Synopsis: Going into the 2021 NBA Draft, the worst kept secret is the selection of Cade Cunningham by the Detroit Pistons. In fact, the current odds of him going #1 overall are 1:80 (i.e. bet $80 to win $1). It appears that Jalen Green and Evan Mobley have become the likely #2 and #3 overall picks with Jalen Suggs and Scottie Barnes battling it out for the 4th spot. Based on the presumed talent of these players, media pundits have been salivating over this year’s draft class and making [premature] comparisons to some of the best classes ever. If anything, that makes me salivate over the potential for exposing potential Top 10 Busts before others. That analysis will have to wait until after the draft. In the meantime, I offer my 2021 T10B Mock NBA Draft to test my predictive abilities.   


2021 T10B MOCK NBA DRAFT

I readily admit that I lost track of the 2021 NBA draft due to the 2020/2021 Tokyo Olympics. My nephew fortunately reached out earlier today asking about this year’s post. Otherwise, I likely would have watched US gymnast Suni Lee’s taped-delayed gold medal performance instead of the draft. At least, I can’t complain there’s nothing to watch on TV tonight.

With less than an hour to spare before the start of ESPN’s coverage, I offer my 2021 T10B Mock NBA Draft.

2021 T10B MOCK NBA DRAFT – SUMMARY STATS
Mock Pick Player School (Team) Pos. Age Ht PPG RPG APG
#1 Cade Cunningham Oklahoma St G 19 6’8″ 22.8 7.0 3.9
#2 Jalen Green G League – Ignite SG 19 6’5″ 17.9 4.1 2.8
#3 Evan Mobley USC F/C 19 7’0″ 16.4 8.7 2.4
#4 Jalen Suggs Gonzaga G 19 6’4″ 14.4 5.3 4.5
#5 Scottie Barnes Florida State F 19 6’8″ 10.3 4.0 4.1
#6 Jonathan Kuminga G League – Ignite F/C 18 6’8″ 15.8 7.2 2.7
#7 James Bouknight UConn SG 20 6’5″ 18.7 5.7 1.8
#8 Franz Wagner Michigan F 19 6’9″ 12.5 6.5 3.0
#9 Moses Moody Arkansas SG 19 6’6″ 16.8 5.8 2.6
#10 Josh Giddey Adelaide 36ers (Australia) G 18 6’8″ 10.9 7.4 7.5

Usually, there’s a top prospect with stats that don’t really compare to most players in the group. This year, however, I can’t say that anyone has numbers that seem to be outliers. Perhaps the most interesting call-out involves the two “One-and-Done” players who went to the G League instead of pretending to be college students for a year. Given the NCAA’s recent decision to allow players to monetize their NIL (name, image and likeness), the trend of top high school players going to the G League instead of college might be “one and done.”

2021 TOP 10 POTENTIAL PARTY CRASHERS – SUMMARY STATS
Mock Pick Player School (Team) Pos. Age Ht PPG RPG APG
#11 Davion Mitchell Baylor G 22 6’2″ 14.0 2.7 5.5
#12 Alperen Sengun Besiktas (Turkey) F/C 18 6’10” 19.2 9.4 2.5
#13 Corey Kispert Gonzaga SF 22 6’7″ 18.6 5.0 1.8
#14 Keon Johnson Tennessee SG 19 6’5″ 11.3 3.5 2.5
#15 Kai Jones Texas F/C 20 6’11” 8.8 4.8 0.6
#16 Chris Duarte Oregon SG 23 6’6″ 17.1 4.6 2.7
#17 Trey Murphy Virginia SF 21 6’9″ 11.0 3.8 1.0
#18 Jalen Johnson Duke F 19 6’9″ 11.2 6.1 2.2
#19 Usman Garuba Real Madrid (Spain) F/C 19 6’8″ 4.0 4.1 0.8
#20 Isaiah Jackson Kentucky C 19 6’10” 8.4 6.6 0.7

Relative to this group of “party crashers” (i.e. players who might get drafted with a top 10 overall pick), the following players seem least likely to make the jump:

  • Kai Jones – Given his size and age, Jones should have put up more than 9 ppg and pulled down more than 5 rpg.
  • Chris Duarte – He’s 4-5 years older than most other prospects in either table. He may be a capable NBA player, but his upside is limited and questionable for a top 10 overall pick.
  • Usman Garuba –  He has two years under his belt as part of Real Madrid’s senior team, but put up pedestrian numbers coming off the bench. He’d be a great T10B bust candidate if he goes in the top 10.

As usual, the “algorithm” used to create the T10B Mock NBA Draft is a simple average of other mock drafts. These “draft experts” arguably have crunched the numbers and/or watched many hours of tape, but I believe they simply do what I do on a larger scale (i.e. talk to or review the work of a lot of other experts).

2021 T10B MOCK NBA DRAFT – SUMMARY OF OTHER MOCK DRAFTS 
Mock Pick Player SI.com CBS Sports SB Nation USA Today Bleacher Report Sporting News NBADraft. Net
#1 Cade Cunningham 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
#2 Jalen Green 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
#3 Evan Mobley 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
#4 Jalen Suggs 4 4 4 5 4 5 4
#5 Scottie Barnes 5 5 5 4 5 6 5
#6 Jonathan Kuminga 7 7 6 8 8 4 7
#7 James Bouknight 6 6 7 6 6 10 6
#8 Franz Wagner 8 9 8 10 9 13 9
#9 Moses Moody 12 8 9 9 11 15 8
#10 Josh Giddey 10 10 10 7 10 16 10
POTENTIAL TOP 10 PARTY CRASHERS – SUMMARY OF OTHER MOCK DRAFTS 
Mock Pick Player SI.com CBS Sports SB Nation USA Today Bleacher Report Sporting News NBADraft. net
#11 Davion Mitchell 14 14 13 13 7 7 13
#12 Alperen Sengun 9 11 12 12 16 9 16
#13 Corey Kispert 13 17 14 17 12 12 17
#14 Keon Johnson 16 12 19 18 13 8 19
#15 Kai Jones 11 24 11 25 18 11 12
#16 Chris Duarte 15 22 15 14 20 14 15
#17 Trey Murphy 17 15 17 15 15 31 14
#18 Jalen Johnson 23 13 23 16 14 22 11
#19 Usman Garuba 22 21 18 11 17 18 23
#20 Isaiah Jackson 19 16 21 19 24 21 21

From mock drafts developed by: Jeremy Woo (SI.com); Kyle Boone (CBS Sports); Ricky O‘Donnell (SB Nation); Bryan Kalbrosky (USA Today); Joe Tansey (Bleacher Report); Mike Decourcy (Sporting News); and Aran Smith (NBADraft.net).

T10B 2021 MOCK NBA DRAFT – CONCLUSIONS

SUPREME CONFIDENCE – TOP 3 PICKS

Likely Top 3 Picks (l to r): #2 Jalen Green, #1 Cade Cunningham, #3 Evan Mobley
  • Very high confidence with names and order of top three picks
    • Jalen Green jumped ahead of Evan Mobley since late June to become overwhelming favorite as #2 overall pick.
    • Possible that Mobley returns to #2 slot, but highly unlikely. Hey Evan, welcome to Cleveland.

HIGH CONFIDENCE – PICKS 4/5 AND 6/7 

Who ya got? Scottie Barnes (l) or Jalen Suggs (r)
  • High confidence that Jalen Suggs goes #4, but Scottie Barnes may go there instead
  • Strongly believe Jonathan Kuminga and James Bouknight will go 6/7 or 7/6

LIMITED CONFIDENCE – PICKS 8-10

Josh Giddey vs. Franz Wagner (International Phenoms or Busts)
  • Franz Wagner came up as the likely #8 overall pick based on the T10B “algorithm” but I don’t seem him worth going that high.
    • Then again, he’d be a leading T10B candidate so I’m rooting for him.
  • Based on player ratings, Davion Mitchell and Keon Johnson could crash the party as late picks in the top 10.
    • Johnson registered a 48-inch vertical leap at the combine, which might make some teams go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
  • Simply based on the crap shoot of international players, Alperen Sengun seems to be the most likely “party crasher.” Specifically, he could crack the top 10 if Toronto, Orlando or OKC enjoy throwing dice

Let the games begin. Sorry, wrong channel. Let the draft begin.

2021 T10B MOCK NBA DRAFT

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