2021 NBA Top Prospects and Their Suitors

Brady Volin '22, Contributing Writer

The 2021 NBA draft is shaping up to have a few sure-fire studs in the mix. To me it is looking like this draft class has the chance to be miles better than an already subpar 2020 draft. Out of these 2021 draft prospects, 3 stands out the most to me. They show the most potential, mixed with the right amount of talent right now. Some of these players are showing off their talent in the NCAA March Madness Tournament, while others are balling in the NBA G-League (low affiliate of the NBA) where they can bypass college and focus fully on basketball. These two types of players can then opt into the NBA Draft after this year; these 3 are the best of the best and will be the top 3 picks. 


#1 Timberwolves: Number 1 should come as no surprise, it is Oklahoma State University guard, Cade Cunningham. Standing at 6 foot 8, weighing around 220 pounds combined with almost a 7-foot wingspan Cade is a terror for opposing defenses. His size will allow him to score at will, even with NBA-level competition, as there will be a miss-match with a smaller guard on him. Cunnigham averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists during his freshman season, a great feat as he was the number one option at a young age. As a very fluid all-around athlete, the 19-year-old will make an immediate impact on whatever team has the opportunity to draft him. His potential is off the charts and I think he could be a Grant Hill-type player as he is a big guard who can really shoot the three-ball. I expect big things out of him in the league. The Timberwolves can then roll out a pretty nice-looking line-up with last year’s #1 pick Anthony Edwards and with All-Stars like D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns, along with Cade. The Timberwolves could be a sleeper playoff pick when the time comes next year if all goes as expected. 


#2 Rockets: Number 2 on my list Jonathan Kuminga is Jonathan Kuminga out of the G-League part of the team Ignite (this team also has another player on my list). Kalinga from the Democratic Republic of the Congo went to High School in West Virginia, and instead of going to college, he opted for the G-League. Kalinga plays Power Forward at 6-8 so he is a bit undersized but his unworldly athleticism makes up for that. He is also very strong so he will be able to guard bigger and taller defenders. He averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in the G-League which may not seem amazing but at that level, at 18 years old it is very impressive. I believe that Kuminga may be the safest prospect in this draft as his floor is probably higher than the others, although his potential is probably not as high as Cade Cunningham. The Rockets are kind of in a tough spot right now after the James Harden trade and more Victor Oladipo trade rumors, however, Kuminga would fit into any team whether they choose to rebuild, with Kuminga and Christian Wood at the helm, or just retool with trades. Kuminga next to Wood will need to do a lot for this team to be successful but it is definitely possible. 


#3 Pistons: My third and final prospect of this list is Evan Mobley. Mobley is another forward currently playing in March Madness. He is leading his team (USC) to the Sweet Sixteen and seems like slowing down is not in their future. Standing at a light 7 foot clean, Mobley is fit to be a franchise center. Although Mobley is pretty thin for the center position at 215 pounds, his finishing around the rim and his ability to stretch the floor and hit the three-ball makes NBA teams mouth’s water. He is definitely more of an offensive threat type of player, but  muscle and weight can be added easily with NBA-level training and meal preparations so I believe it will all work out. Evan Mobley, out of the three prospects, is the one I believe needs to most work to become an all-star, however, I think the work needed to be done, will indeed get done and by adding some weight to Mobley’s 7-foot frame, he will be an absolute monster for any NBA team. On the Pistons he will do some damage. The Pistons have a very young core with players like Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes, so Mobley will fit right in and in a few years after they develop together, the Pistons could be a real threat in the East.