According to all projections, this year’s draft class should be richer in talent than the one in 2020. Last year, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, and LaMelo Ball were selected from the first three places, and all three did quite well in the NBA league, justifying the choice of Minnesota, Golden State, and Charlotte.
This year, the first draft position is quite clear, but a lot is happening behind it. Check out the top ten NBA prospects.
1. Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State, PG, Freshman)
There isn’t a single list (that cares for its image) that hasn’t put this freshman from Oklahoma State University in the first place. OK, he’s clearly not a prospect like Zion Williamson was, but Cade Cunningham has almost everything to be a great point guard. He is 6’8″ tall and scores 19.7 points, grabs 6.3 rebounds, and dishes out 3.5 assists per game. He shoots 42.5% from behind the arc, with 83.3% shooting from the free-throw line. Cunningham is the main reason why the Cowboys are getting top ten odds to win the NCAA Tournament, despite being ranked outside the top ten in the AP Top 25 going into the postseason. Cunningham has an incredible ability to score points, but he also shows that he can be a pass-first player if the team asks him to. Besides, he reads the game very well after pick and roll, and his only drawback is the defensive game, in which he relies a lot on his body and lacks lateral speed. Still, Cade is a well-rounded player with very few holes in his game.
2. Evan Mobley (USC, C, Freshman)
Evan Mobley has a modern-day center’s characteristics, although he lacks a few pounds to be more convincing (he is 7’0 “tall and weighs 215 lbs). His movements are fluid, and his footwork is decent; plus, he knows how to create from the center position, and his jump-shot offers great potential. In short, Mobley should fit perfectly in the NBA.
He’s averaging 16.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game this season. USC center shoots 58.2% from the floor, and although his 3-point average is only 30%, his shooting looks decent. He knows how to play in the post, and he’s a good finisher around the rim. But Mobley is often pushed out of position by stronger and bigger centers.
3. Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga, PG, Freshman)
At the beginning of the season, all the notable projections put Jalen Suggs far away from the top ten in the draft; but this playmaker from Gonzaga did everything to make his stocks rise. And absolutely succeeded in that. Suggs is 6’4” tall with a strong frame, and he’s known for his athleticism. With his explosive drives to the basket, Suggs can be compared to Russell Westbrook, and once he drives inside, it is tough to stop him. He averages 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, suggesting that he could become an excellent passer. Suggs is also good on the defensive side of the floor. His only drawback is his inconsistent shooting that will need a lot of work once he enters the NBA league.
4. Jalen Green (G League Ignite, SG, 18 years old)
When Jalen Green decides to speed-up, there are not many players that can stop him. Green proved himself even before he arrived in the G League and showed that he is a player who can score points against anyone (17.9 points scored this season). He has a good-looking jump-shot which, along with his long stride, makes him special, although he also showed resourcefulness around the hoop. Green could have problems with bigger players considering his height (6’5”) and lean body shape. One other thing is that Green often relies on iso-game that may not be effective regularly. There is a lot of room for improvement in the defensive part of the game as well.
5. Jonathan Kuminga, (G League Ignite, F, 18 years old)
Born in Congo, Jonathan Kuminga is one of the most interesting players in this year’s draft. He’s standing at 6’8” and weighs 225 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan. He is extremely physical and powerful. Kuminga can shoot off the dribble, even after running off of screens. He has all the potential to become a combo forward; however, the scouts were not thrilled with the lack of his defensive commitment and shot selection. Therefore, Kuminga still has a lot of work to do.
6. Jalen Johnson (Duke, F, Freshman)
When the field opens, Jalen Johnson will either score or go to the free-throw line. The combination of speed, athleticism, and strength is enviable considering that he weighs 220 pounds and is 6’9” tall. Johnson, therefore, heavily relies on physicality. He’s very useful on defense as he can defend all positions from one to five and knows how to block shots. This season he records 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. On the downside, he has an unnatural shooting technique which will need a lot of correction once he comes to the NBA.
7. Zaire Williams (Stanford, G / F, Freshman)
If you rule out a lack of offensive aggression and an unreliable shot, Zaire Williams is a flawless player. The Stanford guard has great physical attributes – on the defensive part, he reads the game phenomenally well and has excellent footwork that helps him stay ahead of his opponent. Williams feels comfortable with the ball in his hands and recognizes the right situations to pass, and puts his teammates in the position to score.
8. Scottie Barnes (Florida State, F, Freshman)
Great size (6’8”) and length (7’2” wingspan) are the things that make Scottie Barnes a true modern forward. He could even do well on the center position in a small lineup. Barnes can defend all positions on the floor and has brilliant off-ball movement. He has solid handles and knows how to recognize and exploit mismatches. Barnes, however, is not that good at shooting. His shooting mechanics seems broken and also inefficient. He lacks versatility in offense but has the talent to become an elite defender in the NBA league.
9. Keon Johnson (Tennessee, SG, Freshman)
When you look at Keon Johnson, the first thing you notice are his athletic abilities. A speedy first step that leaves the opponent in the dust and a high bounce makes him a nightmare match-up. Johnson is very aggressive, and he often provokes opponents’ turnovers. He is versatile on defense and can be an outstanding help defender. On the other hand, his shooting is inconsistent, and it isn’t something Johnson can rely on this early on in his career.
10. Corey Kispert (Gonzaga, SF, Senior)
Corey Kispert is probably the best shooter of this draft class. He’s strong, 6’7” tall, and weighs 220 pounds, which helps him on the defensive side of the floor. Corey can shoot off the dribble, but also after coming off of screens. This season, he is averaging 19.5 points per game, with 46.3% from deep. His biggest disadvantage is one-dimensionality, but we’ve seen players in the league that are doing well despite not being so versatile.