Post-NCAA Tournament Top-50 Big Board (2021 NBA Draft)
The Baylor Bears walloped Gonzaga in Monday’s NCAA Tournament championship game to play spoiler to the Zags’ undefeated season bid. Now, it’s time to take a hard look at the NBA Draft and its prospects. This is a class highlighted by a strong top five and a deep group after the lottery, so there are plenty of reasons to be excited for this class. This is my second Top-50 Big Board, and – as expected – there are some notable risers and fallers. Most notably, there are a handful of players who weren’t even included in the first edition who have jumped into the top-50 after strong play to finish out the season. Let’s get into it!
Five on the Rise
Davion Mitchell (G – Baylor)
Mitchell was the catalyst for Baylor’s electrifying tournament run, proving effective on offense and even more reliable on defense. He’s a talented, two-way guard who excels on both ends of the floor, and despite his age (22), he’s played his way into the lottery with the Bears’ beatdown of Gonzaga in the national championship.
Alperen Sengun (C – Besiktas)
The big man has been tearing up the Turkish league this season, and since my first Big Board was published, he’s played three dominant games and posted averages of 21.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.3 combined blocks/steals. Sengun isn’t dangerous from long-range, but he’s a quality shooter from the floor otherwise, and he makes over 80% of his free throws, which is crucial for a big who draws over six fouls per game.
Kessler Edwards (G – Pepperdine)
Edwards wasn’t on my first big board, but he’s made his way into this one thanks to some fantastic play to close out the season. Pepperdine rolled through the CBI Tournament to claim the title, thanks to strong play from Edwards, a strong rebounder, defender, and shot creator.
Johnny Juzang (G – UCLA)
Juzang wasn’t in my thoughts as I put together the first big board, but he certainly got my attention with his play in the NCAA Tournament. Juzang led UCLA on an unprecedented run from First Four to Final Four, as UCLA came within a Jalen Suggs buzzer beater of taking then-undefeated Gonzaga to a second overtime. Juzang averaged 22.8 points (including 2.5 triples) on 50/77/37 shooting splits in six tournament games, including 29 in the OT loss to Gonzaga. His pure scoring will be prized by an NBA team on draft night.
Drew Timme (C – Gonzaga)
Timme is another guy who I didn’t have on my first big board, but it’s impossible to leave him off now. After a strong sophomore season with the Zags, he provided tremendous play in the NCAA Tournament prior to the National Championship blowout loss. In five games prior to Gonzaga’s loss to Baylor, he went for 22.0 points, 6.8 boards, and 3.8 dimes, showcasing his ability to score and rebound as well as his quality play as a passing big.