The 2021 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, July 29 at 8 PM ET. With under a week until the festivities, nothing is set. Several teams have already been involved in trade rumors, from Detroit at No. 1 to the Sixers at 28. With a Bradley Beal trade potentially imminent, and a lot of lottery teams hungry to improve, the days ahead could be even more unpredictable than usual.
That said, we are getting a better understanding for the shape of this year’s class. In this installment of our NBA mock draft, we have a lot of movement in the top-10, as well as some new faces at the back end of the first round. Also, for the first time, we have issued predictions for all 60 picks.
If you wish to read a breakdown of the top 60 prospects, regardless of team fit, you can read our Big Board. On Tuesday, we will release our annual Sixers Draft Guide, with an updated mock draft, prospect rankings, and plenty of Sixers-specific analysis.
Now, with the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select…
2021 NBA Mock Draft — 1. Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have refused to tip their hand, but when push comes to shove, there’s no reason to believe Cade Cunningham won’t be the pick. If Detroit really wants Jalen Green or Evan Mobley, then expect a different team — probably Houston — to trade up and grab Cunningham. He is the unrivaled No. 1 on this writer’s board.
Cunningham would immediately assume the mantle of franchise cornerstone in Detroit, where GM Troy Weaver has built a fascinating young core around Jerami Grant. The fit between Cunningham and last year’s No. 7 pick, Killian Hayes, has been a point of debate, but Cunningham’s skill set is varied enough to survive with another point guard. Even if the fit isn’t perfect, in Detroit’s situation, you grab the generational talent. Very few prospects this decade stack up to Cunningham on paper.
At 6-foot-8, Cunningham is a three-level scorer and playmaker with advanced feel. He is not the greatest athlete, which is the only real knock, but he’s too big and skilled not to figure it out. He has craft off the dribble, excellent court vision, and a reliable jump shot. He should also become a versatile defensive weapon next to Grant and Saddiq Bey in the Detroit frontcourt.
BIG BOARD RANKING: 1