Cade Cunningham lock for No. 1; new top 5

The 2021 NBA draft is less than two weeks away and it will look significantly different than the 2020 virtual draft. This year, it will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with 24 players invited to the green room with family and friends. 

Cade Cunningham is the heavy favorite to hear his name called first (-5000 at BetMGM), while one player is sneaking into the top five after strong pre-draft workouts and meetings with teams.

A few players like Ziaire Williams, Trey Murphy III and Franz Wagner are climbing up draft boards late. 

Here’s a look at Yahoo Sports’ projected first and second rounds of the 2021 draft.

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-8, 220 pounds

Class: Freshman

Oklahoma State: 19.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.5 apg

Cunningham worked out for only one team leading up to the draft: the Pistons. Pending any trades on draft night, Cunningham looks to be a lock as the No. 1 pick. The 6-foot-8 point guard did it all during his one season at Oklahoma State and is a player the Pistons can plug in right away in the backcourt with Killian Hayes. With the addition of Cunningham, Detroit is on the right path to rebuilding after having two of the most productive rookies last season in Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart.

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 180

G League Ignite: 17.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg

Green has the most upside out of any player in this draft class and held his own when going head-to-head against pros during the G League bubble season. As an elite high school player, Green excelled at getting to the rim whenever he wanted thanks to his speed and athleticism. He made adjustments this past season going up against tougher competition. Green is an underrated passer and had seven assists in one half, showing NBA scouts his versatility. Green and Kevin Porter Jr. are a dream backcourt that will add excitement to this young Rockets team as they begin to rebuild.

Jalen Green brings the ball up the floor during a G League game.

Jalen Green has the most upside of any player in the 2021 NBA draft. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 205

Class: Freshman

Gonzaga: 13.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.5 apg

There is at least one media report that suggests the Cavaliers might be looking to trade Collin Sexton. If true, Cleveland could be targeting Suggs with the No. 3 pick. Suggs led the Zags to a nearly perfect season as a freshman and is a great playmaker who can play on or off the ball. The only area of development would be his 3-point shot where he averaged only 33.7%.

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 215

Class: Freshman

USC: 16.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 3 bpg

The Raptors have a strong backcourt with Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, and added Malachi Flynn and Gary Trent Jr. last season. Mobley is the best center in this draft class who can also extend his game to the wing thanks to his incredible ball-handling skills for his 7-foot frame. Mobley led the Pac-12 in blocked shots this season with 95 and can add pressure on opponents in transition when deciding to bring the ball up himself. Mobley will need to add weight to his slight frame but has all the tools to be a franchise-changing center down the road.

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 225

Class: Freshman

Florida State: 10.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.3 apg

Even at pick No. 5, Barnes might be the steal of the draft. The 6-foot-8 point-forward is one of the most versatile players this year. He can play positions 1 through 4 and is an excellent on-ball defender thanks to his 7-foot-3 wingspan. The Magic have a ton of young talented guards with Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton, and Barnes is a player who can be plugged in right away on the wing or drop down to four in a smaller lineup.

Scottie Barnes is pressured by Isaiah Miller of UNC-Greensboro.

Scottie Barnes could be the steal of the 2021 NBA draft. (Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 210

G League Ignite: 15.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg

Kuminga is one of the youngest players in this draft class but also one of the most physically ready for the NBA level. He led the inaugural Ignite team in rebounds, grabbing 93 boards in 13 games. He’s a ball-dominant wing who is great in isolation situations or when the shot clock is winding down. Kuminga will need to work on his shot selection at the next level, shooting only 25% from 3-point range and 39% from the field.

Ht./Wt.: 6-1, 202

Class: Junior

Baylor: 13.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.7 apg

Mitchell is one of the most well-rounded guards in this draft class and shot up draft boards when he led Baylor to a national title. He’s an excellent defender and shot the ball well during the tournament, shooting 51.6% from the field and averaging 5.6 assists per game (including 11 assists in a win over Houston). With Klay Thompson back next season, the Warriors will be in a win-now mode, and the addition of Mitchell in the backcourt will provide relief for Thompson and Steph Curry.

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 185

Class: Freshman

Tennessee: 10.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.4 apg

Johnson broke a 20-year-old record with an insane vertical jump at the NBA draft combine in June with a 48-inch leap. “I knew what the record was and it was a goal of mine coming in to break it so I was happy to see all my hard work leading up to the draft is paying off,” Johnson said. He is one of the quickest guards in transition and has a great first step off the dribble. Johnson would be a great shooting guard to add alongside Fultz and Anthony next season.

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 220

Class: Sophomore

Michigan: 12.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.9 apg

Wagner is a 6-foot-9 wing who excelled in mismatch situations last season. He ranked in the 94th percentile in post-up situations, averaging 1.2 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports. Wagner is the younger brother of Orlando Magic center Moritz Wagner and can provide solid minutes on a young Kings team alongside Tyrese Haliburton, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield.

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 205

Australia: 10.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 7.5 apg

The Pelicans might be looking to trade Lonzo Ball, and Giddey would be a good addition in the backcourt with last year’s pick, Kira Lewis Jr. Giddey led all players in the NBL in assists and was sixth in rebounding. He became the youngest Australian player in the NBL to register a triple-double on April 25, and he ended up leading all players in triple-doubles with three for the season.

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 224

Class: Senior

Gonzaga: 19.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg

The Hornets have a bright future ahead with Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball leading the way alongside Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington. Kispert will add consistent outside shooting after being one of the best shooters in college basketball last season. The 6-foot-7 guard shot 44% from 3-point range and recorded 91 threes (including hitting nine 3-points in a win over Virginia) last season.

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 222

Class: Sophomore

Texas: 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg

The Spurs drafted guards Devin Vassell and Tre Jones last year, and adding an athletic center like Jones to play alongside Keldon Johnson in the frontcourt would be a great addition in the late lottery. Jones averaged 23 minutes per game this year and was rated “excellent” in six categories, including transition and post-ups, according to Synergy Sports.

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 190

Class: Sophomore

UConn: 20.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Bouknight is a shifty lead guard who is sneaky bouncy and loves to get to the rim. He was out for six weeks with an elbow injury and recorded two double-doubles in his first few games back. Bouknight needs to improve his outside shooting after shooting just 29% from 3-point range and 44.7% from the field.

Ht./Wt: 6-10, 188

Class: Freshman

Stanford: 10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg

If the Warriors keep the Nos. 7 and 14 picks, Williams could end up being the steal of the draft here. Williams was inconsistent in his one season at Stanford, but he has excellent shooting mechanics and a tireless work ethic. Williams worked out with Tyrese Haliburton, Josh Green and Malachi Flynn last summer and held his own in drills. With dynamic playmakers like Curry and Thompson, Williams can be inserted into multiple positions on the floor due to his length and athleticism.

Post Lottery

15. Washington Wizards: F Usman Garuba

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 229 | Spain: 5.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg

16. Oklahoma City Thunder: C Alperen Sengun

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 245 | Turkey: 19.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg

17. Memphis Grizzlies: F Jalen Johnson

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 210 | Class: Freshman | Duke: 11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg

18. Oklahoma City Thunder: G Moses Moody

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 211 | Class: Freshman | Arkansas: 17.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg

19. New York Knicks: G Trey Murphy III

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 206 | Class: Junior | Virginia: 11.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg

Murphy is climbing up draft boards after strong workouts with a handful of teams, including the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. He’s a long wing who shot the ball consistently from 3-point range, 43% last season. Murphy already has loft goals for his NBA career and a good sense of what his rookie year will look like.

“In my first year, you obviously can’t control a lot except for your effort and energy, and I’m gonna have to learn to make my adjustments,” Murphy said after a team workout. “But over time, I want to become an All-Star. I really love this game a lot, and hopefully, I could do that at a high level.”

20. Atlanta Hawks: G Sharife Cooper

Ht./Wt.: 6-1, 180 | Class: Freshman | Auburn: 20.2 ppg, 8.1 apg

21. New York Knicks: C Isaiah Jackson

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 206 | Class: Freshman | Kentucky: 8.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg

22. Los Angeles Lakers: G Chris Duarte

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 190 | Class: Senior | Oregon: 17.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg

23. Houston Rockets: G Jared Butler

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 193 | Class: Junior | Baylor: 17.1 ppg, 5 apg

24. Houston Rockets: G Cameron Thomas

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 210 | Class: Freshman | LSU: 23.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg

25. Los Angeles Clippers: G Quentin Grimes

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 205 | Class: Junior | Houston: 17.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg

Grimes was the best player during the NBA draft combine scrimmages, solidifying himself as a first-round pick. He was the leading scorer out of all 39 players who played in the scrimmages and had 27 points (including seven 3-pointers) during one game. Grimes has had strong workouts so far with teams, including the Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Quentin Grimes a 3-pointer during the NCAA Tournament.

Quentin Grimes solidified his first-round pick status after strong NBA draft combine scrimmages. (Andy Hancock/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

26. Denver Nuggets: G Tre Mann

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 178 | Class: Sophomore | Florida: 15 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.4 apg

27. Brooklyn Nets: G Jaden Springer

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 202 | Class: Freshman | Tennessee: 12.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg

28. Philadelphia 76ers: G Bones Hyland

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 169 | Class: Sophomore | VCU: 19.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg

29. Phoenix Suns: F JT Thor

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 205 | Class: Freshman | Auburn: 9.4 ppg, 5 rpg

The combo forward out of Alaska wasn’t the most exciting freshman in the SEC this past season, but scouts saw glimpses of a promising career at the NBA level. Thor shoots well for his size, and even though his percentage wasn’t great (30% from deep), he possesses great shooting mechanics with a high release that’s hard to defend.

30. Utah Jazz: G Joshua Primo

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 189 | Class: Freshman | Alabama: 8.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg

Second Round

31. Milwaukee Bucks: G Miles McBride

Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 200 | Class: Sophomore | West Virginia: 15.4 ppg, 4.7 apg

32. New York Knicks: G Jason Preston

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 181 | Class: Junior | Ohio: 15.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 7.6 apg

33. Orlando Magic: F Day’Ron Sharpe

Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 265 | Class: Freshman | North Carolina: 9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg

34. Oklahoma City Thunder: G Josh Christopher

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 215 | Class: Freshman | Arizona State: 14.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg

35. New Orleans Pelicans: G Ayo Dosunmu

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 194 | Class: Junior | Illinois: 20.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.2 apg

36. Oklahoma City Thunder: C Neemias Queta

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 248 | Class: Junior | Utah State: 14.7 ppg, 10 rpg, 3 bpg

37. Detroit Pistons: F Greg Brown

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 206 | Class: Freshman | Texas: 10.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg

38. Chicago Bulls: F Roko Prkacin

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 220 | Croatia: 13.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg

39. Sacramento Kings: G Herbert Jones

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 210 | Class: Senior | Alabama: 10.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg

40. New Orleans Pelicans: G B.J. Boston

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 188 | Class: Freshman | Kentucky: 12 ppg, 4.5 rpg

41. San Antonio Spurs: F Isaiah Todd

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 219 | G League Ignite: 12.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg

42. Detroit Pistons: C Filip Petrusev

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 235 | Serbia: 23.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg

43. New Orleans Pelicans: G Joel Ayayi

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 190 | Class: Senior | Gonzaga: 11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg

44. Brooklyn Nets: C Charles Bassey

Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 235 | Class: Junior | Western Kentucky: 17.6 ppg, 11.8 rpg

45. Boston Celtics: G Daishen Nix

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 225 | G League Ignite: 8.8 ppg, 5.3 apg

46. Toronto Raptors: G Aaron Wiggins

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 190 | Class: Junior | Maryland: 14 ppg, 5.8 rpg

47. Toronto Raptors: G Joe Wieskamp

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 205 | Class: Junior | Iowa: 15 ppg, 6.6 rpg

48. Atlanta Hawks: F RaiQuan Gray

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 269 | Class: Senior | Florida State: 12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg

49. Brooklyn Nets: F Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 230 | Class: Sophomore | Villanova: 15.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg

50. Philadelphia 76ers: G David Johnson

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 210 | Class: Sophomore | Louisville: 12.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.3 apg

51. Memphis Grizzlies: C Jericho Sims

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 250 | Class: Senior | Texas: 8.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg

52. Detroit Pistons: F Kessler Edwards

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 203 | Class: Junior | Pepperdine: 16.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg

53. New Orleans Pelicans: G David Duke

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 205 | Class: Junior | Providence: 17.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.8 apg

54. Indiana Pacers: G DJ Steward

Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 162 | Class: Freshman | Duke: 13 ppg, 2.4 apg

55. Oklahoma City Thunder: G Austin Reaves

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 206 | Class: Senior | Oklahoma: 17.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.9 apg

56. Charlotte Hornets: G Rokas Jokubaitis

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 195 | Lithuania: 7 ppg, 3.5 apg

57. Charlotte Hornets: F Matthew Hurt

Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 232 | Class: Sophomore | Duke: 18.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg

58. New York Knicks: G Duane Washington Jr.

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 197 | Class: Junior | Ohio State: 15.3 ppg, 3 apg

59. Brooklyn Nets: F Aaron Henry

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 210 | Class: Junior | Michigan State: 15.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.5 apg

60. Indiana Pacers: C Luka Garza

Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 243 | Class: Senior | Iowa: 23.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg

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