2021 NBA Mock Draft 3.0: How the picks should fall

Kai Jones, NBA Mock Draft (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kai Jones, NBA Mock Draft (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The 2021 NBA Draft is right around the corner, with under two weeks until Adam Silver walks on stage to put the Pistons on the clock. With the passing of the international withdrawal deadline, the upcoming rookie class is now set. The only question is, who will play for which team?

As of now, the Philadelphia 76ers own the 28th and 50th picks. We will only mock the first round today, though a full 60-pick mock will drop before July 29. Also, to keep things interesting, this NBA mock draft will focus on my preferences, and operate as though teams are taking my advice into account. This is not a strictly predictive piece.

So, without further ado… with the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select…

. PG. Detroit Pistons. Cade Cunningham. 1. player. 64

2021 NBA Mock Draft — 1. Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons

There’s enough smoke to earnestly believe the Pistons are making this harder than it needs to be. Evan Mobley and Jalen Green are super cool, and will make great NBA players one day, but Cade Cunningham stands alone atop this class. He is the clear choice.

For Detroit, Cunningham immediately assumes the mantle of franchise player. He’s a 6-foot-8 point guard, unleashing slick handles, remarkable poise, and confident shot-making from anywhere on the floor. He’s not an elite athlete, but his ability to manipulate the defense is unrivaled among his peers. He sees the floor with 360-degree vision, and is capable of making high-difficulty passes on the move.

The Pistons can proceed comfortably with Cunningham and Killian Hayes as a two-pronged playmaking duo in the starting five. Jerami Grant provides the steady presence of a veteran leader, while Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and Sekou Doumbouya complete a tantalizing young core.