The 2021 NBA draft may not feature much drama at the top. Trades can always shake things up, but we have a pretty good idea that some combination of Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, and Evan Mobley will be the first three players to hear their names called in Brooklyn on Thursday night.
While the Pistons, Rockets, and Cavaliers are all in prime spots to land potential franchise cornerstones, those three players are far from the only prospects with star-level upside. Remember, none of Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam, or Jimmy Butler was a top-10 pick. Nikola Jokic wasn’t even selected in the first round. There are good players to be had beyond the top few spots in lottery every single year.
While there may still be a bit of uncertainty at the top, most believe the draft will really get interesting when the Oklahoma City Thunder are on the clock with the sixth overall pick. Cunningham, Green, and Mobley are overwhelming favorites to go 1-2-3, with Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Kuminga, and Scottie Barnes all in contention to be taken at Nos. 4 or 5.
DraftKings has countless NBA draft props available for your perusal. You can even wager on the draft positions for a number of prospects ahead of Thursday night.
Where will Davion Mitchell, Moses Moody, Josh Giddey, and other highly-rated players be taken?
Davion Mitchell Draft Position
Over 12.5 (-115)
Under 12.5 (-115)
Davion Mitchell was one of the darlings of this year’s NCAA Tournament. Mitchell drew rave reviews for his stellar two-way play in helping Baylor win the national championship for the first time. The junior guard was one of the Bears’ key players all season long, and he was one of the most improved offensive players in the country.
After averaging 9.9 points per game on brutal 40 percent shooting as a sophomore, Mitchell massively inflated his draft stock after his junior campaign. Mitchell improved his scoring average to 14 points per game while impressively knocking down better than 51 percent of his field-goal attempts. Most importantly, he connected on nearly 45 percent of his three-pointers after shooting just 32 percent from downtown as a sophomore.
Mitchell is a little short to play shooting guard at the next level at 6’2″, but his 205-pound frame should help him handle bigger guards on the defensive end of the floor. Mitchell is viewed as the best perimeter defensive prospect in this class, which is something that could help him carve out a role in an NBA rotation from day one.
An interesting storyline I'll be monitoring to help understand the direction the league is trending is: where do the "old guys" end up? I'm talking about Davion Mitchell, Corey Kispert, Chris Duarte and Trey Murphy, who are of legal drinking age. Could they all crack the lottery?
However, teams do still question whether his offensive improvement last season is sustainable at the NBA level. As a result, his NBA comparison may be closer to Marcus Smart than Donovan Mitchell. That said, any team would love to have Marcus Smart. A team like the Spurs, who pick 12th, would do well to land the Baylor standout.
Mitchell’s draft stock improved considerably after the tournament, but it seems as though some of that enthusiasm has waned as we get closer to the draft. The Warriors reportedly have interest, but they’re more likely to nab him at No. 14 than they are at No. 7. Golden State is a team hoping to contend right away, so the fact that he’s one of the oldest prospects in the class likely isn’t a negative for them.
At this point, the value seems to be on Mitchell being taken at No. 13 or later. Bet the over on 12.5 at -115.
Davion Mitchell Draft Position –Over 12.5 (-115)
Josh Giddey Draft Position
Over 10.5 (+145)
Under 10.5 (-185)
Josh Giddey, a 6’8″ swingman from Australia, is one of the youngest prospects in the class at just 18 years old. He declared for the draft back in April following a solid campaign with the Adelaide 36ers, and his combination of size and tools will make him a likely lottery selection.
The Warriors want to compete as soon as possible with Steph Curry reaching the latter stages of his prime and Klay Thompson returning from injury. As much as they may love Giddey, I’m not sure he’s a fit for the team’s timeline given his age. Orlando is a potential landing spot at No. 8 if they pass on Barnes or Kuminga at No. 5, but all three are a bit redundant. If the Magic take Barnes or Kuminga fifth, Giddey looks like an unlikely choice for them a few picks later.
Which international prospect am I most intrigued by as we get closer to draft night? 6-10 Turkish big Alperen Sengun. You know what you’re getting in Josh Giddey (size + feel) & Usman Garuba (defense + motor). Sengun is more of a wildcard w/ a skill level you rarely see @ his age pic.twitter.com/xk4oketwIK
The Kings, who pick ninth, are a team trying to win as soon as possible given their lengthy playoff drought. A more established player like Franz Wagner looks like a reasonable choice here even if they keep the pick, which they may not.
So, Giddey winding up in the top-10 likely hinges on the Grizzlies at No. 10. Giddey’s point-forward type of skills don’t necessarily blend with a team that already has Ja Morant in the fold, but we do know the Grizzlies aren’t afraid to take shots on high-upside talent in the draft. Giddey isn’t a safe pick by any means, but he could be the heir apparent on the wing if Kyle Anderson departs via free agency next summer.
I don’t think the -185 odds are necessarily appropriate here given the uncertainty, but I do think Giddey is more likely to land in the top-10 than not. So, bet the under on 10.5 here.
Josh Giddey Draft Position –Under 10.5 (-185)
Moses Moody Draft Position
Over 11.5 (+110)
Under 11.5 (-140)
Moses Moody is one of the better offensive wings in this class after a standout freshman campaign with Arkansas. The 6’6″ Little Rock native averaged 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for the Razorbacks, and he led the team to an unexpected berth in the Elite Eight, where they ultimately fell to Baylor.
Moody is highly unlikely to sneak his way into the top-five, but he’s a pretty good player that should still be available in the latter stages of the top-10. Moody is still only 19, and he comes with a more readymade skill set than the likes of Kuminga, Giddey, or Barnes. Moody may not be as athletic as some of the other top wings in the class, but his 7’1″ wingspan should give him decent potential on the defensive end of the floor.
Big workout in Golden State today with Chris Duarte, Trey Murphy, Moses Moody, and Davion Mitchell in for a competitive workout. Results of the workout could very well play a role in who they end up selecting at No. 14.
Golden State makes sense as a potential Moody suitor at No. 7. We know the Warriors are largely spoken for at the guard spots, but adding Moody would give the team a solid insurance option if Klay Thompson or Andrew Wiggins get banged up at some point. James Bouknight, a guard from Connecticut, is another player that has been linked to the Warriors but doesn’t make quite as much sense given the team’s depth in the backcourt.
Moody could easily wind up being the play at No. 8 for Orlando or at No. 9 for Sacramento. If the Grizzlies want a safer pick than Giddey at No. 10, Moody could be the guy there, too. In the end, I think Moody’s polished offensive game will be too good for needy teams to pass up in the top-10. Take the under on Moody’s draft position of 11.5.
Moses Moody Draft Position –Under 11.5 (-140)
James Bouknight Draft Position
Over 7.5 (+135)
Under 7.5 (-170)
As mentioned, Bouknight is a potential option for Golden State at No. 7. Bouknight is the best guard prospect in the class not named Cunningham, Green, or Suggs. The Warriors’ offense completely cratered in the minutes they played without Curry last season, so nabbing a guard with Bouknight’s potential certainly makes sense from that standpoint.
The problem with the over/under of 7.5 is that there seems to be more room for downside than upside. If the Warriors don’t take Bouknight at No. 7, it’s hard to see how he lands inside the top-7 at all. Cunningham, Green, Mobley, Suggs, Kuminga, and Barnes seem to be the consensus top-6 in this draft. A team like Toronto or Orlando could throw a wrench into things, but that top-6 seems pretty sturdy as of now.
So, you’re essentially betting on the Warriors pulling the trigger on Bouknight at No. 7. That’s a very realistic possibility, but I don’t think it’s quite as clear-cut as the odds indicate. There is plenty of uncertainty once you get past the top-5. With other guard options like Mitchell or Chris Duarte potentially there for Golden State at No. 14, it’s very easy to see how they could pass on Bouknight at No. 7.
Take the value on the over at the current +135 odds.
James Bouknight Draft Position –Over 7.5 (+135)
Ziaire Williams Draft Position
Over 18.5 (-140)
Under 18.5 (+110)
Ziaire Williams is one of a few quality prospects to come out of the vaunted Sierra Canyon high school program in Southern California. Bronny James’ former teammate is fresh off of a solid freshman campaign with Stanford, but he likely didn’t do enough to turn himself into a lottery pick. In 20 games with the Cardinal last season, Williams averaged 10.7 points on just 37.4 percent shooting from the field.
Those offensive numbers leave plenty to be desired, but teams are more than happy to look past college stats these days. While Williams is obviously a raw work-in-progress, any 6’9″ wing with his athleticism is going to make scouts drool. Big wings are all the rage these days, so Williams is still a lock to wind up somewhere in the middle-to-late part of the first round on Thursday night.
Ziaire Williams: "One of the things that popped up a lot with OKC is when I talked with (Mark Daigneault) about all the analytics."
Says that Dag encouraged him to take midrange shots
Oklahoma City, Who Has Picks 16 and 18, Is a Potential Landing Spot
The Thunder aren’t shy about throwing darts in the draft, and they have enough picks over the next few years to shoot for the moon with boom-or-bust prospects like Williams. He’s not likely to be much of a contributor in the near future, but the rebuilding Thunder can afford to wait.
New Orleans (17) looks like more of a win-now candidate, so they don’t necessarily fit the bill for him. Ditto for the Knicks at 19 or 21 and the Hawks at 20. There is a real possibility that Williams continues to get pushed down the draft board, but I’m willing to bet on the Thunder being the team to pull the trigger with one of their picks in the teens. Take the value on the under on 18.5 for Ziaire Williams at NBA betting sites.
Ziaire Williams Draft Position –Under 18.5 (+110)
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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