The NBA’s lottery teams have locked in the spots on the back of this week’s NBA Draft Lottery. The Detroit Pistons will have the option of selecting whoever they want, having secured the first pick of this year’s upcoming Draft.
There are several exciting college talents to choose from and the Pistons might find themselves spoilt for choice unless they’re already fully aware of who they’ll be looking to pick. That said, let’s take a look at five of the top prospects who should be playing on NBA teams come 2021/22.
1. Cade Cunningham (PG) – Oklahoma State
The 6ft 8 Cowboys freshman is likely going to go first in the draft this year and was certainly one of the most exciting NCAA guards on display in 2021. This year’s class isn’t expected to be one filled with shooters but Cunningham is one of the exceptions, having shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and sinking 62 threes for Oklahoma State. Cunningham helped the Cowboys go from 18-14 to 21-9, also taking them to the No.4 spot, with the team falling outside of the NCAA tournament. A gold-medal winner with the United States at the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, Cunningham should have no trouble with the transition, especially given the fact that he’s pretty tall for a point guard. He’s able to play in any position on the perimeter, which makes him even more valuable.
While there are question marks over his vision and ball-handling, the 19-year-old will be well aware of his weaknesses and should work on improving ahead of the next NBA season.
2. Evan Mobley (C) – Southern California
Evan Mobley is already playing in the mold of the modern NBA big man, meaning he can stretch the floor and has a reliable shot. A 6ft 11 center, Mobley is quite agile for his size, and scouts will likely be impressed with his versatility ahead of the draft. The 20-year-old shot 58 percent on shots that did not come from behind the three-point line, also shooting 30 percent on 40 attempts from three for the Trojans.
While he can shoot from outside, he might be required to continue to develop his long-range jumper and there’s already lots of promise as he’s shown that he’s already got a level from which to work. Defensively, he has the looks of an excellent pick-and-roll defender and averaged 2.9 blocks per game in his single season with USC. He does look like the sort of player a few more pounds of muscle could definitely hand a boost, especially as a pro.
3. Jalen Green (SG) – G League Ignite
The 6ft 6 shooting guard should be entering the NBA via the G League route and the experiment appears to have worked out pretty well for him. The player went into the bubble for 15 games and was afforded a satisfactory 32 minutes per contest. He made the best of every one of those minutes, averaging 17.9 points shooting 46.1 percent shooting from the field and 36.5 points from three.
It’s going to be hard for the Pistons not to consider a player of Green’s caliber heading into the 2021 NBA Draft as he’s shown he has what it takes to become an unplayable star in the league. He’s the best in his position in this year’s class and has been ranked at No.3 overall by ESPN. While he is prone to playing isolation ball and doesn’t have the length to make up for his lack of size, Green is one of the most explosive players up for grabs. Of course, things can be made more interesting for fans as they can bet on who drafts who, with many top bookmakers, including those involved in Pennsylvania sports betting offering odds on the Draft.
4. Jalen Suggs (PG) – Gonzaga
Jalen Suggs is likely the most famous player going into the draft this year as his remarkable buzzer-beater for Gonzaga will not soon be forgotten. Suggs’ shot is widely considered to be the biggest in NCAA history, especially as it took his school to the final. Unfortunately, however, Gonzaga couldn’t go all the way.
At 6ft 4 and 205 pounds, Suggs is a powerful guard who embraces contact and is not afraid of the big moment. He’s also a remarkable decision-maker who works hard on both ends of the floor.
Although he boasts one of the most memorable shots in college basketball history, his shooting could use some work as he shot just 27 percent from three on 190 attempts during the season.
5. Davion Mitchell (PG) – Baylor
Davion Mitchell got the better of Suggs in the NCAA Final this year, helping Baylor to the championship by making easy work of the guards the Zags put in front of him. The 6ft 2 point guard is one of the most respected defenders in the Draft and his play on that end of the floor is one of the main reasons he was on the second-team All-American. The 22-year-old improved his shooting from 28.8 to 32.4 percent where three-pointers are concerned after transferring from Auburn to Baylor. He took that to 44.7 percent last season and already has the looks of a prime scoring threat who could lock opposing guards down at will.