smaller guards, and he also can play multiple positions. Unfortunately, he didn’t play too well in the NCAA Tournament, and his occasional penchant for turnovers could linger in the minds of NBA decision makers. Still, Dosunmu’s athleticism and versatility could make him a solid option to take late in the first round of this draft.
27. Brooklyn Nets (Kyle Henderson) – Cam Thomas, G, LSU
The Brooklyn Nets had to navigate through a season of injuries, and they looked to be a strong team when they were fully healthy. Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving all turned in very good seasons when healthy, but Harden and Irving ended up getting hurt in the playoffs, with Irving unable to play midway through the second round this year. The Nets will also try to re-sign Bruce Brown, Blake Griffin, and Jeff Green to retain their depth. Most likely, the Nets will need to draft a talented young player that can keep their star players fresh.
Cam Thomas is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can really score the basketball. Thomas is a good mid-range shooter, and he also is a fairly solid defender. On the downside, he’ll need to improve his three-point shot, and he may also need to show teams that he can reliably run the point and defend taller players. Still, his ability to put the ball in the hoop could make him a solid pick in the late first round, as his scoring skills could especially come in handy in the NBA.
28. Sacramento Kings* (Richard Lu) – Kai Jones, F-C, Texas
In our mock draft, the Sacramento Kings dealt De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Delon Wright, a 2025 2nd round pick from POR and a 2026 2nd Round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, the rights to this pick (the 28th overall pick), and the 50th overall pick.* The Kings will need skilled shooters and solid team-oriented players that will fit around the talents of Ben Simmons and Tyrese Haliburton.
Kai Jones is a very athletic big man that has versatile scoring skills. He has a solid jump shot that enables him to stretch the defenses, and he also can make high-motor plays on both ends of the floor. Jones will need to be a more consistent player in games, but his ability to shoot and defend could make him a likely mid first round pick this year.
29. Phoenix Suns (Kyle Henderson) – Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine
The Phoenix Suns had a very good postseason run this past year, as they were able to make it to the 2021 NBA Finals with superstar guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker, and with head coach Monty Williams. DeAndre Ayton has leveled up as a rising star big man in this league, and their role players also stepped up to play well consistently in the playoffs. There are very few holes on this Suns team, but they could still look to add more skilled players that can play off of Paul, Booker, and Ayton. They also could draft a backup center to give Ayton rest, and they also could draft a backup point guard because Paul is aging, and it’s uncertain if they’ll be able to re-sign Cameron Payne, who played very well this year.
Kessler Edwards is an athletic forward that shoots the ball well, and he is also a solid defender. He’s an underrated prospect that didn’t get nearly as much draft buzz as some of the higher profile players out West, but Edwards is a talented player that could be a solid pick in the late first to the second round range in this draft.
30. Toronto Raptors* (Kim Dao) – Neemias Queta, C, Utah State
The Toronto Raptors were able to acquire this pick in our mock draft after having made a three-team trade with Oklahoma City and Utah.* The Raptors could go in any direction, but what they do in the offseason may hinge on if they can or will re-sign Kyle Lowry or not, and who they may select here may depend on whom they drafted with their first selection of the night.
Neemias Queta is a strong, athletic center that could project to be a solid rim protector in the NBA. He excels at scoring in the paint, and he is also a very good rebounder and shot blocker. He’ll need to expand his skill level offensively and establish a reliable outside shot to keep defenders honest. Still, Queta is a productive big man whose polish and skill set could enable him to thrive as a role player in the NBA.
The 2nd Round portion of NBA Scouting Live’s 2021 NBA Mock Draft
31. Milwaukee Bucks (Peter Wong) – Tre Mann, G, Florida
32. New York Knicks (Alan Lu) – Quentin Grimes, G-F, Houston
33. Orlando Magic (Kyle Henderson) – Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State
34. Utah Jazz* (Alan Lu) – Isaiah Todd, F-C, G-League Ignite (USA – Raleigh, NC)
35. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Joe Wieskamp, G-F, Iowa
36. Toronto Raptors* (Kim Dao) – Vrenz Bleijenbergh, G-F, Antwerp (Belgium)
37. Detroit Pistons (Peter Wong) – Joel Ayayi, G, Gonzaga
38. Chicago Bulls (Peter Wong) – Ziaire Williams, G-F, Stanford
39. Sacramento Kings (Richard Lu) – Filip Petrusev, C, Mega Bemax (Serbia)
40. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F-C, Villanova
41. San Antonio Spurs (Richard Lu) – Sam Hauser, F, Virginia
42. Detroit Pistons (Peter Wong) – Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma
43. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Miles McBride, G, West Virginia
44. Brooklyn Nets (Kyle Henderson) – Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan
45. Boston Celtics (Peter Wong) – Jason Preston, G, Ohio
46. Utah Jazz* (Alan Lu) – David Johnson, G, Louisville
47. Toronto Raptors (Kim Dao) – Daishen Nix, G, G-League Ignite (USA – Anchorage, AK)
48. Atlanta Hawks (Richard Lu) – Greg Brown, F, Texas
49. Brooklyn Nets (Kyle Henderson) – Luka Garza, C, Iowa
50. Sacramento Kings* (Richard Lu) – John Petty, G-F, Alabama
51. Memphis Grizzlies (Peter Wong) – D.J. Steward, G, Duke
52. Detroit Pistons (Peter Wong) – Aaron Henry, G-F, Michigan State
53. Oklahoma City Thunder* (Richard Lu) – Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky
54. Indiana Pacers (Alan Lu) – Matthew Hurt, F-C, Duke
55. Utah Jazz* (Alan Lu) – Scottie Lewis, G-F, Florida
56. Charlotte Hornets (Kyle Henderson) – Dave Duke, G, Providence
57. Charlotte Hornets (Kyle Henderson) – Sandro Mamukelashvili, C, Seton Hall
58. New York Knicks (Alan Lu) – RaiQuan Gray, F-C, Florida State
59. Brooklyn Nets (Kyle Henderson) – Marcus Garrett, G-F, Kansas
60. Indiana Pacers (Alan Lu) – Chris Smith, F, UCLA
Our NBA Mock Draft Trades:
All of the trades that we made were before the start of our mock draft.
1. The first one is a three-team trade between the Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, and the Utah Jazz. This is a two-part trade.
a) The Oklahoma City Thunder trade the 6th overall pick (Jalen Johnson), the 34th overall pick (Isaiah Todd), the 36th overall pick (Vrenz Bleijenbergh), and the 55th overall pick (Scottie Lewis) to the Toronto Raptors for the 4th overall pick (Jalen Green).
b) The Toronto Raptors trade the 34th overall pick via OKC (Isaiah Todd), the 46th overall pick (David Johnson), and the 55th overall pick via OKC (Scottie Lewis) to the Utah Jazz for the 30th overall pick (Neemias Queta).
3. The New Orleans Pelicans trade Eric Bledsoe, Nickeil Alexander Walker, the 53rd overall pick (Charles Bassey), and a top 3-protected 2024 1st Round pick via LAL to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kemba Walker and Isaiah Roby.
4. The Philadelphia 76ers trade Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, the 28th overall pick (Kai Jones), and the 50th overall pick (John Petty) to the Sacramento Kings for De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Delon Wright, a 2025 2nd Round pick via POR, and a 2026 2nd Round pick
The Cogent Trade Rationale Section for Each of These Trades:
1. The first one is a three-team trade between the Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, and the Utah Jazz. This is a two-part trade.
a) The Oklahoma City Thunder trade (the 6th overall pick), (the 34th overall pick), (the 36th overall pick), (the 55th overall pick) to the Toronto Raptors for (the 4th overall pick).
b) The Toronto Raptors trade (the 34th overall pick via OKC), (the 46th overall pick), and (the 55th overall pick via OKC) to the Utah Jazz for (the 30th overall pick).
The Oklahoma City Thunder moved up to get one of the four elite players available in the 2021 NBA Draft. Also, because Toronto is in a state of transition, they acquired more picks to add more talent to the roster.
Now that the Toronto Raptors were able to accumulate extra second round picks, they cashed them in for a first round pick in a trade with the Utah Jazz. Because the Utah Jazz are a team that is over the cap, they can use the second round picks to build out their depth.
2. The Indiana Pacers trade Myles Turner to the Charlotte Hornets for Terry Rozier. No picks were involved.
The Indiana Pacers had too many big men, and they haven’t been successful in pairing Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner together, so they decided to split them up by dealing Turner to Charlotte. Charlotte was in need of a big men and they have too many guards, and so they traded Terry Rozier to Indiana.
3. The New Orleans Pelicans trade Eric Bledsoe, Nickeil Alexander Walker, (the 53rd overall pick), and a top 3-protected 2024 1st Round pick via LAL to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kemba Walker and Isaiah Roby.
The New Orleans Pelicans were looking to make a significant upgrade at the point guard position to put better pieces around Zion Williamson. They struggled to find a fit with Eric Bledsoe, so they dealt him and a few other assets to acquire star guard, Kemba Walker, whom they view as a major upgrade.
The Oklahoma City Thunder take on the contract of Eric Bledsoe and accumulate more assets by adding a future first round pick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and a second round pick.
4. The Philadelphia 76ers trade Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, (the 28th overall pick), and (the 50th overall pick) to the Sacramento Kings for De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Delon Wright, a 2025 2nd Round pick via POR, and a 2026 2nd Round pick
The Philadelphia 76ers wanted to find pieces that better fit around Joel Embiid. They’ve struggled with Simmons and Embiid, and they decided that the best solution was to move on and trade Simmons. They also felt Tobias Harris’ contract was too large and was limiting their flexibility, but they added him into the deal to get better fits and to increase their cap flexibilities. In return, they were able to get star point guard De’Aaron Fox, as well as Harrison Barnes and Delon Wright.
The Sacramento Kings did this deal to add a centerpiece and a significant talent upgrade to build their team in a highly competitive, Western Conference. It also clears a guard logjam as well, because Simmons’ talents can fit in well with Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. Taking on the contract of Tobias Harris allowed them to take on a couple of draft assets to build a team around Simmons and Haliburton.
Other Trade Talks Between Us:
There was one intriguing offer that was almost made between the Denver Nuggets (Peter Wong) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (Alan Lu) in our mock draft.
Cleveland considered Denver’s offer to be tempting. The Nuggets had offered Michael Porter Jr., Bol Bol, and the 26th overall pick for the 3rd overall pick and Darius Garland. Ultimately though, the Cavaliers liked the idea of having the 3rd overall pick better, as it’s more cost controlled compared to Porter, who may be due for an extension soon, and the Cavaliers wanted to have the option to select either Jalen Suggs or Evan Mobley, as they had both of them in the top-3 of their board. Therefore, the Cavaliers in this mock draft held onto their third overall pick.
The NBA Teams That Were Managed By Us:
Alan Lu (six teams):
Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz
Kim Dao (six teams):
Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers
Kyle Henderson (six teams):
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards
Peter Wong (six teams):
Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks
Richard Lu (six teams):
Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs
In all, we had fun making trades and picks for our NBA mock draft. I feel like the draft went smoothly, and everybody seemed to be happy with what they acquired in our mock draft. There were some surprises, and there were some talented players that ended up going undrafted in our mock draft. It was fun doing this, and hope you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for reading.