The Detroit Pistons won the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft last week, giving the team a plethora of options.
Does general manager Troy Weaver select top prospect Cade Cunningham or trade out of the slot? He has left open all options ahead of the July 29 draft.
SANKOFA: Cade Cunningham is the perfect player in today’s NBA. Pistons must take him No. 1
Here, our Pistons beat reporter Omari Sankofa gives his third mock draft, the first since the lottery:
NBA mock draft
1. Pistons: Cade Cunningham, G/F, Oklahoma State
Cunningham is one of the best prospects in recent memory — a 6-foot-8 primary scorer and lead playmaker with few holes in his game. The Pistons get their franchise player.
[ Pistons post-NBA draft lottery mailbag: Breaking down Cade Cunningham debate ]
2. Houston Rockets: Evan Mobley, C, USC
Big men like Mobley are rare. He’s 7 feet tall with a 7-4 wingspan, mobile enough to defend point guards on switches and blocked nearly three shots per game as a freshman. He also had good vision, soft touch and can put the ball on the floor, indicating that he could eventually become a featured scorer as well.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite
The Cavaliers’ backcourt currently consists of two point guards — Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Green is the most talented player of the three, being an uber-athletic wing who can score at all three levels. With Garland being the best passer of the three, Sexton could be the odd man out.
4. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga
Kyle Lowry is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Suggs, who has plenty of Lowry in his game as a playmaker and strong defender, can step in as an instant-impact point guard and solid fit next to Fred VanVleet.
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5. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite
After moving on from Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic, the Magic need an injection of talent. Kuminga was an inefficient scorer during his lone season in the G League, but he’s an athletic 6-8 wing who can handle the ball and has the tools to grow into a featured offensive role.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Scottie Barnes, G, Florida State
One of the risers of last week’s combine, Barnes profiles well as a Draymond Green-type of player. He’s 6-9 with a long wingspan, can really handle and pass the ball and is a downhill scorer. If he can develop his outside shooting, he has a chance to become a star.
7. Golden State Warriors: James Bouknight, G, UConn
A pure bucket-getter, Bouknight is one of the best ball-handlers in the draft and can finish at the rim in a variety of creative ways. He wasn’t a great shooter in college, but there’s reason to believe he’ll improve in the NBA.
8. Orlando Magic: Franz Wagner, F, Michigan
Outside of the top five, there aren’t many players in this draft with obvious star potential. After taking Kuminga, the Magic would do well to add a do-it-all forward in Wagner who projects to be a high-level role player.
9. Sacramento Kings: Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee
One of the best athletes in draft combine history, Johnson set a record with a 48-inch vertical last week. He’s the definition of quick-twitch athleticism. The challenge for the Kings will be helping him develop as a shooter, ball-handler and decision-maker.
[ Here are 3 Pistons targets that could be second-round picks ]
10. New Orleans Pelicans: Moses Moody
New Orleans needs more shooting to open space for Zion Williamson in the paint. Moody is one of the best 3-and-D prospects in the draft and is young enough to continue adding to his game.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Alperen Sengun, C, Beskitas
Charlotte has had a longstanding need for a center, and that need is even greater this offseason with Cody Zeller entering free agency. Sengun is a highly productive Turkish big man with a bevy of post moves, strong rebounding and shot-blocking and upside as a shooter and ball-handler.
12. San Antonio Spurs: Josh Giddey, G/F, Adelaide
San Antonio has long had success with international prospects. Giddey, an Australian, possesses great court vision and is a strong rebounder. He’s big for his skillset (6-8), and his ceiling is tied to the development of his outside shot.
13. Indiana Pacers: Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor
Perhaps the biggest star of this year’s March Madness outside of Suggs, Mitchell is one of the best two-way prospects in the draft. He’s an outstanding shooter and defender who should immediately step in as an effective backup point guard for Indiana.
14. Golden State Warriors: Corey Kispert, G/F, Gonzaga
The Warriors are in something of a transitory phase, toeing the line between extending their championship window and preparing for a post-Stephen Curry and Draymond Green future. Kispert is someone who helps both areas, being one of the best shooters in the draft. He should be able to contribute from day one.
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