2021 NBA Mock Draft (December 2020)

I know, a mock draft this early is extremely unrealistic to predict accurately, but I'm going to do one anyway. I plan to do a mock draft up until the draft monthly. Here is volume one of my mock, December of 2020 with six months until the draft is supposed to start.

For the order of this mock, I will be doing a projection on my standings, and as the season continues I will just do it based on them at the time I begin writing.

Also, in the future, these mocks won't be as long as this one, but since it's the first one I wanted to go more in-depth.

#1 New York Knicks: Cade Cunningham (Guard - Oklahoma State)

As of now, Cade Cunningham is the consensus #1 pick for this upcoming draft. He's been producing phenomenal numbers for Oklahoma State, including a game-winner against Wichita State. As a 6'6 guard, he can finish above the rim with ease. Cunningham is also a great shooter from mid-range and beyond the arc. Defensively, Cade is a very scrappy defender, averaging a steal and a block a game which as a guard isn't very common.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Suggs (Guard - Gonzaga)

Assuming Jalen Suggs' recent injury doesn't have any long-lasting effects, Jalen Suggs will probably be a top-five pick. Suggs is a 6'5 PG that can do it all. He's super athletic and is a very solid shooter. Experts say that his form is there, however, the result of the shot needs more work. Suggs is also a great rebounder for his size and position, which is a good plus for him.

#3 Detroit Pistons: Jalen Green (Guard - NBA G League)

Jalen Green is a 6'5 athletic guard with a 6'8 wingspan. The big wingspan of course makes it easier to finish above the rim, and inside in general but it poses the biggest weakness in his game, his handles. When driving inside, Green relies more on his natural athleticism over his handles which isn't necessarily a problem for Green, but developing better handles would strengthen his game greatly.

#4 Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley (Forward - USC)

Evan Mobley is the best example of a modern-day Center that fits the NBA perfectly. He's a 7'0 center, who has great hand-eye coordination for his size and is an excellent shooter. He's had a phenomenal rookie season so far with USC and is dominant above the rim. The downside to Mobley is his skinny frame which will make him more inefficient from the low post, but he makes up for it with his speed.

#5 Charlotte Hornets: Jonathan Kuminga (Forward - NBA G League)

Jonathan Kuminga is another great example of a modern-day forward. He's an explosive PF with great size and shooting ability. Kuminga is at his best when he is driving to the paint and runs isolation plays, rare for a PF. As positionless basketball becomes more of a focus for coaches in the NBA, Kuminga fits that idea as he can guard the one through the four.

#6 Oklahoma City Thunder: Ziaire Williams (Guard/Forward - Stanford)

Ziaire Williams has gotten off to a slow start in college but is expected to pick it up throughout the season, as we have seen the talent and shooting ability he has. Williams has drawn comparisons to a smaller Danny Granger, all the way to 6x All-Star Paul George. Williams is 6'6 so he can also play from SG to SF. Ball handling is improving for Williams, which will allow him to create more shots off the dribble.

#7 San Antonio Spurs: Jalen Johnson (Forward - Duke)

Assuming Jalen Johnson's draft stock doesn't rapidly fall after Duke's disappointing start I predict that he will be drafted in the 5-11 range, we all know the talent Johnson has overall. Johnson is a very athletic wing and is well coordinated. Standing at 6'9 he is another good example of positionless basketball as he can guard and defend against any position. He lacks a consistent jumper so far, but we could see an increase in volume and an increase in FG3%.

#8 Chicago Bulls: Brandon Boston Jr. (Guard - Kentucky)

Recently, the Bulls have been drafted by positional need. We saw it earlier this year when they needed a Small Forward so they selected Patrick Williams, in 2019 they selected Coby White since Kris Dunn lost all validity to become a starter, and so forth. However, this year it appears they have all positions covered, so I believe they will pick the best guard still available, being Brandon Boston Jr. since LaVine's future with Chicago isn't guaranteed. Boston Jr. is a 6'9 SG/SF that can score from three levels but hasn't shown it in college so far. He needs to improve finishing through contact and might take a few years to fully show off his skills in the NBA.

#9 Sacramento Kings: Scottie Barnes (Forward - FSU)

Scottie Barnes is a 6'8 versatile forward who can do it all. He's a solid scorer, playmaker, and rebounder. He can also shoot and dribble with both hands which are hard for defenses to defend against. He's been decently efficient so far. Barnes' stock could either go up a few spots or go down drastically as it seems that different mock's have him going anywhere ranging from 6th-33rd.

#10 Washington Wizards: Terrence Clarke (Guard - Kentucky)

Terrence Clarke is a 6'6 athletic wing with a 6'11 wingspan and is a freak of an athlete, even in NBA standards right now. With his ideal size and natural basketball talent, he could be the staple the Wizards need in their backcourt. There are constantly trade talks involving Bradley Beal so who knows what the future holds for him too. He's a pure scorer, with a good looking jump-shot as well.

#11 Golden State Warriors (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Usman Garuba (Forward - Spain)

Usman Garuba seems to be the best international prospect in the draft. Garuba is a powerful player who already has an NBA frame and is projected to be a great rebounder and a multi-dimensional defender with a chance to develop into a solid offensive player as well. He gets to the rim easily as a 6'8 forward and can dunk with ease in traffic. Aside from dunking and finishing above the rim the rest of his offensive game is raw but he shows flashes of ball handling, passing, and perimeter shooting. Garuba is looking to make an instant impact which is what the Warriors need, especially at power forward.

#12 Memphis Grizzlies: Moses Moody (Guard - Arkansas)

A lot of mocks have Moody all over the place, but I'm yet to see one have him this high. I for one, really like Moody this season and think he would be a great complimentary piece for Ja Morant. My idea would be to play Ja at PG, Moses at SG, move Dillon to SF, and then play JJJ and PF and Jonas at the center. This lineup creates outside threats everywhere which is good. Moses is a good catch and shoot guy and can play off the ball.

#13 Orlando Magic: Charles Bassey (Forward - Western Kentucky)

Charles Bassey is a 6'11 forward that has been a beast in college the past three years. When he crashes the glass offensively, and defensively he could average 12+ rebounds in the NBA, along with a solid scoring output. He's extremely athletic and coordinated but sometimes relies on his athleticism too much when driving into the paint over skill or talent. Overall, I think Bassey is a total sleeper pick in this draft considering some mocks don't even have him as a first-round pick.

#14 Atlanta Hawks: Roko Prkacin (Forward - Croatia)

Roko Prkacin is an offensive beast and can score from anywhere within the arc. When driving aggressively to the basket, he blows by defenders with ease no matter the size. Another plus for Roko is that he has been playing professional basketball in Croatia since 2018, so a team like the Hawks could greatly improve with the addition of him in the upcoming season.

#15 Indiana Pacers: Ayo Dosunmu (Guard - Illinois)

Ayo Dosunmu is making a great case for being one of the best players in CBB. He's been scoring the ball with ease from all three levels. He's a crafty combo guard with ideal size and skills for the NBA. Despite losing to Mizzou, and ending the game with a wild three-pointer Ayo took over that game which definitely raised some eyebrows, for the better. In that game, Ayo scored 36 points on a 13/20 shooting night. It will be interesting to see Ayo's draft stock fluctuate during the season, considering I feel that I have him lower on my mock compared to most.

#16 Houston Rockets (via Portland Trail Blazers): James Bouknight (Guard - UConn)

James Bouknight is a 6'4 guard that still somehow manages to crash the glass every game. His handles and shooting are what really stand out offensively, making him a threat to hit a shot off the dribble, or in a catch and shoot situation. The main downside and concern for Bouknight is his size and strength. Being 6'4 and 170 lbs could be a concern for GMs because that would make driving to the hoop way more difficult for him.

#17 New Orleans Pelicans: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Forward - Villanova)

Jeremiah passed on declaring for the draft in 2020, to solidify himself as a first-round pick which he has done. He’s not much of a rim protector but he plays with excellent positioning. It remains to be seen if he can develop as an interior defender. He is a bit small at PF, only being 6'7 ish and a small wingspan too.

#18 Phoenix Suns: Josh Christopher (Guard - ASU)

Christopher is said to be one of the most dynamic scorers in this draft class. Although the Suns already have a future SG in Devin Booker, I think it would be foolish to pass up on Christopher, since he could possibly run him or Booker at the point. Christopher has drawn comparisons from Buddy Hield to a less athletic Zach LaVine. No matter how he plays, he'll be a staple in their offense for years to come.

#19 Golden State Warriors: Mojave King (Guard - Australia)

Mojave King was born in New Zealand but grew up in Australia and is now playing in the NBL to prepare for the NBA. He uses his strength well when driving into the paint, showing the ability to bounce off defenders and finish through contact. He drives with control as well and doesn't seem to be phased by taller defenders.

#20 Utah Jazz: Corey Kispert (Forward - Gonzaga)

Corey Kispert is a great three-point shooter for Gonzaga, which would be his main focal point in the NBA. His defense, however, really lacks as it seems it will be difficult for him to hold his own against athletic wings. I think Kispert can be really good in the NBA offensively, but if he doesn't show that he can throughout the season, and in the combine I could also see Kispert in the late second round.

#21 Toronto Raptors: Greg Brown III (Forward - Texas)

Greg Brown is an explosive leaper with great length, making him a sensational above the rim player. He can dunk the ball in traffic and has truly special bounce. He’s a quick and wiry athlete with great speed. He needs to add strength and refine his outside shot but he’s a high upside prospect who is starting to put it all together on the court.

#22 Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami Heat): Terrence Shannon (Guard - Texas Tech)

Shannon is a world-class athlete who has tons of athleticism and talent. He's drawn comparisons to a less dominant Russell Westbrook, which by itself raises his draft stock, especially for OKC. He's got the physicality to finish inside, and take charges and play tough defense on other guards and smaller forwards.

#23 New York Knicks (via Dallas Mavericks): Keon Johnson (Guard - Tennesee)

Keon Johnson is a next-level athlete whose stock is trending up and he’s looking like a potential one and done or two year player for Tennessee. Despite having an extremely slow start, we know what Keon can do, and was the 23rd ranked recruit for 2020. Keon does need time to refine his playmaking and ball-handling, but his elite athleticism and scoring ability will hopefully show scouts what he's made of.

#24 Denver Nuggets: Jared Butler (Guard - Baylor)

Jared Butler in his Junior year is having another great year of basketball for the second-ranked team in the country. Butler is a 6'4 guard that is a great three-level scorer that is efficiently shooting the ball so far. He's also a great defender that could come close to producing a block a game in the NBA.

#25 Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Springer (Guard/Forward - Tennessee)

Jaden Springer is another 6'5-6'6 guard who is a three-level scorer. He's good at creating his own shot and set shooting even though he's had a quiet season so far with Tennessee. It does seem to be the theme of this mock for these kinds of talented players to be struggling early on, especially freshman players such as Jaden, Caleb Love, and Keon Johnson, while more veteran guards such as Collin Gillespie, James Bouknight, and David Duke to all continue to play at a high level in their third or fourth year.

#26 Boston Celtics: Ibou Dianko Badji (Center - Senegal)

Ibou Dianko Badji could be the future solution for the Celtics if they don't win this year since they need a center more than anyone else. Ibou is a very athletic center and is a huge defensive anchor for Barcelona. If his game translates from Barcelona to the NBA he could be a pick well above his value.

#27 Los Angeles Clippers: Caleb Love (Guard - UNC)

It seems to be a trend so far for guards who primarily shoot, to have inefficient shooting splits at the beginning of the season. He's got the potential to be a great defender as a guard could be a defensive anchor. He's also very athletic, and if he can start shooting the ball well we could see him get drafted higher.

#28 New York Nets: Collin Gillespie (Guard - Villanova)

Collin Gillespie has had a very memorable college experience at Villanova as a four-year vet. He's a guard who can be utilized in many different ways despite only being 6'3. He's a great rebounder for a guard and is one of the most efficient shooters in college basketball. Gillespie is a contender for the Big East POTY and Nova could make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament due to his experience, and his partner Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

#29 Milwaukee Bucks: Quentin Grimes (Guard - Houston)

Quentin Grimes is a very offensive orientated guard who was blossomed as a great shooter ever since his transfer from Kansas. Grimes is a good pick for Milwaukee since they lack three-point shooting which is his strong suit. If he can get some minutes in the NBA, he could be a great shooter off the bench and help Giannis and the Bucks win.

#30 New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers): Franz Wagner (Guard - Michigan)

I think that Franz Wagner will cap off the first round. Franz is a 6'8 guard that fits the modern-day NBA very well. He's a talented scorer, and an above-average rebounder and defender. Franz's main weak spot is his playmaking, which as a guard is very important. We saw the Lakers select Franz's older brother, Moritz, who didn't turn out as well as they would have liked 25th overall.

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