Now that we know what the NBA Draft order is, let’s take a look at potential landing spots for the top players and how that might affect other players on those teams. It also seems prudent to offer a primer on the rookies so we know what we’re looking at in 2021-22 NBA product when it releases.
For purposes of this article, we’re using the CBS Sports Mock Draft. We’re also looking at the top seven picks in the Draft this week, which are probably the spots where high-impact rookies can swoop in and make the biggest immediate splash. Also, free agency will likely have some impact on these outlooks as well. Everything’s obviously far from set in stone because that’s how mock drafts work. But, a few of these scenarios will become reality.
Cade Cunningham, PG, Detroit Pistons
Almost a unanimous choice to go first overall, Cade Cunningham has been touted as the top pick for a while. My favorite comparison for him is Penny Hardaway, a taller PG that is going to elevate the rest of his team. He can be a top-tier distributor but can also score in bunches if needed.
Stock Up: Isaiah Stewert, Saddiq Bey
Stock Down: Killian Hayes, Jerami Grant
Evan Mobley, C, Houston Rockets
The draft gets fun at the two spot, as some mocks have Jalen Green going here. Mobley is a modern-day big man that can stretch the floor. The biggest thing for big guys in today’s game is being athletic enough to not get abused by guards in pick and rolls. The most frequent comparison for Mobley is Chris Bosh.
Neutral: Kevin Porter, Jr.
Stock Down: Christian Wood
Jalen Green, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers
If you like ceiling (I do), Jalen Green is your guy. An athletic, scoring wing that can shoot the rock, Green is going to command heavy usage because of his prolific scoring. Every story I’ve heard about Green is that he has the drive to be the best, and that he’s a killer on the court. That’s what I like to hear. The ceiling comparison would be Dwyane Wade with a better shot, but I think at worst he is a Zach Lavine-type scoring wing.
Neutral: Jarrett Allen
Stock Down: Darius Garland, Collin Sexton
Jalen Suggs, PG, Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry is as good as gone this offseason, and Suggs would be able to step in and immediately start. My favorite comparison for Suggs is De’Aaron Fox. If Suggs can improve his outside shot, he can make multiple all-star teams. Rumors of a Raptors rebuild make it hard to project his impact on other Toronto players.
Stock Up: Chris Boucher
Stock Down: Malachi Flynn
Scottie Barnes, SF, Orlando Magic
Barnes has been a riser since the combine. He is young and extremely athletic. His ceiling is dependent on how much his offensive game improves because it is very raw right now. A great comparison for him is Pascal Siakam.
Stock Up: Cole Anthony
Stock Down: Jonathan Isaac
Jonathan Kuminga, SF, OKC Thunder
Kuminga is similar to Barnes in that he is an uber-athletic wing that will be able to play immediately because of his defense. His ceiling is dependent on his offensive game improving. Based on where they are as a franchise, I think the Thunder would try to slowly develop Kuminga and he wouldn’t really have a noticeable impact on cards for his Thunder teammates. His ceiling comparison is Jaylen Brown.
Moses Moody, SG, Golden State Warriors
There are a ton of rumors surrounding this pick. The most popular is that the Warriors are trying to package this pick and Wiseman to the Raptors for Pascal Siakam. If that happens, I think it’s a huge boost for everyone involved. Siakam gets to go to one of the most popular franchises and play alongside Steph, and Wiseman gets to go to a rebuilding team as a raw talent where he can get the reps in that he needs. As for Moody, he can immediately come in and be a 3 and D wing similar to Mikal Bridges. His upside would come from his development as a scorer.
Stock Down: Jordan Poole, Kelly Oubre Jr.