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2021 NBA Draft: Top-50 Big Board

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Mar 12, 2021

Cade Cunningham is the top prospect of the 2021 NBA Draft Class

With Selection Sunday just days away, there’s no better time to look ahead at this year’s group of NBA draft prospects. This is a talented class, and it’s certainly a unique one. This year’s draft class features two players inside my top-5(and most analysts’ top-5’s) who play for the G-League Ignite.

This draft is also very heavy on guards and wings, and while there are still some talented bigs, they’re in much shorter supply. This year’s top-5 is absolutely loaded, and each of those players could make a legitimate argument to go No. 1. After that, things get a bit murkier, as many of the top prospects have a range of rankings depending on where you look. Today, I’ll offer up my top-50 draft prospects with notes and stats for lottery selections. This is the first iteration of NBA Draft coverage we’ll be offering at FantasyPros this season, with my first mock draft set to come out immediately following the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament. Now that we’ve gotten the formalities out of the way, let’s dive into the prospects! Thanks so much for joining me – let’s go!

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1. Cade Cunningham (G – Oklahoma State) | 19.7 PTS, 6.3 REB, 3.5 AST, 1.4 STL |  

Cunningham is a great shot creator who has the ability to get to the rim with ease. He’s a quality shooter from all phases and is solid on the boards. His length is a huge plus for a guard on both ends of the floor. Cunningham is great in one-on-one situations and can succeed in iso situations at the NBA level. He’s put Oklahoma State on his back this season, and it’s yet unknown if we’ll get to see him in the NCAA tournament while Oklahoma State appeals its postseason ban. Cunningham has tremendous upside as a pure scorer in the NBA, and right now, it’s doubtful he’s not the No. 1 pick.

2. Jalen Suggs (G – Gonzaga) | 14.3 PTS, 5.5 REB, 4.5 AST, 2.0 STL | 

He’s a quick, athletic finisher at the rim, who has good court vision to find teammates. Suggs is a point guard who can create his own offense and get teammates involved in the process. He’s an excellent rebounder for his size, and Suggs’ versatility as a dynamic scorer and passer paired with his proficiency on the glass make him a highly-intriguing prospect who should be able to find immediate success in the NBA. Although he’s one of the most athletic players in this draft, his game doesn’t rely on pure athleticism. He’ll look to lead the Zags to March Madness success, and a strong run could cement his spot as the first pick after Cunningham, ahead of guys like Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Green, or Evan Mobley.

 3. Evan Mobley (C – USC) | 16.1 PTS, 8.6 REB, 2.1 AST, 2.9 BLK | 

Mobley is a unique talent for someone his size. At 7’0, 215, he’s long and can put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim with respectable handles. He’s  capable of working his way through traffic to finish efficiently at the rim. He can shoot a long-range jumper if needed and is solid from mid-range too. He’s got great awareness on the offensive glass and is adept at grabbing an offensive board to offer second-chance points for his team. He’s got excellent handles and footwork for a big, and his unique skillset gives him the upside to be the No. 1 pick in this draft class. He’s still lean and needs to improve his strength if he wants to have an impact against bigger centers in the NBA, but his speed and ability to close space suggest he’ll be capable of switching onto smaller defenders if needed.

4. Jalen Green (G – Ignite) | 17.9 PTS, 4.1 REB, 2.8 AST, 1.5 STL |

Green is tall and lanky but has the handles and instincts of a smaller guard. He can pass to teammates effectively but has no problem creating his own shots. What stands out immediately about Green is his speed and athleticism. He has a quick first step and uses great footwork to get to the rim where he finishes consistently with acrobatic shots in traffic. His inconsistent outside shooting is a concern as he transitions to the NBA, but he does have the ability to get hot from long range. Green hustles on defense and can defend multiple positions.

5. Jonathan Kuminga (F – Ignite) | 15.8 PTS, 7.2 REB, 2.7 AST, 1.0 STL | 

Kuminga is long and strong with a solid wingspan, and his jumper is difficult to defend. He’s an efficient shooter at all levels, a great finisher at the rim, and shoots at a high percentage from deep. His length is a big problem for defenders and it allows him to alter shots on the defensive end of the floor as well. Kuminga has great offensive instincts, can take opponents off the dribble, and has a strong ability to create for himself. He’s excellent in transition, and when he gets to the basket, he can elevate tremendously. He has the looks of a quality two-way player at the next level, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go higher than fifth in the draft.

 6.  Scottie Barnes (F – Florida State) | 10.3 PTS, 4.4 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.5 STL | 

The first thing you notice about Barnes is his impressive size. He’s got a thick frame at 6’9, 225 and boasts a 7’0 wingspan, which makes him a nightmare for opposing defenders. He consistently looks to get to the basket, plays extremely physical basketball, and doesn’t shy away from contact. Barnes can get down the court with a head of steam in transition, but he’s just as effective in half-court offense. He needs to improve his poor free-throw shooting if he wants to be successful in the NBA and capitalize on his physicality, but he’ll enter the NBA with a ton of upside.

7. Keon Johnson (G – Tennessee) | 10.8 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.0 STL | 

He’s as explosive an athlete as we have in this year’s draft class, but he’s still very much a raw talent. Johnson is highly athletic but relies too much on his mid-range jumper and is not particularly threatening in transition. He needs to improve his decision-making, three-point shooting, and ability to facilitate if he’s going to be successful at the next level. Pure talent and upside keep him in the lottery discussion, but expanding his offensive repertoire will do wonders for his long-term outlook.

8. James Bouknight (G – UConn) | 20.2 PTS, 5.6 REB, 1.6 AST, 1.3 STL |

Bouknight is a talented, score-first two-guard who can get to the rim at will and finish strong. He’s a great rebounder for his size and has taken big steps forward as a scorer since last season while playing against better competition in the Big East. He’s got great instincts to draw contact and get to the line (6.0 FTA per game) where he’s made over 80% of his attempts in his collegiate career. A strong tournament run for the Huskies could bolster his draft stock even further.

9. Ziaire Williams (G/F – Stanford) | 10.7 PTS, 4.6 REB, 2.2 AST |

Williams has noticeable length, which works to his advantage on both ends of the floor. He’s a productive rebounder on offense and defense who can provide second-chance opportunities for his team. Williams is able to facilitate effectively, and he’s a solid knock-down shooter who excels in catch-and-shoot situations. He needs to work on creating his own shot, but his measurables and multi-faceted abilities are highly intriguing at the next level.

10. Jalen Johnson (G/F – Duke) | 11.2 PTS, 6.1 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.2 BLK, 1.2 STL | 

Though we haven’t seen much of him at the collegiate level, it’s clear from his brief run at Duke that Johnson has the skillset to be a quality two-way player in the NBA. His decision to withdraw from Duke early to prepare for the NBA Draft may give some teams pause due to the limited sample size, but make no mistake about it – Johnson is a top-10 talent and will likely hear his name called in the mid-to-late lottery. He’s an electric playmaker who consistently plays above the rim, and his length could make him highly valued as a versatile defender at the next level. Johnson’s biggest strength is in transition, where he flashed tremendous upside going coast-to-coast and finishing at the rim or making the right pass to find teammates for easy buckets.

11. Corey Kispert (F – Gonzaga) | 19.2 PTS, 4.9 REB, 1.8 AST, 2.8 3PT |

Kispert is the best shooter in this year’s draft. His three-point percentage has increased in each of the last three seasons, and he’s drained better than 43% of attempts in each of the last two. He’s a two-time All WCC selection who’s scoring nearly 20 points per game, and Kispert is a big wing who can rebound confidently. His strength is as a catch-and-shoot specialist, and that ability should translate well at the next level. His range of deadly, three-point shooting skills were on full display in a win over Virginia back in December when he stroked 9-of-13 triples – his most of the season.

12. Moses Moody (G – Arkansas) | 17.5 PTS, 5.7 REB, 1.8 AST, 1.1 STL, 2.0 3PT |

Moody has great size for a wing, boasting a seven-foot wingspan at just 6’6 that makes him an upside play on both ends of the floor. He’s able to drive to the rim and finish in traffic, skilled at drawing contact on mid-range jumpers, and adept at catch-and-shoot opportunities from deep. His respectable outside game should help ease his transition to the NBA. Much like James Bouknight, Moody thrives at the charity stripe (5.8 FTA per game) and hit a ridiculous 16-of-19 attempts in Arkansas’ win over Alabama on Feb. 24.

13. Jaden Springer (G – Tennessee) | 12.4 PTS, 3.5 REB, 2.9 AST, 1.1 STL |

The counting stats won’t blow you away, but the eye test should. Springer’s movements are fluid, he’s an able shot creator and a true threat from downtown. His natural scoring ability is top-notch, and he’s a quality defender. Springer should be taken near the end of the lottery due to his raw upside and two-way abilities.

14. Sharife Cooper (G – Auburn) | 20.2 PTS, 4.3 REB, 8.1 AST, 1.0 STL, 1.1 3PT | 

Cooper isn’t the most athletic guard in this draft, but his ability to run the offense while providing consistent scoring is huge for his draft stock. Cooper      is crafty in the paint, where he uses a soft touch and artistic shot selection to get buckets. Three-point shooting isn’t one of his strengths, and he relies almost entirely on his ability to score inside, evidenced by his 8.6 free-throw attempts per game. Cooper’s ability to find teammates has been largely predicated on lobs and passes to the interior, and because he puts his head down to get to the basket, he isn’t a strong kick-out passer. There are some limitations to his game, but Cooper has the tools to develop into a quality NBA point guard if he improves his outside shooting and passing.

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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