NCAA.com basketball expert Andy Katz revealed his predictions for what he thinks will happen with picks No. 1 through No. 14 in the first round of the 2021 NBA draft.
Draft coverage begins Thursday, July 29 at 8 p.m. ET and can be watched on ESPN and ABC, with the second round airing only on ESPN. Both rounds will be available to stream on WatchESPN. Here’s what Katz had to say about his picks. You can also listen to the podcast here:
1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
Cunningham going No. 1 has been the consensus. He has great size, he can play the point, play off the ball, he can get inside and he can make shots. He loves being a leader. The Pistons need a player to build the team around, and Cunningham will be just that.
2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Green, G League
Everyone loves Green. Big-time scorer, great body to play in the NBA right now. The Rockets need a star — they could get one in Green.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, Southern California
Mobley is a rim protector and can shoot it facing the basket. A similar body type to a player like Kevin Garnett or Chris Bosh, Mobley could end up being a key player for the Cavaliers.
4. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
This is the steal of the draft if Suggs manages to fall to Toronto. This Gonzaga freshman could potentially be the best player in this draft. Suggs would be a star in Toronto.
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5. Orlando Magic: Scottie Barnes, Florida State
Barnes has great reach, athleticism, and can defend multiple positions. Barnes was not featured as a big-time scorer for Florida State, but loves to defend and could upgrade the Magic’s talent.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: James Bouknight, UConn
Bouknight is a high volume scorer who continues to impress in workouts even after coming back from an elbow injury earlier this year. He is really skyrocketing through the ranks, and Katz believes that a big scorer like Bouknight would complement the Thunder’s roster.
7. Golden State Warriors: Jonathan Kuminga, G League
Kuminga is a G League talent who is strong and physical. He could really fit in with a player like Draymond Green and would be able to do a little bit of everything for Golden State.
8. Orlando Magic: Moses Moody, Arkansas
Great freshman out of the SEC. Moody is only scratching the surface of his potential talent. Moody pair nicely with Barnes to upgrade the Magic’s talent.
9. Sacramento Kings: Franz Wagner, Michigan
Wagner has become a much better defender and is a talented passer. He can really put the ball on the floor and drive, and has proven to be a high-level talent.
10. New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Giddey, Australia
Another point guard. The Pelicans need a play starter, and Giddey could fill that role for them. Katz could see him being the first international player taken in the lottery.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kai Jones, Texas
Jones has risen up through the ranks. Great rim protector, really athletic and a high flyer.
12. San Antonio Spurs: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
Kispert is the type of guy that Katz believes that Gregg Popovich and the Spurs organization would love. Great passer, 3-point shooter, runs the floor and can defend.
13. Indiana Pacers: Davion Mitchell, Baylor
Great two-way player who was also named the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. The Pacers need a player like Mitchell who will absolutely play his heart out for every possession.
14. Golden State Warriors: Chris Duarte, Oregon
Duarte was a player who was constantly on the rise throughout the course of the NCAA tournament. He keeps getting better and better, and seems as if he would fit in well with the Warriors mentality.
Here are the rest of the picks for the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday, as of Tuesday, July 27:
16. Oklahoma City
18. Oklahoma City
21. New York
22. Los Angeles Lakers
25. LA Clippers