The NBA offseason will kick off on Thursday night, with the 2021 NBA Draft, and point guard Cade Cunningham is the favorite to lead the class as the first overall pick.
Beyond that, it seems like anything could happen, with analysts and fans alike preparing for a frenzy of draft-night trades hitherto unimagined.
With that being said, Heavy.com’s first and final 2021 NBA mock draft.
With the 1st Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
The Detroit Pistons are going to take Cade Cunningham with the first overall pick on Thursday night.
He’s coming off of a stellar freshman season with Oklahoma State, where he averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.
With the 2nd Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
The Houston Rockets are reportedly continuing to listen to offers for the second overall pick, but if they keep it, are looking like a lock to take Jalen Green.
He spent the last year with the G-League Ignite after forgoing college and averaged 17.9 points per game.
Many think Green will end up as the best scorer in this draft class. Pairing him with Kevin Porter Jr. will make for a dynamic, up-and-coming backcourt.
With the 3rd Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
Another team reportedly listening to offers, look for the Cleveland Cavaliers to end up with big man Evan Mobley should they keep the third overall selection.
Transitioning from Andre Drummond/Kevin Love to the 20-year old rim protector in the frontcourt should be considered a huge upgrade, and help to solidify another piece to their rebuild.
Mobley averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, and 2.4 assists with the USC Trojans last year.
With the 4th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
Things could start to slip a little here, with Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reporting on Wednesday that Scottie Barnes, not Jalen Suggs, is the current consensus pick for the Toronto Raptors at fourth overall.
Apparently, the Florida State guard has caught Masai Ujiri and the company’s eyes with less than 24 hours until the draft.
Barnes averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 assists, four rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game last season with the Seminoles.
Above all else, trust that the Raptors will go with a guard here, particularly with Kyle Lowry’s future up in air.
With the 5th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
If Scottie Barnes is off the board here, the Orlando Magic could continue to create waves, and take G-League Ignite product Jonathan Kuminga at fifth overall.
The 18-year old isn’t viewed at all as NBA-ready, which is exactly why John Hammond can afford to take a big swing here and hope to maximize the forward’s potential in the coming years.
It’s hard to see the Magic going with another guard with Markelle Fultz coming back and Cole Anthony in the rotation.
With the 6th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
This is where Jalen Suggs’ slide ends.
If he’s on the board at sixth overall for Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder, he won’t be going any further.
Suggs is a high-IQ guard who’s earned a “winning player” reputation around the eyes of the NBA.
Whether or not they trade Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or not, he’s an easy pick for the rebuilding Thunder.
With the 7th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
One of the worst kept secrets around the NBA over the last month and change has been the Golden State Warriors canvassing of the league for win-now talent to acquire in exchange for their two first-round picks.
But as of Thursday morning, their efforts haven’t yielded a potential target, outside of Bradley Beal, who hasn’t yet requested a trade from the Washington Wizards.
If they end up keeping the pick, Josh Giddey is a name to watch here.
He looks ready to contribute on an NBA level after a promising year with the Adelaide 36ers of the NBL.
With the 8th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
The Orlando Magic are back on the clock at eighth overall after taking forward Jonathan Kuminga at fifth.
Is this too early for James Bouknight?
A crafty scorer and athletic guard, he’d be a good fit off the ball next to Markelle Fultz and company.
Bouknight averaged 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game at UCONN last season.
With the 9th Pick in the NBA Draft…
The Sacramento Kings are looking to trade back most certainly, but if they stick with the ninth overall pick, Turkish big man Alperen Sengun is a name to watch.
Adding a pass-capable big man and bringing back Richaun Holmes would provide versatility in the frontcourt.
With the 10th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
In exchange for taking on Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams’ contracts, the Memphis Grizzlies were able to move up to the 10th overall pick from 17th overall.
The thought is they’re still hoping to move up, but no name has yet been leaked as a potential target.
If the Grizzlies stick at 10, Arkansas wing Moses Moody is a nice fit.
The 19-year old averaged 16.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and one steal per game with the Razorbacks last year.
With the 11th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft
No team has a more glaring roster hole than the Charlotte Hornets do at center.
With Alperen Sengun off the board at ninth to the Sacramento Kings, Franz Wagner or Kai Jones could hold appeal.
But the first of those isn’t yet considered a big man, and the second one would be a reach here.
Look for the Hornets to consider sharpshooter Corey Kispert out of Gonzaga.
A senior wing may feel a reach here, but adding a 44% three-point shooter to generational passer LaMelo Ball’s targets should be a no-brainer.
With the 12th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
As is custom, the San Antonio Spurs are a big question mark rolling into draft night.
With the 12th overall pick, I’d expect they’ll go with the best available player.
In this instance, that would be Franz Wagner. He’s the perfect kind of prospect for the Spurs development staff.
Wagner averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and one block per game with the Timberwolves last year.
With the 13th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
No pick is being talked about more in possible trades than the Indiana Pacers’ 13th overall selection.
All of the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Utah Jazz reported as teams who’ve approached them.
But as has been speculated, the Pacers could very well end up keeping the pick.
If that comes to pass, look at Davion Mitchell as a name that could wind up in Indiana.
Fresh off of a national championship with Baylor, he seems a prime prospect for new head coach Rick Carlisle to groom.
With the 14th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
As previously mentioned, the Golden State Warriors had hoped to package their two first-round picks in somewhat of a blockbuster for top talent, but that doesn’t appear a realistic likelihood today.
And with Mitchell off the board, does any prospect make more sense than Oregon’s Chris Duarte?
The 24-year old is one of the best shooters in the draft and is considered NBA-ready by most.
Duarte averaged 17.1 points for the Ducks his sophomore season while knocking down 42% of his threes.
With the 15th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
It’s hard to project exactly what the Washington Wizards will look to do on Thursday night.
They could keep their pick or attempt to trade it for win-now help, likely whichever is the preference of Beal.
Trey Murphy III would give them a prospect that’s ready to contribute in a defined role early on, as well as a potential long-term piece should the Wizards go into a full rebuild.
With the 16th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
It’d be shocking to see the Oklahoma City Thunder make each of their three first-round picks on Thursday night.
But after landing Jalen Suggs with the sixth overall pick, Keon Johnson would be a solid follow-up.
The 19-year old wing out of Tennessee would be more of a project pick for Sam Presti and company, but after taking a ready-made contributor in Suggs, is a sensible pick here at 16.
With the 17th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
The New Orleans Pelicans traded down from 10th to 17th in order to open up cap space for their point guard chase this summer.
So among other things, you can rule out a guard going to the Big Easy here.
Instead, how about Stanford wing Ziaire Williams? He’s viewed as one of the top developmental prospects in this class, but also sits among the top-five in ceiling and upside.
With the 18th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder are back on the board at 18th overall.
Look for them to consider Usman Garuba here, with not one guaranteed big man under salary for 2021-2022.
The Spanish big man is one of the better defenders in this class, and would certainly help to compliment Aleksej Pokusevski in the Thunder frontcourt.
With the 19th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
If the New York Knicks are to stick with their two first-round picks, expect head coach Tom Thibodeau to have a huge say in what kind of rookies are on his roster next year.
That being said, they’re not passing up on LSU’s Cameron Thomas if he’s available here.
He’s an instant offense, spark plug scorer who could provide some of the scoring punch New York is lacking.
Thomas averaged 23 points per game in his freshman campaign with the Tigers.
With the 20th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
The Atlanta Hawks have been shopping this pick but would benefit from adding another contributor on a rookie deal.
Jared Butler would make a lot of sense as they continue to search for Trae Young’s backup.
Fresh off of a national championship run with Baylor, the point guard looks ready to contribute at an NBA level.
Butler averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and two steals per game his junior campaign.
With the 21st Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
After taking Cameron Thomas with the 19th pick, the New York Knicks could shore up the frontcourt rotation here with Kentucky big man Isaiah Jackson.
Taj Gibson’s future is up in the air, as is Nerlens Noel’s, who started 41 games last season.
Jackson 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game with the Wildcats last year.
With the 22nd Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
It’s growing increasingly unlikely that the Los Angeles Lakers will make their selection at 22nd here.
They’ve been linked to a potential trade for Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, one that would include this pick.
But if they end up keeping it, they’d be hard-pressed to find a better fit/value than Sharife Cooper out of Auburn.
There are questions about his jumper, but he’s often been dubbed the best passer in this draft class.
That kind of player could provide an immediate help to a contender like the Lakers.
With the 23rd Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
After taking Jalen Green with the second overall pick, the Houston Rockets are back on the board at 23rd and 24th.
Duke forward Jalen Johnson would be a great grab here, especially for a team with time to invest in his development.
With the 24th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
Following drafting two Jalen’s, the Houston Rockets could find a backup for Christian Wood in Kai Jones.
He’s coming off of a strong sophomore campaign at Texas, and has an ability to space the floor that fits this roster.
With the 25th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
The LA Clippers seem bound to keep this pick, a rarity among the NBA’s top contenders.
Miles McBride would be a solid choice here, as backup point guard headlines their offseason to-do list.
He’s defensively focused with a solid scoring touch, and widely considered NBA ready among scouts.
With the 26th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
Are the Denver Nuggets prepared to bring on a rookie contributor after Nikola Jokic’s MVP year?
It seems an unlikely outcome, at least at the 26th slot. Could two point guards go back to back in this range?
Tre Mann is a solid shooter and crafty ball handler. He shot 40% from three with Florida last season.
With the 27th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
After falling out in the playoffs to the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, the Brooklyn Nets are another team unlikely to walk out of Thursday night with a rookie contributor.
Instead, they may end up trading the 27th pick, along with Landry Shamet potentially, to move up, if anything.
But if they’re unable to find any takers, third-year guard Ayo Dosunmu out of Illinois is a solid pick.
Brooklyn’s searching for a backup point guard, but could find some playmaking insurance (and tough defense) here.
With the 28th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland would be a great choice for a Philadelphia 76ers team that can always use more shooting.
The 20-year old guard knocked down 37% of his 7.8 attempts from deep at VCU last season.
With the 29th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
With both Cameron Payne and Chris Paul headed for free agency, would the Phoenix Suns look at a guard here at 29th?
Quentin Grimes, despite his recent climb, might be too much of a reach here.
Instead, the Suns could take a swing on Tennessee’s Jaden Springer. He’s not the lead guard they need, but he can provide shooting and defense for a team hoping to run it back to the 2022 NBA Finals.
Springer averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.2 steals for the Volunteers last season.
With the 30th Overall Pick in the NBA Draft…
No team is less likely to keep their first-round pick than the Utah Jazz.
They’re reportedly dangling Derrick Favors or Joe Ingles as an incentive for a potential salary dump.
If a trade doesn’t come to fruition, wing Joshua Primo would be a solid consolation prize.