NBA mock draft 2021: Cade Cunningham or Evan Mobley at No. 1?

USC forward Evan Mobley shoots over Arizona forward Ira Lee.
USC forward Evan Mobley shoots over Arizona forward Ira Lee during a Pac-12 game in January.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

They are young and gifted, all viewed as having the talent to be NBA players and All-Stars at some point in their careers.

The players that are figured to be chosen in the top five of the NBA draft played only one season after high school, but Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs and Scottie Barnes, in the eyes of talent evaluators, are the real deal.

It appears that Green could be joined by as many as three of his G League teammates during the two-round draft — Jonathan Kuminga, who might be a top-10 selection, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix.

Mobley might be one of a handful of former high school stars from Southern California selected in the draft. Former Chatsworth Sierra Canyon stars Ziaire Williams and BJ Boston are potential first- and second-round selections, respectively, while Josh Christopher, who played at Lakewood Mayfair, figures to be selected toward the end of the first round.

The Lakers select 22nd and the Clippers 25th. Those are their only picks.

This is a look at how things might shake out Thursday night at Barclays Center in New York:

Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham drives on Baylor's Mark Vital.
Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham drives on Baylor’s Mark Vital during a Big 12 tournament semifinal game in March.
(Associated Press)

1. Detroit: Cade Cunningham, SG, 6-8, 220, Oklahoma State


The Pistons badly need talent, and Cunningham is considered the most NBA-ready player. As a combo guard, Cunningham can play on the wing or at the point.

2. Houston: Jalen Green, SG, 6-6, 180, G League Ignite

Though he’s not ready to have an impact, Green is seen as the most talented player in the draft. He has the biggest upside because of his ability to score and incredible athleticism.

3. Cleveland: Evan Mobley, F-C, 7-0, 215, USC

With his size and mobility, Mobley could become a special player. He has a nice inside/outside game and shooting touch. He has a great motor and work ethic.

4. Toronto: Jalen Suggs, PG, 6-4, 205, Gonzaga

Suggs is very solid on defense and offense. He has the speed and quickness to attack the hoop. He’s known for his leadership and toughness.

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs celebrates after making the game-winning basket against UCLA during the NCAA tournament.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

5. Orlando: Scottie Barnes, F, 6-9, 225, Florida State

Barnes has shown the ability to defend multiple positions. He’ll need to work on his shot, but he does attack the rim and is powerful when doing so.

6. Oklahoma City: James Bouknight, G, 6-5, 190, Connecticut

He’s a really athletic shooting guard. He can get buckets and make tough shots.

7. Golden State: Jonathan Kuminga, F, 6-7, 222, G League Ignite

His talent is off the charts. He’s an offensive-minded player who has a big-time handle and can create. He could be a steal.

8. Orlando: Franz Wagner, F, 6-9, 220, Michigan

Wagner, the brother of former Lakers pick Mo Wagner, has the versatility to play both forward positions. He’s a good rebounder and has solid fundamentals.

Guards Josh Christopher of Arizona State and Joshua Primo of Alabama go through the paces in El Segundo on Friday.

July 23, 2021


9. Sacramento: Moses Moody, G, 6-6, 210, Arkansas

He’s good in catch-and-shoot situations and has a nice feel for the game.

10. New Orleans: Josh Giddey, PG, 6-8, 205, Australia

Great size for a point guard. He has a great feel for the game and is a do-everything player.

11. Charlotte: Jalen Johnson, F, 6-9, 210, Duke

Rebounding is one of his main strengths. Defends well and can block shots.

12. San Antonio: Kai Jones, C, 6-11, 220, Texas

Jones needs development but is a freak athlete.

13. Indiana: Davion Mitchell, PG, 6-2, 200, Baylor


He could go higher but would be a steal here. He’s a very good defender and floor leader.

Baylor guard Davion Mitchell, left, attempts to steal the ball away from Stephen F. Austin guard David Kachelries.
Baylor guard Davion Mitchell, left, attempts to steal the ball away from Stephen F. Austin guard David Kachelries during a game last season.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

14. Golden State: Chris Duarte, G, 6-6, 190, Oregon

He’s an older player (24) out of the Dominican Republic who could help right way after four years in college.

15. Washington: Trey Murphy, F, 6-9, 205, Virginia

The versatile Murphy is a big-time athlete. He’s a spot-up shooter who could become a 3-and-D player.

16. Oklahoma City: Corey Kispert, G/F, 6-7, 225, Gonzaga

As an older player (22), he could be ready to help right away. Is an elite scorer with tremendous shooting ability.

17. Memphis: Keon Johnson, G/F, 6-5, 185, Tennessee


An athletic freak with toughness. With a 6-foot-8 wingspan, he’s a really good defender.

18. Oklahoma City: Ziaire Williams, G/F, 6-8, 190, Stanford

The Sierra Canyon product is a great athlete who has tremendous hops. Has a smooth jump shot and is creative.

Stanford forward Ziaire Williams shoots while under pressure from USC guard Drew Peterson.
Stanford forward Ziaire Williams shoots while under pressure from USC guard Drew Peterson during a Pac-12 game last season.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

19. New York: Miles McBride, PG, 6-2, 195, West Virginia

Very good on-ball defender with a 6-9 wingspan who is a tough competitor.

20. Atlanta: Alperen Sengun, F/C, 6-9, 240, Turkey

He is a physical player with a high basketball IQ and an NBA-ready body.

21. New York: Isaiah Jackson, F/C, 6-10, 205, Kentucky


Though slight for the position, Jackson is a good defender and tough.

22. Lakers: Ayo Dosunmu, G, 6-5, 190, Illinois

He is more of a shooting guard but can handle the ball. He has a good step-back three-point shot.

Lakers work out another pair of draft prospects

July 17, 2021

23. Houston: Jared Butler, G, 6-3, 195, Baylor

A very tough-minded combo guard. He has the ability to score by creating his own shot.

24. Houston: Nah’Shon Hyland, SG, 6-3, 170, Virginia Commonwealth

He averaged 19.5 points last season while shooting 44.7% from the field.

25. Clippers: Joshua Primo, G, 6-5, 190, Alabama

Primo did well enough at the NBA combine that he decided to enter the draft after one college season. He’s an athletic wing.

26. Denver: Josh Christopher, SG, 6-4, 215, Arizona State


The local product from Mayfair is an explosive athlete with a 6-8 wingspan.

Arizona State guard Josh Christopher dunks in front of Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin.
Arizona State guard Josh Christopher dunks in front of Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin during a Pac-12 game last season.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

27. Brooklyn: Tre Mann, PG, 6-5, 180, Florida

Has a nice change of pace to his game that makes him a good scorer.

28. Philadelphia: Quentin Grimes, SG, 6-5, 210, Houston

A really good three-point shooter, making 40.3% of them, that makes him a 3-and-D prospect.

29. Phoenix: Joel Ayayi, G, 6-5, 180, Gonzaga

He is a solid playmaker with tremendous quickness who can run point or play off the ball.

30. Utah: Jaden Springer, G, 6-4, 215, Tennessee

His defense is very good. He’s a tough combo guard who shot 43.5% from three-point range.