2021 NBA Draft

NBA G League Elite Camp To Take Place June 19-21

After having to cancel it in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA will once again hold its G League Elite Camp prior to the draft combine this year, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says the event will take place from June 19-21. The combine will follow, in the same location, from June 21-27.

In 2019, after the NBA revamped it, the Elite Camp consisted of 40 NBA G League invitees participating in the first half of the event, followed by 40 top draft-eligible players (who weren’t invited to the actual combine) taking part in the second half. It’s unclear if the format will remain the same this year.

The list of draft-eligible players who took part in the 2019 G League Elite Camp included a handful of prospects who were eventually drafted, such as Terance Mann, Cody Martin, Justin Wright-Foreman, Reggie Perry, and Dewan Hernandez.

Many of the draft-eligible participants in the 2019 Elite Camp also made it to the NBA after going undrafted, including Oshae Brissett, Chris Clemons, Tyler Cook, Tacko Fall, DaQuan Jeffries, Caleb Martin, Justin Robinson, and Max Strus.

Several players from the G League portion of the 2019 Elite Camp – such as Juan Toscano-Anderson, Norvel Pelle, Mychal Mulder, and Jordan McLaughlin – have also played in the NBA during the last couple years.

When the NBA announced its plans for the 2021 draft combine, the league noted that the event will be subject to “evolving health conditions.” It’s safe to say that caveat will apply to the G League Elite Camp as well.

USC’s Evan Mobley Enters 2021 NBA Draft

One of 2021’s top prospects, USC big man Evan Mobley, confirmed today that he’s entering the NBA draft and will go pro after a single season with the Trojans (Twitter link).

Mobley, who will turn 20 in June, averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks with a .578 FG% in 33 games (33.9 MPG) for USC in 2020/21. The seven-footer was a Consensus All-American who was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year.

Mobley is part of the top tier of prospects in this year’s draft class, ranking No. 2 on ESPN’s big board. He’ll likely receive consideration to be the first player off the board in July and is extremely unlikely to fall further than fourth or fifth overall.

As Jonathan Givony notes in his profile of Mobley at ESPN.com, the big man has an “ideal physical profile” for the NBA level and has the potential to be an elite rim protector. While he only knocked down 30% of his three-point attempts as a Trojan, Mobley has the “touch and mechanics” to improve that rate at the NBA level over time, says Givony.

Our running list of early entrants for the 2021 NBA draft can be found right here.

Cam Thomas, Joe Wieskamp Enter 2021 NBA Draft

LSU freshman guard Cameron Thomas announced on Twitter on Thursday that he will declare for the 2021 NBA draft and intends to sign with an agent.

Thomas, who joins teammates Javonte Smart and Trendon Watford in the 2021 draft pool, was the Tigers’ leading scorer in 2020/21, averaging 23.0 points per contest in 29 games (34.0 MPG). Although the 19-year-old struggled a little with his shot from the floor (40.6%) and from beyond the three-point line (32.5%), his ability to get to the free throw line (7.6 attempts per game) and make his foul shots (88.2%) was a big plus.

Thomas currently ranks 15th overall on ESPN’s big board, making him a probable first-round pick. In his scouting report on Thomas, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony notes that the 6’4″ shooting guard is a talented scorer but can be indifferent at times on defense, especially off the ball.

Meanwhile, Iowa swingman Joe Wieskamp – the No. 82 player on ESPN’s list – announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he’ll go through the draft process while maintaining his NCAA eligibility.

Weiskamp is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 14.8 PPG and 6.6 RPG with an impressive .462 3PT% in 31 games (29.3 MPG). If he keeps his name in the draft after testing the waters, he’ll be one of the top outside shooters available.

Duke’s Matthew Hurt, Others Declare For Draft

Duke sophomore power forward Matthew Hurt is declaring for the 2021 NBA draft and will hire an agent, forgoing his remaining college eligibility, he told Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Although the Blue Devils didn’t have a great season, missing out on a spot in the NCAA tournament, Hurt was a bright spot. He averaged 18.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in 24 games (32.7 MPG), posting an impressive shooting line of .556/.444/.724.

Hurt’s performance earned him a spot on the All-ACC First Team, as well as the conference’s Most Improved Player award. He’s the No. 48 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a realistic candidate to be drafted in July.

Several more prospects who are part of ESPN’s top-100 list have also announced that they’re entering the draft. Here’s the latest:

  • Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior): On the heels of winning national title, Mayer announced on Instagram that he’ll enter the draft while maintaining his NCAA eligibility. The No. 53 prospect on ESPN’s board came off the bench again for the Bears in 2020/21, averaging 8.1 PPG with a .395 3PT%.
  • Santi Aldama, F, Loyola Maryland (sophomore): Aldama averaged a double-double (21.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG) with a .513/.368/.686 shooting line in 17 games (35.0 MPG) as a sophomore, earning All-Patriot League First Team honors. The No. 57 prospect on ESPN’s board, Aldama told Jonathan Givony that he’s testing the draft waters.
  • David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore): Johnson, the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s list, announced on Twitter that he’ll be forgoing his remaining college eligibility and going pro. He enters the draft after a sophomore season in which he averaged 12.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 3.2 APG in 19 games (35.1 MPG).
  • Isaiah Wong, G, Miami (sophomore): Wong announced on Twitter that he intends to test the draft waters, leaving the door open to return to the Hurricanes. The 6’3″ guard averaged 17.1 PPG in 27 games (35.5 MPG) in 2020/21, earning himself a spot on the All-ACC Third Team.

And-Ones: S. Leonard, Forde, Draft, Olympics

Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 as a coach, passed away this week at age 88, the Pacers confirmed in a series of statements.

The longtime Indiana native played college ball for Hoosiers, then eventually returned to Indiana to coach the Pacers from 1968-80. He won an NCAA title as a player in 1953 and led the Pacers to three ABA championships as a coach in 1970, 1972, and 1973.

“Pacers fans will remember Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard as the spirit of our franchise,” Pacers owner Herb Simon said in a statement. “With a charisma, intensity, and wit to match his nickname, Slick made us champions. He was our biggest fan and our most loving critic, and he personified Pacers basketball for generations of Hoosier families.”

Our condolences go out to Leonard’s friends and family.

Here are a few more items from around the basketball world:

  • In an entertaining piece for The Ringer, Yaron Weitzman takes a closer look at former EPL executive Mike Forde, who has developed a reputation as a trusted consultant for NBA teams looking to identify candidates for front office vacancies.
  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link) has confirmed with the NBA that the four teams involved in the play-in tournament who don’t earn playoff spots will be in the draft lottery, ranked in inverse order of regular season record. In other words, a No. 7 seed that loses two play-in games and doesn’t make the postseason could theoretically have a shot at the No. 1 overall pick.
  • After a postponement in 2020, all indications are that the Tokyo Olympics remain on track to take place in the summer of 2021. Dan Robson of The Athletic examines the “uniquely challenging” event, where Team USA’s men’s basketball team will be looking to win gold for a fourth straight time.

Checking In On Traded 2021 First-Round Picks

It’s been nearly two months since we checked in on the status of 2021’s traded first-round picks, and there have been plenty of shifts in the NBA standings since then. Those changes have an impact on where in the draft certain traded picks will land, as well as whether or not some protected picks will change hands at all.

With just over a month left in the 2020/21 regular season, it’s worth revisiting the traded first-round picks for 2021. With the help of our reverse standings tool, here’s our latest look at which of those traded picks are most and least likely to change hands, and which ones are still up in the air:


Picks that will definitely change hands:

  • Knicks acquiring Mavericks‘ pick (unprotected).
  • Rockets acquiring Bucks‘ pick (top-nine protected swap).

The only unprotected traded pick for the 2021 draft, the Mavs’ selection currently projects to be the No. 21 overall pick. That would be a reasonably good outcome for the Knicks, but there’s even more upside here — since Dallas is currently the No. 7 seed in the West, a win in the play-in tournament may be necessary to secure a playoff spot.

The NBA has yet to clarify exactly how draft positioning will be affected by the play-in results, but presumably if the Mavs don’t clinch a postseason berth in the play-in, that pick would move into the lottery.

Meanwhile, the Rockets will acquire the Bucks’ pick, currently projected to land at No. 24 overall, in a swap for their own second-rounder (No. 32, for now).


Picks that definitely won’t change hands:

  • Grizzlies acquiring Jazz‘s pick (1-7 and 15-30 protection).
  • Pelicans acquiring Lakers‘ pick (8-30 protection).
  • Rockets acquiring Pistons‘ pick (top-16 protected).

The Jazz are definitely making the postseason and the Pistons definitely aren’t, so their picks (currently projected to be No. 30 and No. 4, respectively) won’t change hands.

The Grizzlies should at least be able to count on getting Utah’s first-rounder in 2022, when it will become top-six protected. It may be a while before the Rockets get a pick from Detroit though — that first-rounder remains heavily protected in 2022 (top-16), 2023 (top-18), and 2024 (top-18) before those protections start to loosen a little.

As for the Lakers‘ pick, it isn’t technically a lock yet — there’s theoretically a scenario in which L.A. misses the playoffs and then moves into the top four in the lottery, sending its pick to the Pelicans. But that’s an extreme long shot. The Lakers’ pick is at No. 23 for now.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Knicks have the ability to swap their own 2021 first-rounder for the Clippers‘ pick. At the moment though, New York’s pick would be No. 15 and L.A.’s would be No. 26, so that won’t happen.


Still up in the air:

  • Warriors acquiring Timberwolves‘ pick (top-three protected).
  • Magic acquiring Bulls‘ pick (top-four protected).
  • Thunder acquiring Warriors‘ pick (top-20 protected).

That Timberwolves pick will be a fascinating one to watch in the lottery. If Minnesota finishes with a bottom-three record, there will be a 40.1% chance it remains in the top three.

The Warriors will actually be rooting for the Wolves to finish with the NBA’s worst record, since in that scenario, there’s a 59.9% chance the pick lands at No. 4 or No. 5. If the Wolves instead have the third-worst record, the pick would be just as likely to land in the top three, but could slip as far as No. 6 or No. 7.

The Magic will have a good chance of landing the Bulls‘ pick, which currently projects to be the No. 10 overall selection. If Chicago remains in that spot, there would only be about a 14% chance of the pick moving up into the top four.

Golden State’s own pick, which currently projects to be No. 13, is unlikely to be sent to the Thunder unless the Warriors get hot late in the season. Assuming the Warriors’ first-rounder is protected, Oklahoma City would instead receive Minnesota’s second-round pick (currently No. 31).


Latest on the Rockets/Thunder/Heat/Blazers/Nets situation:

As a reminder, this series of trades and pick swaps is too convoluted to fit cleanly into any of the above sections. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

  1. The Thunder will have the right to swap either their own first-round pick or the Heat’s first-round pick for the Rockets‘ first-round pick, but only if Houston’s pick doesn’t fall in the top four. In other words, if Houston gets a top-four pick, the Rockets will keep their own first-rounder; if not, the Thunder will get the two most favorable picks of their own, the Heat’s, and the Rockets’, and Houston will get the least favorable.
  2. Once the first step is complete, the Rockets will be left with at least one first-round pick, and almost certainly two, since they’re also owed the Trail Blazers‘ first-rounder (top-14 protected). They would then have the right to swap either of those picks for the Nets‘ first-rounder (unprotected).

As of today, the Rockets have the second-worst record in the league, giving them a 52.1% chance of having their pick land in its top-four protected range on lottery night. In that scenario, Houston would keep its first-rounder (tentatively No. 2) and would get the Trail Blazers’ pick at No. 22. The Thunder would keep their own pick (No. 6, pending lottery results) and receive the Heat’s first-rounder (No. 17), while the Nets would hang onto their own selection (No. 27).

On the other hand, if the Rockets’ pick falls outside of the top four, the Thunder would acquire it along with their own first-rounder, while Houston would get Miami’s pick at No. 17.


No matter how the rest of the season plays out, it’s safe to assume that lottery night on June 22 will have massive implications for the Timberwolves, Warriors, Rockets, and Thunder, and potentially for the Magic and Bulls as well.

While the Pistons, Cavaliers, and a handful of other lottery teams will also be invested in the results that night, the outcome won’t be quite as all-or-nothing for those clubs.

Trey Murphy, Others Declare For 2021 NBA Draft

Virginia junior shooting guard Trey Murphy III has decided to declare for the 2021 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced today (via Twitter).

Murphy, who began his college career at Rice, transferred to Virginia for the 2020/21 season and started 20 of his 25 games for the club, averaging 11.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per contest.

While those numbers are relatively modest, Murphy has displayed an impressive shooting stroke from beyond the arc throughout his college career — he knocked down 43.3% of his three-point attempts as a junior, increasing his career average to 40.1%. He’s considered one of the best outside shooters in this year’s class.

Murphy currently ranks as the No. 42 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a strong candidate to be drafted if he decides to go pro.

Here are a few more updates on early entrants declaring for the draft:

  • Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior): Zegarowski will enter the draft, he announced on Twitter, and the wording of his statement suggests he intends to go pro. After making the All-Big East Second Team in 2020, he earned a spot on the First Team in 2021, having averaged 15.8 PPG and 4.3 APG on .464/.421/.786 shooting in 29 games (33.6 MPG).
  • Dawson Garcia, F, Marquette (freshman): Garcia announced on Instagram that he’ll test the draft waters without hiring an agent. He averaged 13.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 27 games (29.7 MPG) in his first college season, making the Big East All-Freshman team.
  • Balsa Koprivica, C, Florida State (sophomore): Koprivica’s announcement on Twitter declaring his intent to enter the draft didn’t mention anything about maintaining his eligibility, so he’s likely going pro. As a sophomore in 2020/21, he recorded 9.1 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 24 games (19.5 MPG) as FSU’s primary starting center.
  • Kevin Samuel, C, TCU (junior): Samuel, who has averaged 8.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2.2 BPG in 95 games (26.1 MPG) across three college seasons, announced on Twitter that he’ll enter the draft while maintaining his NCAA eligibility. Samuel also tested the draft waters two years ago following his freshman season.
  • Trevion Williams, F, Purdue (junior): Coming off an All-Big Ten season in which he posted a career-best 15.5 PPG and 9.1 RPG in 28 contests (25.1 MPG), Williams has opted to test the draft waters, he announced on Instagram.

Aaron Henry Among Prospects Entering 2021 NBA Draft

Michigan State junior swingman Aaron Henry is entering the 2021 NBA draft, as the school confirmed today (via Twitter). While Henry could test the waters while retaining his college eligibility, he stated in his announcement that he intends to hire an agent, and it sounds like he’s prepared to go pro.

A 6’6″ guard/forward, Henry had his best college season in 2020/21, averaging 15.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 3.6 APG in 28 games (32.5 MPG) for the Spartans. His three-point shooting dipped to 29.6%, but he showed the ability to make those shots with more regularity in his first two college seasons, knocking down 35.7% of his attempts.

Henry is currently the No. 32 prospect on ESPN’s big board for the 2021 draft, making him a good candidate to have his name called on draft night in July.

Houston junior guard Quentin Grimes (No. 64) and Kansas junior guard Ochai Agbaji (No. 66) are among the other early entrants who have recently announced their intentions to declare for the 2021 draft, as detailed in press releases from Houston and Kansas. Grimes intends to go pro, while Agbaji will just be testing the waters for now.

Here are a few more updates on early entrants joining the draft pool:

  • Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas (freshman): Like his teammate Agbaji, Wilson will retain his NCAA eligibility while he goes through the pre-draft process, the Jayhawks announced in a press release.
  • Mac McClung, G, Texas Tech (junior): After transferring from Georgetown to Texas Tech in 2020, McClung has once again entered the transfer portal, he announced on Sunday (via Twitter). As he did a year ago, McClung will go through the draft process.
  • Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (sophomore): Pippen, the son of former NBA star Scottie Pippen, announced on Twitter that he’s testing the draft waters.
  • Duane Washington, G, Ohio State (junior): Washington announced on Twitter that he’s entering the draft, and the wording of his statement suggests he expects to keep his name in rather than returning to school.

Draft Notes: Robinson-Earl, Moody, Ayayi, Wiggins, Ayala, Jefferson

Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is signing with an agent and will enter the draft, he announced on his Twitter feed. Robinson-Earl is ranked No. 46 overall and No. 9 among power forward on ESPN’s Best Available list. The 6’9” sophomore averaged 15.7 PPG and 8.5 RPG for the Wildcats this season.

We have more draft decisions:

  • Arkansas swingman Moses Moody is headed for the draft, according to an ESPN story. Moody, who made his announcement on ESPN’s The Jump, is a potential first-rounder — he’s currently ranked No. 21 overall on the Best Available list. The one-and-done prospect averaged 16.8 PPG and 5.8 RPG for the Razorbacks.
  • Gonzaga swingman Joel Ayayi has signed with an agent and will enter the draft, CBS’ Jon Rothstein tweets. The 6’4” Ayayi averaged 12.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 2.7 APG for the national championship runners-up. He’s ranked No. 62 by ESPN.
  • Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins will test the waters but maintain his college eligibility, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Ranked No. 86 by ESPN, the Terrapins junior shooting guard averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.5 APG. Maryland’s top scorer, junior guard Eric Ayala (15.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.2 APG), will follow in Wiggins’ footsteps, Rothstein tweets.
  • Creighton’s Damien Jefferson will forgo his additional year of eligibility and enter the draft, Rothstein tweets. The 6’5” Jefferson averaged 11.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG this season.

Potential Lottery Pick Scottie Barnes Enters Draft

Florida State forward and potential lottery selection Scottie Barnes will sign with an agent and enter this year’s draft, Jon Rothstein of CBS tweets.

Barnes is currently ranked No. 10 overall and No. 3 among small forwards on ESPN’s Best Available list. The one-and-done Barnes averaged 10.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.0 APG and 1.5 SPG in his lone college campaign, which spanned 24 games (seven starts). He scored a season-high 21 points against Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament final.

Barnes is essentially a point forward who projects as a versatile defender capable of guarding any position. He has a 7’2” wingspan and a solid frame, though his perimeter shooting is a work in progress (27.5% on 3-point attempts).