With the playoffs underway and the NBA Championship on the horizon it won’t be long until attention turns towards the new faces arriving in the league. Here we take a look at our top five NBA draft prospects for 2021.
5 prospects to watch in the 2021 NBA draft
5. Jonathan Kuminga
The first name in our list of the 2021 NBA draft prospects is someone who is perhaps a tad underrated in the upcoming class, Jonathan Kuminga. He spent his last college season with Ignite in the G League and, boy, did he make the most of it. With his 6’6, 210lbs frame he was able to contribute in both the defensive and offensive phases very well averaging 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per match.
Another string to the bow Kuminga has is the ability to score from distance; he proved this in 19 Nike EYBL games as he knocked down an impressive 42 three pointers. Despite his size, the 18-year-old possesses good dribbling skills and he isn’t a stranger to creating his own shot off the dribble either. This is all on top of seriously high defensive potential.
4. Jalen Green
Next up is another Ignite player – shooting guard Jalen Green. What makes him a potential top five draft pick? Well, he’s shown a real willingness to develop his game with his shooting ability steadily improving whilst he’s already displayed fantastic finishing at the rim. His total points haul for the season is 269 with a 46.1% field goal accuracy.
The scouts haven’t flagged much about him that can’t be nurtured through time and experience either. Then you have the main attraction of Green, which is his natural physical attributes. He is quick and has the capability to explode at times; they’re two things that can’t really be taught and are both highly desirable in today’s game.
3. Evan Mobley
When you stand at 7’0 tall and weigh in at 215lbs you’re going to attract a bit of attention – even on a basketball court. That’s not the only reason Evan Mobley ranks highly amongst the 2021 NBA draft prospects though. He’s been a standout player for the USC Trojans and there is an awful lot to like about his game.
For one thing, his coordination is brilliant, which is a rarity in a player as tall but then you’ve got the way he protects his own basket; his quality under his own rim is bordering on the elite already. His all round game is tidy with very few flaws too. Proof of that can be found in his game averages of 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 16.4 points.
2. Jalen Suggs
Rewind 12 months and Jalen Suggs wouldn’t have seemed likely to feature amongst the projected 2021 NBA draft prospects. He has since caught the world of college basketball by surprise though and could now go very early in the draft. First let’s talk about his ability on the court; he’s shown he can score at the rim whilst he’s sank three pointers with good efficiency (33.7%) all season long as well.
He’s no slouch on the defensive side either. During Gonzaga’s phenomenal undefeated run before losing in the NCAA Tournament finale, Suggs was constantly asked to defend against the best player on the floor; whilst averaging 1.9 steals per game he showed a willingness to do the dirty work for his team. That brings us to the other big thing that makes a top player – mentality. Suggs has been a leader for his side and shown a temperament mature beyond his years.
1. Cade Cunningham
Topping off our list is Cade Cunningham, which will come as little surprise to most people who keep a close eye on collegiate level basketball. He’s been tipped to go as the number one overall 2021 NBA draft pick for some time and it’s for good reason too. He’s another player who boasts an impressive frame, standing 6’8 and 220lbs. That makes him somewhat of a unit in the point guard position and yet he plays like a smaller guard.
He’s proven himself to have pace, agility, good passing ability, an eye for sinking baskets and an aggressive streak that makes him by far the best player in this draft class. Cunningham isn’t afraid to drive to the glass to pick up extra opportunities for his side either. Throughout the season he’s racked up 20.1 points per game with a 43.8% field goal conversion whilst his three point percentage is only narrowly less at 40.0%. He’s ready to face the big boys.
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