There’s help on the way for teams such as the Pistons and Timberwolves, who have the worst record in their respective conferences.
The 2021 NBA draft class is projected to be stronger than usual, particularly at the top where five players have emerged as potential All-Stars.
Most of the draft buzz has centered on Oklahoma State freshman guard Cade Cunningham. His college coach calls him a cross between Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway. He has also drawn comparisons to Luka Doncic.
Cunningham’s 40-point explosion against Oklahoma on Saturday further solidified his reputation as the draft’s top prospect (he only took eight shots and scored 15 points in a rematch on Monday). The 6’8’’ Cunningham is averaging 19.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 3.5 APG and could turn into a triple-double machine in the pros.
There are several other prospects who could legitimately argue they deserve to top the list. USC seven-footer Evan Mobley is averaging 16.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 2.9 BPG in his freshman season. Mobley is the prototype of a modern big man with elite rim protecting skills. Though the NBA has become an increasingly small-ball league, there’s always room for an athletic big man (Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis).
Gonzaga freshman guard Jalen Suggs hasn’t piled up the stats like Cunningham and Mobley but he’s got a good excuse – he’s surrounded by better players. The top prospect on the nation’s top-ranked team is averaging 13.9, PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.5 APG, and 2.0 SPG. He could excel at either guard spot at the next level.
Then there’s the G League Ignite duo of Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. Green is averaging 17.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 2.7 APG and shooting 37.9% beyond the arc while facing experienced professionals. Green has the ability to be an explosive scorer in the Zach LaVine mold and can terrorize defenders in the open court.
Kuminga, a 6’8’’ forward, has been better than advertised while averaging 16.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 2.8 APG. He has the physical tools to step right into a starting lineup and create mismatches at either forward spot. He has shown superior shot-creating ability in the Orlando bubble.
That leads us to our topic of the day: Should Cade Cunningham be the No. 1 pick of the draft or do you feel Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green or Jonathan Kuminga will be an even better pro?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.