2021 NBA mock draft 6.0: First-round picks after play-in


It’s Mock Draft time!The NBA regular season is over and with the play-in tournament finished and the coin flips completed, we have an established pre-lottery draft order.The draft lottery is set for June 22 and draft night is July 29. That gives us plenty of time to mull over prospects during the coming months.We already are seeing some climbers and there is a lot that can change between now and draft night, but here is a look at NBC Sports California’s 2021 Mock Draft 6.0.

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Measurables: 6-foot-7, 220 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

Life comes at you fast. After eight years of contending teams with superstar players, the Rockets hit the reset button. They didn’t exactly maximize their return for players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but this top-five pick could change the fortunes of the franchise. Christian Wood was a spectacular find and John Wall proved he still had some tread on his tires. The rest of the roster is a mixed bag of spare parts. 

Why Cunningham?

Nothing is going to change this pick, even a flame out early in the tournament. Fade for Cade is real, although he’ll need to find his killer instinct at the next level. 

Cunningham is a big, strong, physical guard/forward that has stardom written all over him. He can score at all three levels, including in the post where he has the size and strength to power through contact. He has the court vision to be an elite distributor and his overall basketball IQ is off the charts.

The Rockets own the worst record in the NBA and they are in major need of a star after gutting their roster. Cunningham would slide into the lineup next to Wall in year one and the rebuild would be well on its way. Then again, the lottery gods might not smile upon a team that tried this hard to lose.


Measurables: 6-foot-5, 205 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

The Pistons are a mess. They have a stable of athletic bigs and Saddiq Bey looks like a long-term rotational player at the wing. But they need talent and an identity. A star at the top end of the draft could help jumpstart the rebuild.

Why Suggs?

If you had any questions about Suggs’ ability to come up big in the clutch, his game-winner against UCLA in the Final Four should answer that. This is a big-time point guard prospect that is built for the modern pace-and-space game of the NBA. His decision to go to Gonzaga has allowed him to play alongside top-tier talent at the NCAA level, which will allow him to seamlessly take over a team at the next level. 

Detroit is playing a bit of a long game here, but Suggs’ ability to be a difference-maker on both ends of the court could help turn the tide in the Motor City. He can play in a dual point guard set alongside Killian Hayes and he’ll also pair well with Jerami Grant. If you are trying to start over, getting a true leader in the backcourt is the perfect start.


Measurables: 7-foot, 210 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

After years of trying to field a winner with miss-matched pieces, the Magic finally did the right thing and blew it up at the deadline. Gone are Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier. They have some nice young options at the point, including R.J. Hampton, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz. The Magic also have some intriguing bigs in Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac and Wendell Carter. They are a young team in building mode and finding a wing with upside, especially on the defensive end, is a must.

Why Mobley?

If it weren’t for Cunningham, the battle for the No. 1 overall pick would be one of the closest calls in a while. Mobley has an incredible basketball IQ and a high-level skill set. He can shoot from the outside, score over opponents at will with his 7-foot-5 wingspan, and he can put it on the deck and attack the rim with either hand. 

This is the next evolution of the NBA center. He can man the break, has tremendous court vision and he’s a game-changer on the defensive end.

Orlando has some other bigs to work with, but no one who can fill up a stat sheet like Mobley. When it’s all said and done, he could be the best player in this draft and the Magic have plenty of time to let him develop with their rebuild just starting up.


Measurables: 6-foot-8, 210 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a good building block and Lu Dort is a nice versatile piece that fits in most rotations. The rest of this roster is replaceable, including players like Aleksej Pokusevski, Darius Bazley and Theo Maledon. This is a team that needs talent at every position. The Thunder have plenty of picks in the coming drafts, but they can’t miss with a top-five selection in one of the best drafts in years.

Why Kuminga?

One of the group of young prospects that skipped the college game and headed straight to the G League, Kuminga played very well in the bubble. He’s a big, physical forward with elite athleticism and big-time two-way potential. 

The Thunder are just getting started with their rebuild, but they have a few young pieces to work with. Kuminga can see time at both forward spots and he plays with a force and energy that stands out. Pairing Kuminga and Dort on the wing has incredible defensive potential. They’ll need to add some scoring, but he would add even more physicality to OKC's roster. 


Measurables: 6-foot-5, 180 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

Is Cleveland sold on the backcourt pairing of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland? Can Isaac Okoro take a leap as a scorer at the wing? Can the Cavs find an answer at the four? There are a lot of questions that Koby Altman has to answer, but the Cavs were the worst scoring team in the league and they desperately need some upgrades at most positions.

Why Green?

Electric athlete that looks like a young Jaylen Brown, Green’s draft stock is soaring. He showed major growth in the G League bubble and now has plenty of time to work on getting stronger and refining his skill set. He's a prospect without a ceiling and projects to be a future All-Star. 

The gamble to go pro has paid off and the word behind the scenes is that Green is a sponge that just can’t take in enough knowledge. He's likely to be a franchise cornerstone for an NBA team. 

Green likely will take longer to reach his potential than the rest of the players at the top of this draft, but Cleveland is a few years away from contending for a playoff spot. He can play the two and the three and his upside is off the charts. 


Measurables: 6-foot-9, 225 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

Stephen Curry’s performance this season has the Warriors believing that their championship window hasn’t closed. The Warriors likely will shop this pick hard, as they did with the No. 2 overall pick last year, with the hopes of bringing in a veteran that can help right away. If they don’t move the pick or the lottery gods move this back into the top three where it reverts back to the Timberwolves, expect the Warriors to look for versatility and size, especially at the forward position.

Why Barnes?

Aggressive and athletic, Barnes plays with a fire and force that teams will fall in love with. At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he projects as a plus defender with solid court vision and playmaking skills. 

Barnes is a work in progress as both a perimeter shooter and scorer and his performance in the NCAA tournament created more questions than answers, but he’s only scratching the surface. 

Barnes has drawn comparisons to Draymond Green, which is high praise. If the lottery balls fall the right way, he could find himself working alongside the All-NBA defender early in his career. This would give the Warriors another ferocious defender and a potential partner to play alongside big man James Wiseman for the future. 


Measurables: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

The Raptors are in a tough spot. They aged quickly and the front line that helped carry them to the championship a few years back is gone. They still have some players to build around, like Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and O.G. Ananoby, and keeping Gary Trent Jr. makes a lot of sense as well. Overall, they need a player that can score and has upside as they transition to a new era of Raptors basketball north of the border.

Why Johnson?

This is another smooth athlete with top-end potential. He needs to stack on some weight and improve his stroke from the perimeter, but with time, Johnson could be a major piece for a team looking to build through the draft. 

Johnson’s Tennessee Volunteers crashed and burned in the tourney, but the 18-year-old showed a lot of heart and fire in the loss. He’s a basketball junkie and the Raptors' ability to develop players might help him reach his potential quickly.


Measurables: 6-foot-5, 190 pounds
Age: 20

Team Needs:

The Magic have two picks in the top 10 of a great draft. They have to hit on both and then spend a lot of time developing their young core. If they can land a player like Mobley at the top end of the draft, they can search for a ready-made scorer with their second top pick.

Why Bouknight?

Bouknight is a crafty scoring guard with great handles and nice range. He’s developing as a defender, which could move him from a super-sub to starting shooting guard at the next level. He has great balance, finishes in traffic and has a nice first step. 

Orlando might be able to find a star at the top, but this second selection has tremendous value, too. Bouknight looks like a player who can contribute right away and will hold down a long-term starter role in the NBA. If the Magic can get out of the first round with two future starters, that’s a huge win for a team that has hit the reset button.


Measurables: 6-foot-6, 205 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

Like a lot of teams at this point in the draft, the Kings have plenty of needs. They have their backcourt set with De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton as starters and Buddy Hield, Delon Wright and Terence Davis coming off the bench. They also have Harrison Barnes, who is versatile enough to play both forward spots. They could use a long-term answer at center if Richaun Holmes leaves in free agency, and Moe Harkless’s return also is in question.

Why Moody?

Like Barnes, Moody didn’t have the type of NCAA tournament that he hoped for, but that won’t completely damage his draft stock. He’s a solid 3-and-D wing with good size for an NBA three and a 7-foot wingspan. Moody has a good motor, solid basketball IQ and he might have more skills in his bag than what he showed at Arkansas. 

Moody will need some time to acclimate to the NBA, but he has a nice frame and the ability to play a couple of different positions. The Kings have been searching for this type of player for a while. Harkless filled the void in the short-term, but he’s a free agent this summer and there are no guarantees that he’ll be back. 

Sacramento also is looking to turn this ship around quickly with the hopes of snapping a 15-year playoff drought. Don’t be surprised if this pick is packaged in a trade to land a veteran that can help with that objective.


Measurables: 6-foot-7, 220 pounds
Age: 21

Team Needs:

Shooters. Shooters. Shooters. The Pelicans have plenty of talent, but so far, they haven’t been able to make it all fit together. They overloaded on size last offseason and then traded away their best shooter in JJ Redick at the deadline. Someone needs to play the role of floor spacer for this team or opponents are going to continue to pack the lane.

Why Kispert?

Kispert is a winner and the best pure shooter in the 2021 draft. He has a compact, quick release that resembles something Klay Thompson would throw up. This is an elite floor spacer that understands the game and is coming from a system that teaches the fundamentals. He might not be an elite athlete, but he is a max effort player with tremendous awareness.

The Pelicans aren't as far away from competing as their record says. Kispert is ready to compete for minutes in year one and is a really nice fit for New Orleans. 


Measurables: 6-foot-11, 220 pounds
Age: 20

Team Needs:

Has Michael Jordan built a winner? The Hornets are fun to watch with high-fliers, solid veterans and LaMelo Ball running the show. They hunted for size at the trade deadline and they’ll do so again in free agency and the draft. They could use a few more shooters as well, but this is a nice team on the rise.

Why Jones? 

Super long. Super athletic. Super raw. Jones is fun to watch, but he’s going to need a lot of time and development. Built like Wenyen Gabriel or Jonathan Issac, Jones can block shots, rebound and run the floor. He plays with energy and is extremely active. He has shown a lot of improvement over a short period of time, but at the NBA level, he’ll struggle between getting pushed around and picking up too many fouls early in his career. 

Charlotte needs a starting center for the present and the future. Jones has the right toolset, but he’ll need time to develop. If the Hornets can bring him along as a reserve, this could be a very nice player to pair with Ball in the two-man game.


Measurables: 6-foot-8, 230 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

Is this finally the end for the Spurs? After a quick exit from the play-in tournament, they're facing a difficult reality. LaMarcus Aldridge left mid-season and now DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills all are free agents coming off the books. San Antonio has a lot of money tied up in the backcourt of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, but the rest of the roster is in flux. The Spurs need a lot of everything and they need it quickly.

Why Garuba?

Garuba is an intriguing prospect playing in Europe. At 6-foot-8, 230-pounds with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he looks like a clone of former NBA defender Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. In the modern NBA, he likely is a combo forward or maybe a stretch four prospect. He has a solid release from the perimeter and moves well without the ball, but he doesn’t jump off the page. 

The Spurs always have heavily scouted the European game, so they likely already have a dossier on Garuba. San Antonio needs depth on the frontline and talent all over the court. Garuba also is one of those seasoned 18-year-old prospects from Europe that might be close to ready for some early minutes.


Measurables: 6-foot-8, 205 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

How much different would this team have looked with T.J. Warren, Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb and Caris LaVert in the postseason? There is quality depth all over this roster, but the Pacers need to find some sort of identity. Their biggest need might actually be at the coaching position, where Nate Bjorkgren seems to be in big trouble.

Why Giddey?

This is another riser in this year’s draft. Giddey is a crafty passer with great court vision and a flair for the spectacular. He’s solid in the pick-and-roll and he’s just now starting to grow into his frame. He likely is a secondary ball-handler and playmaker at the NBA level, but he’s developing quickly and has the ability to sling passes all over the court with either hand.

Giddy is climbing fast with his play in the ABL and he might make it all the way into the top 10 before it’s all said and done. His combination of skill and size is appealing, especially for a team like Indiana that is caught in the middle between playoff team and lottery-bound. The Pacers have the depth to wait for him to develop and he could be a late lottery star.


Measurables: 6-foot-8, 185 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

It’s possible that the Warriors have two top-15 picks, although it would be a surprise to see them make both selections. Kelly Oubre’s free agency is a concern, which means the Warriors should be looking for help at the wing. They could also use depth at the four and five.

Why Williams?  

The 2021 draft is packed with long, athletic wings. Adding muscle to play the small forward position is a must for Williams, but he’s wiry like Tayshaun Prince and might be stronger than he looks. He struggled with his overall shooting percentages at Stanford, but he has a clean jumper both inside and outside the arc and he can fly up and down the court. 

Williams didn’t have the breakout year that you would have liked to have seen, but he won’t fall far in this year’s draft class. The Warriors value shooting, versatility and basketball IQ and Williams checks all the boxes. In the right system, he might be a much better pro than a collegiate player.


Measurables: 6-foot-4, 205 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

Washington needs more size, although Daniel Gafford seems to have been a nice find and Thomas Bryant is set to return next season. The Wizards also could use some scoring punch off the bench and a player to learn behind Russell Westbrook.

Why Springer?

Early on, Springer looked a little lost on a deep squad, but he found his place as the season developed. Powerful, fearless and maybe a little angry, Springer loves to get fancy with the dribble, the pass and the dunk. He shot the ball well with the Vols and made solid decisions with the ball as a distributor. Springer has a nice feel for the game and an NBA-ready body, although he could use some seasoning.

Springer has the raw skills to be an excellent NBA point guard, but at 18-years-old, he will need time. If he could train behind the star-studded tandem of Westbrook and Bradley Beal, the Wizards might have a player ready to take on a bigger role in a year or two.


Measurables: 6-foot-3, 205
Age: 22 

Team Needs:

Boston has an issue with size inside, but also with roster makeup. Will Danny Ainge retool this team or leave Brad Stevens with a broken squad in need of repair? Is this finally the moment where the Celtics' core gets split up, or are we going to see more subtle changes that don’t amount to much?

Why Mitchell?

A lockdown defender in college, Mitchell is jumping up the board with his play in the tournament. He brings an edge that translates to victories on the court, and his development as a perimeter shooter has turned him into a pro prospect.  

With his play in the tournament, Mitchell could climb higher than this before it’s all said and done. He plays the game a little like Marcus Smart and he could be a defensive catalyst at the next level. He also would provide the Celtics with some depth in case they need to make other moves.


Measurables: 6-foot-8, 205 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

The thing this team needs most is just a fast-forward button. A year or two down the road, the Grizzlies are going to be a contender, especially if they can get Jaren Jackson Jr. healthy. They already have 14 players under contract for next season. Memphis, like every team, could use more shooters and maybe a long-term solution at the three.

Why Wagner?

Wagner can score, rebound and he’s developing as a secondary distributor. He has a quick release and a clean stroke from long range, although his numbers don’t jump off the page. A high basketball IQ player, Wagner moves well without the ball and isn’t afraid to take the big shot. He has good size for an NBA wing, although he is an average athlete at best.

The Grizzlies have plenty of super athletes on their roster. They could use a multi-positional player that can shoot, pass and fit into their system. Wagner can stretch the floor and he brings plenty more to the table.


Measurables: 6-foot-1, 180 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

The Thunder need a lot of everything. They should be able to fill a major void with their top pick, but they need to find value here as well. They have some young pieces, but nothing that would limit them from choosing the best player available here in the mid-first.

Why Cooper?

Cooper is a flashy point guard who loves to create for himself and others off the dribble. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands and averaged nearly nine assists per game in his freshman season at Auburn. He’s a work in progress when it comes to perimeter shooting and he turns the ball over at a high clip, but he's a highlight-reel waiting to happen. 

The Thunder have multiple picks this year and a truckload of them in the coming drafts. They can gamble a little bit here and hope they find another diamond in the rough. Cooper is fun and can be a difference-maker off the bench early in his career and possibly more down the road.


Measurables: 6-foot-10, 205 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

A season ago the Knicks needed everything. That list is shrinking. Scott Perry has done a very nice job of building out the talent base and finding brawlers that fit Tom Thibodeau’s system. They can use more depth and length in the post and they are still in search of their long-term floor general.

Why Jackson?

Sign me up. There are very few things that are unteachable in the game of basketball. Blocking shots is one of them. Jackson has a natural ability to hunt and divert shots. In the right situation, this could be a Dennis Rodman type of player. He’s a hot mess on offense, but what Jackson can do on a court is pure instincts. If you can teach him some basic pick-and-roll sets and get him in the weight room, this could be a game-changing steal. 

The Knicks finally are building something. They need more versatility in the backcourt and more shooters, but Jackson is one of those players that brings a defensive mindset to the table and would instantly fit into Thibs' system. There are questions as to whether he’ll return to Kentucky, but if he stays in the draft, he could go anywhere from 10-20.


Measurables: 6-foot-9, 205 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

The Hawks tried to bolster their roster last offseason with players like Kris Dunn and Rajon Rondo. Neither worked out well, although the team did find value with Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danillo Gallinari. This team has talent at every position, but they could use a little more athleticism, especially if John Collins sneaks away in free agency.

Why Brown?

A super athletic combo forward, Brown came into the season very highly regarded. He had a solid freshman season, but consistency is an issue. He can shoot from beyond the arc, run the floor like a gazelle and he has the potential to be an elite rim protector. Like his teammate Kai Jones, Brown is raw, but there is a lot to work with. 

Brown is very talented, but he’s probably a season or two away from stealing major minutes. The Hawks already are developing Onyeka Okongwu, but this is a very different type of player. Multi-positional defenders with upside are all the rage and Brown could be a good one.


Measurables: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds
Age: 21

Team Needs:

The Knicks have a collection of point guards on their roster, all of whom enter the summer as free agents. They have to find the long-term answer at that position. They’ll likely try to address the position with a veteran, but they’ll still need depth behind him.

Why Butler?

3-pointer? Check. Ability to distribute? Check. NBA body? Check. Butler is one of those veteran college players who makes an impact at the next level. He knows who he is and he has a game that translates. He’s also a big-time winner who helped Baylor take home a national championship.

The Knicks have a lot of work to do in the summer, but finding a mature guard who can step in and play early might take some of the strain off the franchise. Butler was a heck of a player at the NCAA level and that mentality might translate to the NBA.


Measurables: 6-foot-9, 240 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

The Lakers only have five players under guaranteed contract for next season and they already are well over the salary cap. They need to find a way to retain players like Dennis Schroeder, Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell, or LeBron James will play out his final years with Anthony Davis and a mixed bag of low-level vets.

Why Sengun?

Sengun is putting up huge numbers in the Turkish Super League, which is bound to get an NBA team to bite. The 18-year-old has a big body, plays extremely well in the pick-and-roll and has shown some ability to play defense. He needs plenty of work, especially on his body, but he has a soft touch around the rim. 

Someone will take a chance with Sengun. The numbers he’s posting overseas are crazy for a kid his age. The Lakers value their roster spots, which means this pick could either be on the move or a draft-and-stash situation. Then again, maybe Sengun is the next big thing from Europe.


Measurables: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

New ownership? Is that a possibility? Probably not. So the answer is a lot of everything. The Rockets should be able to add a budding young star at the top of the draft, but with the way their roster is currently constructed, they’ll need more help from each of their picks in the 20s.

Why Thomas?

Every team needs a scorer. While Thomas doesn’t move the needle as a passer or rebounder and goes through the motions on the defensive end, he can fill it up with the best of them. He’s one of the few freshmen that lived up to his potential. This is a player who lacks a conscience as a shooter, which is both a blessing and a curse. 

The Rockets are attempting a rapid rebuild. I’m not sure that ever works, but they’ll try it. They have a pick at the top end of this draft and they should be able to find a nice prospect here in the twenties. Thomas is a big-time scorer who might be able to eat some minutes early. He needs to work on the rest of his game, but there is no question that he could average double-digits coming out of the gate if a team lets him loose. 


Measurables: 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
Age: 18

Team Needs:

Giving away veterans for late first-round picks doesn’t usually work out as planned. Houston would be better served trying to move off of one of their two picks in the 20s. If the Rockets do stick around and make both selections, they can swing for the fences and hope they land at least one player for the future.

Why Johnson?

Talent is a four-letter word. There will be a team that takes Johnson on potential alone -- but several will pass on him. He has the body and an elite skill set, but there is something missing. His motor is questionable and so is his awareness. Coach K was hard on the 18-year-old, so he bailed. Johnson's entire journey to the NBA leads you to wonder what will happen when things get difficult at the next level. 

Houston has an odd mix of players to work with moving forward and Johnson might fit in perfectly. He has tremendous potential, but someone is going to have to work hard to get him to maximize his value. This is a risk/reward pick that could pay off down the road and if not, a mid-twenties pick is a low risk.


Measurables: 6-foot-11, 265 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

This is an important offseason in LA. Kawhi Leonard has a player option for next season and can walk away. Serge Ibaka can do the same. The Clippers quickly could go from a contender to a team with a lot of bloated veteran contracts and no real chance for a ring. Either way, they could use depth in the backcourt and at the center position.

Why Sharpe?

Sharpe is one of the few big-bodied centers in this year’s draft and he has done some really nice work on his physique. He’ll need a professional training staff to keep him in top shape, but there is a lot to like about the former Tar Heel big. He has soft hands, works close to the basket and knows how to hit the glass hard. He turns the ball over too much and needs to be more efficient as a scorer, but with the draft void of true bigs, he might have a shot to make it. 

The Clippers are in a weird spot. They spent a massive amount of money to build a championship-quality team, but that window might be closing, especially if Leonard walks away. Sharpe is loaded with potential, but needs direction. This late in the draft, that is about the best you can ask for.


Measurables: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds
Age: 21

Team Needs:

The Nuggets have made a ton of savvy moves over the last few seasons. Their ability to find talent late in the draft has been overlooked. They have an immediate need in the backcourt with Jamal Murray out for a while and Gary Harris now a member of the Orlando Magic.

Why Dosunmu?

Dosunmu is a big, strong, active combo guard that fills up the stat sheet. He has an active body with really nice length and the ability to play both guard positions. He was part of the big turnaround in Illinois basketball and there’s a good chance his game will translate to the next level as a rotational player. 

Denver needs depth and Dosunmu brings a little of everything to the table. He isn’t afraid to play defense, which Michael Malone will like, and he should be a solid addition this late in the draft, especially for a team looking for NBA-ready talent to eat minutes.


Measurables: 6-foot-5, 210 pounds
Age: 20

Team Needs:

What does a team with superstars at every position really need? The answer might be end-of-the-bench depth for when the stars take turns sitting for months at a time. This late in the draft, you try to find a prospect that can do one or two specific things, regardless of position.

Why Johnson?

The only thing separating Johnson from being an NBA prospect following his freshman year was his 3-point shooting percentage. After knocking down just 21.7 percent from beyond the arc last season, he’s doubled that percentage in his sophomore campaign. This is a solid, big guard with nice scoring potential and a smooth game. He plays through contact, can back smaller guards down in the post and he’s a quality rebounder as well. 

Johnson is physical and not afraid to battle. He might not be a star-level prospect, but he’s built for the grind of a long season and might be closer to being able to step on the floor than a lot of other players around this range. Brooklyn is built to chase titles. This pick could be moved with roster spots at a premium and veterans lining up to play for a top contender.


Measurables: 6-foot-6, 215 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

The Sixers have struggled to balance out their roster for the last few years. They have a top-heavy rotation with massive contracts for Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons eating up a combined $100 million next season. They need depth all over the court, but they have yet to reach the point where veterans line up to take the minimum to play for a ring.

Why Mann?

Mann is a former McDonald’s All-American who had a quiet freshman season at Florida. While he’s not on every draft board as of now, he should be. The sophomore point guard has grown, both physically and as a player. He shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range and he’s a tremendous creator with the ball in his hands. 

Mann is a low-risk, high-reward pick this late and his size and skill set are very intriguing. The 76ers are a contender, but they're still building out their bench. Mann is fun and, with some time, he might become something in the pros.


Measurables: 6-foot-5, 215 pounds
Age: 19

Team Needs:

The Suns burst onto the scene this season, skipping two or three steps on their way to a stunning 51-21 record. Most of their core is under contract for next season, but they’ll need to fill out the bench and could use depth at every position.

Why Christopher?

Christopher walks that fine line of playing with tremendous energy while trying to stay under control. It doesn’t always work, but he’s fun to watch. He’s more of a pure scorer than a shooter, which he’ll need to work on at the next level. Can he be a super-sub in the NBA? It’s very possible. 

The Suns don't have the best track record in the draft, but they usually do better outside of the lottery. Christopher’s energy is contagious and there will be a team that gambles on his potential.


Measurables: 6-foot-6, 190 pounds
Age: 23

Team Needs:

This is the most complete team in the league. The Jazz have a major decision with Mike Conley playing out the final year of his contract. Can they retain the All-Star? He’ll have to take a major pay cut to make it work. Outside of the Conley situation, Utah is mostly intact for next season. This late in the draft, the Jazz likely will find another strong veteran college player that can step in and help out.

Why Duarte?

Oregon was a lot of fun to watch in the tournament and Duarte was a big reason. Long, athletic and under control, Duarte looks a lot like another former Duck in Memphis' Dillon Brooks. He can hit the 3-ball, pass and he averaged nearly two steals per game.

Utah loves positionless players that understand the game and how to fill a role. Duarte isn’t on every board, but there is potential for him to be one of those draft night surprises. Teams this late in the draft like veteran college players or draft-and-stash options. Despite being one of the older prospects in the draft, Duarte might be a riser.

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