The crown jewel of this draft, however, is still Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham.
According to most draft sites about (75%) imply they believe he’s going first overall.
Cade Cunningham, a 6’8 freshman, is arguably the most talented offensive player in college basketball, and he leads the Big 12 in scoring at (18.7) per game. He flexed his special skill set in a career-high 40-point explosion against archrival Oklahoma last weekend in the annual “Bedlam” game. The Fab Frosh led the Cowboys past the Sooners in Norman (94–90 in OT).
They then swept the Sooners two days later with a win in Stillwater. He was a decoy in the second game scoring 15 but 13 came in the final ten minutes of their (79-75) win, and it showed his ability to take over back-to-back games against very good competition.
He was so poised and comfortable in the biggest moments of each game. He’s been good all season and even during moments where he struggled with his shot, he still contributed with other intangibles that don’t always make the proverbial stat sheet.
While Cunningham certainly has made his case to be the first pick, don’t count out the next six ballers on the list who have ascended to elite status, while making scouts think twice about passing over them.
Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga are two players who took the G-League route instead of college. And both have been drawing rave reviews from scouts and have a shot to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
You also have Evan Mobley, the smooth 7-footer from USC, and the do-it-all point guard Jalen Suggs from Gonzaga rounding out the top 5.
Suggs is such an athlete that he was a 4-star football recruit as well and the No. 3-ranked dual-threat QB with offers from Ohio St, Iowa, Iowa St, Minnesota, and many others.
Those guys are followed by FSU freshman point forward Scottie Barnes who’s in the mold of (Scottie Pippen and Kawhi Leonard). Last but not least is Zaire Williams, a freshman big man by way of Stanford with a great skill set as he completes the top 7 picks in the 2021 NBA draft.
I believe Cade Cunningham is going #1 overall and the only real threats to change are Green or Kuminga. Here’s why these special talents also have a chance to go No. 1 overall.
Both players have NBA-level athleticism and size right now. Both have shown they can play against the pros thus far in the G-League. Both have had moments of dominance that will make talent evaluators struggle with their decision on draft night.
Green is the more intriguing prospect IMO because his offensive game is strongly predicated on his jaw-dropping athleticism. With his athleticism alone, he would already be one of the top players in the league as it pertains to that. But his jump shot which has shown steady improvement still needs work.
Kuminga, on the other hand, is already showing that it was a good decision to reclassify to the class of 2021 because he’s shown to look ready in many different facets of the game thus far.
The physically gifted 18-year old has been threading the needle with passes, blocking shots and hitting his jumpshot as well, which can be streaky too.
For me, it’s hard to conclude who is the better prospect of these two. But both are definitely capable of being drafted first overall, so don’t get caught up in the idea that the top NBA draft pick can only come from the NCAA or Europe.
The G-League route may soon become the norm for these elite prospects going forward if one of these two can break the tradition.
Here are my top 7 draft picks for the 2021 NBA DRAFT: I also believe these are seven prospects who can affect the game in multiple ways. None are one-trick ponies while providing a ton of versatility.