NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Evan Mobley making a strong case for the No. 1 spot

Krysten Peek
·11 min read

It’s February and NBA scouts will finally get a chance to watch Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga and the rest of the G League Ignite team play 15 games in the G League bubble season.

On the college side, Evan Mobley is making a strong case for the No. 1 spot by dominating the paint in the Pac-12 and being the best rim protector in this draft class. Auburn’s Sharife Cooper and Baylor’s Davion Mitchell have impressed scouts in the last month and are climbing up team’s draft boards.

Here’s a look at Yahoo Sports’ updated first round for the 2021 NBA draft.

(Draft order is from Tankathon.)

1. Detroit Pistons: G Cade Cunningham

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

Class: Freshman

Oklahoma State: 18.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.6 apg

Cunningham holds on to the No. 1 spot due to his strong all-around game. You could plug him into any NBA team, and he’ll come in and make an impact. Cunningham has great size, high basketball IQ and can defend all three positions on the perimeter. He has shown glimpses of Luka Doncic’s playmaking ability and is patient in making the right pass out of the pick-and-roll. Cunningham is always trying to push the ball up the court putting pressure on the defense, and the game comes so easy to him. Yes, there was the little hiccup in overtime against Texas where he stole the inbounds pass and missed a wide-open layup with four seconds left. But it was how he was able to shake that mistake off and hit a huge 3-pointer to secure the win in the 2OT that showed NBA scouts his mentally tough side.

Cade Cunningham moves the ball up the court as Kevin Easley defends.
Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham advances the ball up court as TCU's Kevin Easley, right, defends during their college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

2. Washington Wizards: G Jalen Green

Ht./Wt: 6-6, 186

G League Ignite

There’s a lot of drama happening in Washington right now, and it’s clear that Bradley Beal wants out. If that ends up being the case, the Wizards could pick up Green who has the potential to be the best pro in this draft. He averaged 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and five assists per game during his senior year of high school at Prolific Prep. NBA scouts will be watching him closely in the G League bubble season. Yahoo Sports asked Green if he thought he was the best player in this draft class and he said, “Of course. You always have to put money on yourself. I do think I’m No. 1, but that’s just saying I know I have to keep working.”

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: C Evan Mobley

Ht./Wt: 7-0, 210

Class: Freshman

USC: 16.3 ppg, 9 rpg, 2.9 bpg

Mobley has a 7-foot-5 wingspan and is the best rim protector in this draft class, recording 53 blocks already and averaging nearly three blocks per game. He’s leading all Pac-12 freshmen in scoring with 16.3 points per game and is everything NBA execs are looking for at the center position. Mobley was the only Pac-12 player and the only freshman named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year watch list as the accolades for his impressive season continue to grow. Offensively, he’s recorded eight double-doubles this season and is more advanced in the pick-and-pop situation than 2020 No. 2 pick James Wiseman and other one-and-done centers. Mobley could easily go No. 1 overall depending on team need and where each franchise falls in the lottery.

Evan Mobley dribbles the ball up the court.
USC's Evan Mobley dribbles the ball up the court against UCLA during their college basketball game in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2021. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

4. Orlando Magic: F Jonathan Kuminga

Ht./Wt: 6-8, 220

G League Ignite

Kuminga has the build and skill set of a seasoned veteran, and he’s one of the youngest players in this draft class after reclassifying in high school last year. He is a modern-day NBA wing who has a lot of power and speed off the dribble. In two G League scrimmages, he averaged 23.5 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists, and at times, he was the best player on the court. All eyes will be on Kuminga in Orlando, and he could play his way into being a top-three pick.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder: G Jalen Suggs

Ht./Wt: 6-4, 205

Class: Freshman

Gonzaga: 13.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.4 apg

Suggs doesn’t have the size of Cunningham, but he is the second-best point guard in this draft class and has been consistent all season. He is shooting over 50% from the field and 36% from 3-point range. Suggs ranks in the 83 percentile in pick-and-roll situations scoring 123 points this season, per Synergy Sports. He is one of the best passers in the open court thanks to his quarterback-playing days in high school.

Jalen Suggs with the ball in his hands during a game.
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs dribbles the ball during a college basketball game against Pacific in Stockton, California, on Feb. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

6. Chicago Bulls: G Scottie Barnes

Ht./Wt: 6-9, 227

Class: Freshman

Florida State: 10.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.2 apg

As a point forward, 90% of the time it’s Barnes bringing up the ball to start the offense and Barnes at the top of the key with his 7-foot-2 wingspan guarding the perimeter. No other freshman fits the positionless basketball mold quite like Barnes does. He has the footwork and speed to stay in front of guards who are smaller and quicker than him, the length to defend the wing and the size to drop down and bang in the post.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers: F Jalen Johnson

Ht./Wt: 6-9, 220

Class: Freshman

Duke: 12.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.6 apg

Duke is struggling this season, and Johnson hasn’t been able to dominate opponents the way he did in high school. There is no denying his upside with his size, ballhanding and shooting mechanics. Johnson had arguably the best dunk of the year in transition against Clemson’s PJ Hall. He’s the type of player where his game could translate better to the NBA. Scouts have had a limited sample size after Johnson suffered a foot injury that kept him sidelined for a month.

8. New York Knicks: F Ziaire Williams

Ht./Wt: 6-8, 185

Class: Freshman

Stanford: 12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.8 apg

Williams hasn’t played a game since Jan. 16 due to a death in the family. Prior to stepping away from the team, he averaged 15.5 points in his last four games. Williams has quick feet and is a great defender with his 6-foot-11 wingspan. On offensive, he started to find his rhythm from deep going 6-for-13 from the 3-point line in his last two games. If he chooses to sit out the remainder of the season, a lot will be riding on his draft workouts and combine numbers.

9. Toronto Raptors: G Keon Johnson

Ht./Wt: 6-5, 186

Class: Freshman

Tennessee: 10.1 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.2 apg

Johnson had his breakout game in a win against Kentucky with a season-high 27 points (9-for-16 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free-throw line). His game is still raw, but he impacts both ends of the floor with his speed and athleticism. If Johnson can develop an outside jump shot at the next level, he’s going to have a long career.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder: F Greg Brown

Ht./Wt: 6-9, 205

Class: Freshman

Texas: 11 ppg, 7.7 rpg

Brown has struggled in the last few games, and Texas hasn’t won a game since Jan. 9. However, he showed off his athleticism in one of the best dunks of the year against Baylor and plays bigger than his 6-foot-9 size.

Brown is averaging one rebound every 2.68 minutes this season. By comparison, here are other recent Longhorns who went on to be successful in the NBA: Mo Bamba, one rebound every 2.87 minutes; LaMarcus Aldridge, 3.39 minutes; and Jarrett Allen, 3.82 minutes. Anything under three minutes is extremely impressive and shows just how athletic Brown is.

11. New Orleans Pelicans: G Corey Kispert

Ht./Wt: 6-7, 220

Class: Senior

Gonzaga: 19.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg

Kispert is the most consistent shooter in college basketball making three or more 3-pointers in 11 games this season with a season-high six threes against Pepperdine. He ranks in the 99th percentile in spot-up shooting scoring 1.5 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports. JJ Redick is 36 years old and approaching the end of his career. Kispert would add a seamless transition from one shooter to the next and is a solid addition alongside Brandon Ingram.

12. Memphis Grizzlies: G Moses Moody

Ht./Wt: 6-6, 205

Class: Freshman

Arkansas: 16.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Moody is leading Arkansas in scoring and is putting up consistent numbers, shooting 45% from the field and 35% from 3-point range. He’s been a great shooter for the Razorbacks, but can also slash and get to the lane when the defense extends out. Moody would complement Ja Morant in the backcourt with his accurate 3-point shooting, three-and-D skills and size and speed in the open court.

13. Houston Rockets: G Davion Mitchell

Ht./Wt: 6-2, 205

Class: Junior

Baylor: 13.6 ppg, 5.8 apg

Mitchell has been incredible in the last three games for Baylor. He’s shot 15-for-22 from 3-point range, averaged 23.7 points per game with a season-high 31 points in a win over Kansas State. It’s not only his shooting that has been impressive, he’s also dished out 25 assists in the last four games. Baylor is the No. 2 team in the country and has become a player to watch for all 30 NBA teams.

Davion Mitchell shoots a 3-point shot in front of the coaches on the bench with Kansas State players defending.
Baylor guard Davion Mitchell shoots a 3-pointer against Kansas State in Waco, Texas, on Jan. 27, 2021. Mitchell scored a season-high 31 points in the win. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

14. Sacramento Kings: C Kai Jones

Ht./Wt: 6-11, 218

Class: Sophomore

Texas: 8.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg

Jones has improved tremendously from his freshman to sophomore season. The Kings have a crowded backcourt with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton and could use some size in the lane. Jones is still showing some inconsistencies in games, but has flashes of decent shooting and shot-blocking on a loaded Texas team with the most athletic frontcourt in the country.

Post Lottery

15. New York Knicks: G Sharife Cooper

Ht./Wt: 6-1, 180

Class: Freshman

Auburn: 20.3 ppg, 8.9 apg

16. Charlotte Hornets G Cameron Thomas

Ht./Wt: 6-4, 210

Class: Freshman

LSU: 22.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg

17. Atlanta Hawks: G Josh Christopher

Ht./Wt: 6-5, 215

Class: Freshman

Arizona State: 15.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg

18. Indiana Pacers: F Usman Garuba

Ht./Wt: 6-8, 229

Spain

Real Madrid Baloncesto (European League): 3.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg

19. Golden State Warriors: G James Bouknight

Ht./Wt: 6-5, 190

Class: Sophomore

Connecticut: 20.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg

20. Denver Nuggets: G Jared Butler

Ht./Wt: 6-3, 195

Class: Junior

Baylor: 17 ppg, 5.2 apg

21. Boston Celtics: G B.J. Boston

Ht./Wt: 6-7, 185

Class: Freshman

Kentucky: 11.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg

22. Houston Rockets: F Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Ht./Wt: 6-9, 230

Class: Sophomore

Villanova: 15. 3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.1 apg

23. Brooklyn Nets: G David Johnson

Ht./Wt: 6-5, 210

Class: Sophomore

Louisville: 13.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.4 apg

24. San Antonio Spurs: F Franz Wagner

Ht./Wt: 6-9, 220

Class: Sophomore

Michigan: 12 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.1 apg

25. Phoenix Suns: G Ayo Dosunmu

Ht./Wt: 6-5, 200

Class: Junior

Illinois: 21.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.1 apg

26. Milwaukee Bucks: G David Duke

Ht./Wt: 6-5, 205

Class: Junior

Providence: 17.5 ppg, 6 rpg, 5.1 apg

27. Los Angeles Clippers: C Charles Bassey

Ht./Wt: 6-11, 235

Class: Junior

Western Kentucky: 17.8 ppg, 12.2 rpg

28. Philadelphia 76ers: G Jaden Springer

Ht./Wt: 6-4, 204

Class: Freshman

Tennessee: 10.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.5 apg

29. Los Angeles Lakers: C Day’Ron Sharpe

Ht./Wt: 6-11, 265

Class: Freshman

North Carolina: 9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg

30. Utah Jazz: G Josh Giddey

Ht./Wt: 6-8, 205

Adelaide 36ers (Australia’s National Basketball League): 9.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 5 apg

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