The 2021 NBA Draft will take place July 29, and this year, the draft class features a number of talented rookies who will be able to make an immediate impression. We won’t know which NBA franchise will have the first pick until June 22, but before then, there is certain to be plenty of scrutiny of the list.
Getting the best out of the draft is as much an art as it is a science, and whether you are working for an NBA franchise, a sport betting expert or just a fan, there is plenty of work to be done to assess the abilities of those who are up for drafting. Here are seven of the best of this year’s prospects:
Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
A dynamic, 6’8” playmaker with scoring and distribution skills, Cunningham is an incredible talent and the model of the modern guard, possessing the size of a traditional winner yet blessed with the ball handling and scoring skills that are normally found with smaller guards. His combination of physical gifts and well-honed skills is likely to cause him to be in high demand this draft.
Evan Mobley, USC
Perhaps the most athletically impressive of all the players in the draft, he is another off the conveyor belt of seven-footers with ball handling and shooting abilities alongside the expected blocking and rebounding skills. He isn’t perhaps as explosive as some in this category, but he has smooth athleticism and strong handling skills. His strong co-ordination and high basketball IQ means that he is one of the most exciting NBA prospects of recent years.
Jalen Green, G League Ignite
When it comes to dynamism and scoring, there are few better equipped than Green. He has the ability to hurt you with multiple weapons, whether it is driving for a showcase dunk or raining threes from the perimeter. Green offers that ideal combination of length, dynamic drive and touch from the wing that teams are on the lookout for in the modern NBA.
Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
Suggs can be classified as a modern point guard, boasting both size and speed, and there is plenty to like about his game, not least his versatility. Playing on a deep Gonzaga squad, he smoothly switched between secondary and primary roles and that adaptability will make him a definite asset as he aims to transition to the NBA level. At his most dangerous in the open floor, Suggs has also shown a fiery competitive streak and a willingness to chase and mix it up that will count in his favor.
Jonathan Kuminga, G League Ignite
The physical strengths that Kuminga offers are obvious from the start. A 6’8” forward with an impressive 6’11” wingspan, he is one of the most impressive athletes in the draft. Although there is a touch of rawness about his game, he has regularly demonstrated good handling ability and excellent mid-range scoring. All the NBA franchises are keen on switchable, athletic players, and Kuminga fits the bill as a midterm prospect with a well-developed offensive game.
Scottie Barnes, Florida State
Built like a power forward, Barnes was versatile enough to step in as a point guard while he was at Florida State, and that combination of size and skill make for a potentially excellent pick. Whoever he turns out for, he will pose a tough match-up problem for opponents as his ball handling skills and ability to initiate pick and rolls will make him hard to defend. His clear strength and athletic prowess make him a standout prospect and he is likely to go high in the draft.
Keon Johnson, Tennessee
Among the younger players in the draft, Johnson may be regarded as a player who has yet to develop his full talent, but it is worth noting that as a young college freshman, he was an extremely productive scorer for Tennessee through a game that was based around an ability to drive the ball. His lightning first step made it hard for defenders to stay on the right side of him, and this made him a dangerous offensive player, despite not having a pull-up jumper. He is also a notably physical defender who was able to match up against some of the SEC’s best scorers. With bags of potential and athletic prowess, Johnson may represent an excellent value pick in the draft.