Posted on May 5, 2021
We know more about which Pac-12 players are declaring early for the 2021 NBA Draft and which ones aren’t, creating a new portrait of how the 2021 NBA Draft is going to look for Pac-12 prospects.
This year is a solid class for Pac-12 alums with a top flight prospect and a few more players who could easily go in the Lottery.
Here are some of the top storylines to watch for the Pac-12 as the Draft approaches, followed by my First Round projections.
How high will Evan Mobley go?
USC’s Evan Mobley is one of the best prospects to ever come out of the Pac-12. In the earlier NBA eras, he would be a guaranteed Number One pick, but the game has changed a bit, and he will plummet as far as the third spot now.
Where he lands in those first few spots will be super interesting, though, as we look to see which team builds their future around the Trojan big man—and if he can even challenge Cade Cunninghum as the top overall pick.
How high can Johnny Juzang fly?
The UCLA breakout star probably boosted his Draft stock more than any other player in this year’s NCAA Tournament. He was unstoppable at times and has a killer wing game that makes him a really nice NBA prospect.
Right now, most mocks have him in the middle of the first round, and I could see him getting comfortably in the lottery leading up to the Draft.
Can Chris Duarte get into the first round?
The Ducks have made a living producing those great Pac-12 players who end up slipping into the back of the first round. Duarte seems like the next in line. He’s good enough though that he could even go as high as the middle of the first too.
Here’s a look at how I think the First Round will play out, based on a mock draft simulator I used to create the order.
1. Orlando – Cade Cunningham, Point Guard, Oklahoma State
2. Minnesota – Jalen Suggs, Point Guard, Gonzaga
3. Detroit – Evan Mobley, Center, USC
I think Mobley is a toss up with Suggs to be the second pick, and it will come down to which team gets it and what they need. Mobley absolutely doesn’t fall past the third spot, and would be a great score for the team in the third slot. He feels like a guy who could be an all-star by his second year in the league.
4. Cleveland – Jalen Green, Shooting Guard, Fresno, CA
5. Oklahoma City – Jonathan Kuminga, Small Forward, Congo
6. Oklahoma City – Keon Johnson, Shooting Guard, Tennessee
7. Sacramento – Scottie Barnes, Small Forward, Florida State
8. Toronto – Moses Moody, Shooting Guard, Arkansas
9. Orlando – Corey Kispert, Shooting Guard, Gonzaga
10. New Orleans – Davion Mitchell, Point Guard, Baylor
11. Washington – Jalen Johnson, Small Forward, Duke
12. Indiana – Kai Jones, Center, Texas
13. Golden State – Ziaire Williams, Shooting Guard, Stanford
A tall, long athlete with the ability to shoot, Williams has always been seen as a great NBA prospect and he should land somewhere at the end of the lottery. He would be a great fit for a team like the Warriors as a player who could plug in on the perimeter, do a bunch of different things and score.
14. San Antonio – Franz Wagner, Small Forward, Michigan
15. Charlotte – James Bouknight, Shooting Guard, UConn
16. Memphis – Johnny Juzang, Small Forward, UCLA
The NCAA Tournament’s breakout star has turned himself practically into a lottery pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually rises higher than this. For now, I think he gets to the middle of the first and a team that needs his versatile scoring scoops him up.
17. Houston – Josh Giddey, Point Guard, Australia
18. Boston – Alperen Sengun, Center, Turkey
19. Atlanta – Jaden Springer, Shooting Guard, Tennessee
20. Houston – Usman Garuba, Power Forward, Spain
21. New York – Isaiah Jackson, Power Forward, Kentucky
22. New York – Josh Christopher, Shooting Guard, Arizona State
The five-star recruit didn’t explode in his one year at Arizona State, but those intangibles that made him such a big recruit also makes him a great NBA prospect. A team with two picks here, like the Knicks, could use one to take on more of a project like him and hope it all comes together.
23. Lakers – Ayo Dosenmu, Point Guard, Illinois
24. Houston – Day’Ron Sharpe, Power Forward, North Carolina
25. Philadelphia – BJ Boston, Shooting Guard, Kentucky
26. Denver – Miles McBridge, Point Guard, West Virginia
27. Clippers – Jared Butler, Point Guard, Baylor
28. Brooklyn – Chris Duarte, Point Guard, Oregon
Yet another stellar Duck college player who looks like a nice one to snag at the end of the first round. It’s the perfect place for a good team that could use a nice bench player who can contribute right away to jump in and grab a player like Duarte.
29. Phoenix – David Duke, Point Guard, Providence
30. Utah – Greg Brown, Small Forward, Texas
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