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Way Too Early 2021 NBA Re-Draft

The NBA season has only just been underway and teams have not played more than 30 games. Before social media, lottery picks were given 2-3 years before they were judged but yet this year people were willing to write off Cade Cunningham after only a couple games. This exercise is most certainly going to make me look stupid as 30 games is not nearly a big enough sample size to judge the order they were selected. Regardless of what I will look like I am going to attempt to do it. Although this is titled a re-draft, I do not want to think about team needs so this will be more of a big board with teams not even mentioned. After each player, I will list where they were actually selected in the draft as well as where I had them on my big board because most of my beliefs will still remain as it has only been 30 games.

Honorable Mentions

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Oklahoma City Thunder

Sharife Cooper, PG, Atlanta Hawks

Day’Ron Sharpe, PF, Brooklyn Nets

Kessler Edwards, SF, Brooklyn Nets

Luka Garza, C, Detroit Pistons

Charles Bassey, C, Philadelphia 76ers

1. Evan Mobley, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

Real Selection: 3

My Pre Draft Big Board: 4

For anyone who has been watching the NBA this season, this is obvious. Evan Mobley has been incredible this year as a two way threat on a surprising playoff team. Offensively Mobley is gifted as a scorer and especially as a playmaker out of the big position. It is on the defensive end that Mobley shows his exceptional potential. Many see Mobley as a Chris Bosh type player but I believe Kevin Garnett is a better comparison. I placed Mobley at 4 in my pre draft big board because I feared low body mass would make it difficult for him to defend. Although against some of the more dominant players (Jokic, Embiid, Davis Towns, Gobert) he has a tendency to be pushed around, Mobley does a great job of using his wingspan and defensive IQ to alter shots. Very rarely are rookie bigs so good and Mobley is already posting a 101 defensive rating while registering minutes that are evenly distrubuted amongst small forward, power forward, and center positions. Mobley’s rise to number one has little to do with the rest of the draft class and more to do with his incredible play and insane potential.

2. Cade Cunningham, PG, Detroit Pistons

Real Selection: 1

My Pre Draft Big Board: 1

As stated before, Cade being number 2 does not have much to do with him as it has much more to do with Evan Mobley. Cunningham started the season slow but has started to play a lot better as of recent. Over the last seven games (11/30-12/16) Cunningham has averaged roughly 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block while shooting 48% from the field and 50% from 3. Those aren’t “good” stats, those are great stats that would put him in the all star game most years. Now that he has settled in Cunningham is showing why he was the number 1 pick and it is still very possible then in ten years we say that he was the best player in this draft.

3. Scottie Barnes, PF, Toronto Raptors

Real Selection: 4

My Pre Draft Big Board: 5

Scottie Barnes was labled by many as a project but he has made an impact almost immediately in the league. Barnes makes his name on the defensive end as a rare player that can guard nearly anyone in the league. Offensively, Barnes is much more advanced than expected averaging 15 and 8 already. Although he is only attempting a little over two a game, Scottie Barnes is shooting 36% from 3. Barnes will never be the best player on a contendor but one day he could make a damn good second best player on a team.

4. Jonathon Kuminga, PF, Golden State Warriors

Real Selection: 7

My Pre Draft Big Board: 10

I’m surprised, your surprised, it’s weird. I was quite the opposite of a Jonathon Kuminga fan before the draft and I even struggled to put him where I did. Considering he is only averaging 4.4 points a game, most would assume he is ranked the same if not lower than what he was before the draft, but that is not the case. The potential that Kuminga has showed is unignorable and is why he ranks so high on this list. Funny thing is Kuminga has performed better in NBA games than he does in the G-League games. Kuminga is a defensive STOPPER and has the potential to be an all-defensive team player one day. At 6’7 with wide shoulders and long arms, Kuminga has the frame to deadly on offense, especially if you combine it with the ball handling tools he already has. Kuminga still can not shoot and that may be the biggest barier blocking him from being great one day. On December 19th, Kuminga scored 26 points while shooting 60% from the field. This may be a small glimpse at what is to come with Kuminga.

5. Alperen Sengun, C, Houston Rockets

Real Selection: 16

My Pre Draft Big Board: 13

In a non big man era it is extremly hard to judge big men. In order to guage where he is in terms of devolopment, let’s look at how his rookie season is going compared to those that I compared him to before draft night.

PPGRPGAPGPERDefensive Rating
Alperan Sengun9.24.72.719.0107
Nikola Vucevic5.54.80.614.397
Domantas Sabonis5.
Pau Gasol17.68.92.719.5105

When viewing it like this it is very promising to see where Sengun is. With the exception of the hall of famer, Sengun stacks up very well with all of these players. Sengun has a bag full of post moves and can get rebounds but what makes him special is his ability to create for others. The one major area that he needs to improve on is his defense as you can see by his 108 defensive rating. There is a ceiling on how good Sengun will be by being undersized but there is still plenty of room left in the NBA for centers.

6. Franz Wagner, SF, Orlando Magic

Real Selection: 8

My Pre Draft Big Board: 8

Wagner has been just incredible this season. Despite playing on a terrible Orlando Magic team, Wagner is showing to be an extremely valuable wing. Wagner does everything on the court and has nearly no holes in his game. Wagner is averaging 15 points a game while rebounding and playmaking for others. Wagner has yet to be exceptional on the defensive end but he has the tools and size to be at worst an above average defender. Wagner has high level 3 and D potential, it is easy to see him blossoming into a Gordon Hayward or Andrei Kiralenko type player.

7. Jalen Suggs, PG, Orlando Magic

Real Selection: 5

My Pre Draft Big Board: 2

No I have not given up on Jalen Suggs. I am the same guy that has not sold his Killian Hayes stock after I ranked him as my number one player before the 2020 NBA Draft. Suggs is shooting 34% from the field, 26% from 3, averages 3 turnovers, and has negative win shares. Those are all reasons to not believe in Suggs nevermind that he is not even playing good defense. With that being said, Jalen Suggs is a true winner and has found a way to do it at every level. If you look at Kyle Lowry or Chauncey Billups, they both also had significant struggles their rookie seasons. I still believe Suggs is an athletic, playmaking, winner, that still has a role to play in this league.

8. Jalen Green, SG, Houston Rockets

Real Selection: 2

My Pre Draft Big Board: 3

I was a Jalen Green believer but he is one of the few players in this draft I am totally out on. I’m gonna do the graph thing again just to prove a point.

Jalen Green14.03.12.338.2%27.8%8.0116
Zach LaVine10.12.83.642.2%34.1%11.3114
Bradley Beal13.93.82.441.0%38.6%13.6105
Vince Carter18.
Kobe Bryant7.61.91.341.7%37.5%14.4105
Tracy McGrady7.04.21.545.0%34.1%17.4109

Yes those players are hall of famers, but those were the type of comparisons that Green was getting before the draft. Green is the single lowest out if the six in: field goal percentage, 3 point percentage, PER, and defensive rating. Now Jalen Green could still end up being a good player and if he is lucky maybe an all star, but he will not be any of the players that he was once compared to. Jalen Green is a high level scorer but he is incredibly ineffecient, a poor defender, and seems to not impact winning in any way.

9. Josh Giddey, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

Real Selection: 6

My Pre Draft Big Board: 17

Giddey is weird, and seems almost unique in NBA history for how he plays. Almost opposite of Jalen Green, Josh Giddey seems to impact winning despite not being a high level scorer. Giddey shoots an unimpressive 39% from the field and 24% from 3 but his high level IQ allows him to impact the game in other ways. As a rookie, Giddey is averaging 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and about a steal and a block a game. If Giddey can improve his shooting and scoring in general then he could turn out to be a very gifted well rounded player.

10. James Bouknight, SG, Charlotte Hornets

Real Selection: 11

My Pre Draft Big Board: 7

This ranking is totally because of my preseason thoughts on Bouknight. When viewing the NBA playoffs it is easy to imagine Bouknight as high level scorer in those games. Bouknight has yet to play very much for the Hornets are a good, well-rounded team that do not need much from rookies. One day Bouknight will get his oppurtunity and will show that not only does he belong in the NBA but he is a very good player.

11. Chris Duarte, SG, Indiana Pacers

Real Selection: 13

My Pre Draft Big Board: 20

The oldest player drafted this year as he was 24 before he ever stepped foot on an NBA court. Duarte started the season off scorching hot and even scored 27 points in the opening game. Duarte is exactly what you want in a role player: he hits open shots, plays defense, and does not turn the ball over. At no point will Duarte be an all star or great player but he will have a long career and will consistantly be a good player. Pacers are in an intersting spot as they seem to be willing to trade any veteran players and with Duarte’s older age it is a mystery how they will handle him.

12. Jalen Johnson, PF, Atlanta Hawks

Real Selection: 20

My Pre Draft Big Board: 11

Jalen Johnson has played 19 NBA minutes and has only shot 10 times but yet I have 100% confidence in where I am ranking him. The G-League gives false stats but while Johnson has been playing there he is averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists while shooting 45% from the field, and 40% from 3. If those stats (especially the percentages) are legitmate we are looking at a star that is about to blossum. Although those numbers are incourgaing, his 55% free throw percentage may indicate that his numbers aren’t legitimate. I am still a major Jalen Johnson especially when watching his incredible playmaking. If the Hawks clear their crowded front court, Jalen Johnson will be a top 8 player in this draft one day.

13. Davion Mitchell, PG, Sacramento Kings

Real Selection: 9

My Pre Draft Big Board: 12

For the casual NBA fan this may seem to be a surprise but it shouldn’t be. Davion Mitchell can provide instagram accounts with countless highlights and has amazing defensive nights but a deeper look will see him a little overated. “Off Night” as he is nicknamed is a cool name but is not very true as Davion Mitchell has posted an abysmal 116 defensive rating. Also Mitchell’s outlier shooting season at Baylor has proven to be just that, an outlier. Mitchell is shooting a bad 30.7% from 3 this season and 66.7% from the free throw line. Now that Mitchell is a poor defender and a poor shooter it becomes a lot harder to view him as a serious prospect and it might even be a stretch for me to rank him here.

14. Keon Johnson, SG, Los Angeles Clippers

Real Selection: 21

My Pre Draft Big Board: 6

This is clearly a ranking based on my faith in Keon Johnson rather than his play so far. Johnson has not played too much in the NBA and has mostly split time between the G-League and the NBA. Johnson is a project but he is an incredible defender and has an offensive skill set that could have high potential. Not much has changed in my mind from when I ranked Keon as the sixth best player in the draft but because of the lack of playing time I am keeping him ranked at the very end of the lottery.

15. Cam Thomas, SG, Brooklyn Nets

Real Selection: 27

My Pre Draft Big Board: 21

Cam Thomas still has the same flaws especially on defense and playmaking that he did before the draft. I am very rarely a fan of a pure scorer that can not do anything else but my god can Cam Thomas score. In his two G-League games Cam Thomas scored 46 and 33 points. Those performances were good enough to find him a role in the rotation for the Nets. Cam Thomas needs to become more effecient and work on every other aspect of his game but his scoring alone will probably give him a long career in the NBA.

16. BJ Boston, SF, Los Angeles Clippers

Real Selection: 51

My Pre Draft Big Board: 40

BJ Boston dropped unexpedly in the draft and was just barely drafted. With Kawhi Leonard’s abscense and multiple other Clippers players injured or in covid protocals BJ Boston has been given a good amount of playing time. Boston has not been incredible but has flashed bits of potential that show he can be a really good player. Boston has problems with effeciency and defense but at 6’7 he can still be a good NBA player.

17. Tre Mann, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

Real Selection: 18

My Pre Draft Big Board: 15

Tre Mann does not play defense but he is an offensive weapon. Mann is shooting 40% from 3 and most of his shots come off of pull up jumpers. I loved the comparison between Mann and D’Angelo Russell before the draft because of the shooting and style of play. Although that comparison is still relatively true, Tre Mann is yet to be a good playmaker like D’Angelo Russell is. If Mann continues to devolop as an offensive player and either becomes a better defender or playmaker, then he could be a big time player in this league.

18. Josh Primo, SG, San Antonio Spurs

Real Selection: 12

My Pre Draft Big Board: 35

Primo has been extremely effecient so far this season but his sample size is extremly small. I was not a big fan of Primo before the draft but it is easy to see his future as a shooting specialist in this league. It is especially easy to see his potential when you factor in that Primo does not even turn 19 until December 24. It is hard to judge Primo until he plays more just because he was the youngest player in the draft.

19. Herbert Jones, SF, New Orleans Pelicans

Real Selection: 35

My Pre Draft Big Board: 32

I was a massive Herb Jones fan and wanted to put him in my first round big board but I let others talk me out of it. The bottom line is Herb is a great defender both on the perimter and guarding the post. He is an excepional at impacting the game in any way that he can. His shooting is a bit shaky but his touch is nice and he is a good free throw shooter which could show some shooting potential. Herb Jones has a high floor so he will have a long career in the NBA.

20. Moses Moody, SG, Golden State Warriors

Real Selection: 14

My Pre Draft Big Board: 9

I was a major fan of Moses Moody before the draft because I loved his potential as a high level 3 and D player but that has not been the case. Moody is 16% from 3 in the NBA games, 33.3% from 3 in the G-League, and on top of that he is shooting 57% from the free throw line. The defense has also been underwhelming but rookies are rarely good defenders so that can be overlooked. I am certainly starting to lose faith in Moses Moody but he is young and is apart of a franchise that is incredibly good at devoloping talent, so I would not rule out him being a good player.

21. Usman Garuba, PF, Houston Rockets

Real Selection: 23

My Pre Draft Big Board: 15

Garuba is not a good shooter, not a great passer, and is undersized for his position, yet I have full faith in him. Garuba is the definition of a winning player and is more than willing to do whatever it takes to win. Garuba is a good defender in the post and has showed potential guarding the perimeter. Although his passing is not great there is a lot of potential in his playmaking skills. In the G-League, Garuba is currently shooting 55% from 3 in and although that is certainly not a true representation of his shooting it could show potential.

22. Trey Murphy III, SF, New Orleans Pelicans

Real Selection: 17

My Pre Draft Big Board: 24

Trey Murphy much like a lot of players in this range is a major potential pick. At 6’9 Murphy shows athletic, defensive, and shooting potential. In the G-League, Murphy is shooting 35% from 3 which is by no means excellent but with the frame that he has, he could be a very good player.

23. Kai Jones, PF, Charlotte Hornets

Real Selection: 19

My Pre Draft Big Board: 18

Kai Jones has only played 22 NBA minutes so it is hard to judge him past what his pre draft evaluation was. Kai Jones runs the floor incredibly well for a seven footer and for the most part plays like guard. If Jones can add a post game or defense to his skill set then he could be a very special player.

24. Austin Reaves, SG, Los Angeles Lakers

Real Selection: UD

My Pre Draft Big Board: 39

The only undrafted player to make my list is Austin Reaves. NBA fans now know Austin Reaves because of the big game winning shot he hit in overtime against the Mavericks last week. Reaves is a great 3 point shooter and can contribute on offense to even contending teams.

25. Miles McBride, PG, New York Knicks

Real Selection: 36

My Pre Draft Big Board: 31

I originally was going to have McBride in the just left off section of this article but he has been good as of late. McBride is a hard nosed defender that can guard the perimeter eceptionally well. Although McBride’s shooting percentages are not impressive and honestly just bad it is his recent play and defense that puts him on this list.

26. Josh Christopher, SG, Houston Rockets

Real Selection: 24

My Pre Draft Big Board: 28

Christopher has been surprisingly good this season shooting 50% from the field and 44% from 3. Christopher has not gotten an incredible amount of playing time but he has been very effecient when he does play. The major thing Christopher needs to work on as a two guard is his defense as he is currently posting a terrible 114 defensive rating.

27. Ayo Dosunmu, SG, Chicago Bulls

Real Selection: 38

My Pre Draft Big Board: 36

With Coby White out so many games this season, Dosunmu has been able to play significant minutes at back up point guard. Although Dosunmu has been a below average defender he has been incredibly effecient and is showing that he has a future in the league as a decent backup point guard.

28. Nah’Shon Hyland, PG, Denver Nuggets

Real Selection: 26

My Pre Draft Big Board: 29

Hyland is obviosuly very skinny but that becomes a real problem when he is trying to defend players that are able to simply push him out of the way. Hyland has been decently effecient especially if you consider that he is only a rookie. Hyland could become a bench scorer in the league one day but there is probably not a future for him as a star.

29. Ziaire Williams, SF, Memphis Grizzlies

Real Selection: 10

My Pre Draft Big Board: 33

I am not a Ziaire Williams fan by any means and he has not done much for me to change that opinion. I did not understand the Grizzlies taking Ziaire Williams at 10 during the draft and now it may seem even more puzzling. Everything about Ziaire Williams is simply potential based. At this point, Williams is not great at any one thing and is barely good at most things. I expect Williams to be a bust especially when you factor that he was drafted 10th.

30. Quentin Grimes, SG, New York Knicks

Real Selection: 25

My Pre Draft Big Board: 26

Grimes has not shown too much this season but he still looks like he could be a promising 3 and D player. In 36 shots this year Grimes is shooting 47% from 3. This is a shooting league so if Grimes can continue to shoot at a top level than he will have a role in this league.


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