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2021 NBA Lottery Teams Mock Draft

With one week until this draft, here is how we could see the lottery playing out.

The 2021 NBA Draft is one week away and rumors are flying out left and right. There is bound to be some shockers on draft night, like there is every year. Could the Raptors take Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs? Are the Oklahoma City Thunder considering passing on Jonathan Kuminga if he is available at 6, and if so how far does he fall?

Bryant and I did a mock draft of how we think draft night could play out. We alternated selections and I was in charge of the first pick owned by the Detroit Pistons.

With so much variance into the mid-late lottery, who knows the actual order of selections. Let us know who you would consider taking for Sacramento at pick nine if it played out like this.

1 - Detroit Piston - Cade Cunningham, 6'8, Oklahoma State

Profile: I would be shocked if the talk surrounding the Pistons considering moving down from the number one overall pick wasn't just a smokescreen. The noted concerns around his playmaking are absurd, Cade can make every pass there is in the book, and he answered every question had going into this season regarding his shooting. He can create for himself and others at an elite level and is a defensive difference-maker at 6'8€, don't overthink this.

Fit: The Pistons are going to be so damn fun to watch with Cade as the focal point. He relieves ball-handling pressure from Jerami Grant and Killian Hayes, allowing them to play more freely. Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey are going to love having Cade around as play finishers. Just an awesome fit and team on the rise in Detroit.

2 - Houston Rockets - Jalen Green, 6'6, G-League Ignite 

Profile: As promising a three-level scorer as you'll find in recent drafts, Jalen Green is a game-changing athlete whose shot proved true in his 15 game season in the NBA GLeague. He averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals on a 61.3% true shooting rate and 36.5% from deep against as close to NBA competition as a prospect can get. By all accounts, he's an insanely dedicated player and a near lock to be a dynamic scorer in a year or two. 

Fit: While I personally would take Evan Mobley if I was in Rafael Stone's place, Green is the €œodds-on favorite to go No. 2€ according to Action Network's Matt Moore and many others. Conceptually, it does make sense for the Rockets to go take a guy they think can be their primary scorer - and a pairing of Green with breakout-star-in-the-waiting Kevin Porter Jr. would give the Rockets a damn electric offense (even if the duo would be slightly undersized). 

3 - Cleveland Cavaliers - Evan Mobley, 7'0, USC

Profile: Evan Mobley, and his 7'4€ wingspan, possesses unreal defensive player of the year type potential in the NBA. He was a shot-blocking/altering menace for USC with stellar timing, superb rotations, impressive lateral speed, and defensive understanding. While Mobley is not an offensive engine on offense like some of the other top selections, he certainly makes an impact on that end of the floor as well. He displayed a soft touch around the rim, projects as a respected shooter from deep, and passed the ball at an underrated level. 

Fit: It has been rumored that the Cleveland Cavalier are going to offer Jarrett Allen a five-year, $100-million deal in restricted free agency that I would be shocked to see another team match. While Allen and Mobley are an unideal pairing, they could share the floor and succeed cleaning up after Darius Garland and Collin Sexton (if he is around still). Fit should not really be taken into consideration here for Cleveland, take the best talent on the board at three and that's Evan Mobley.

4 - Toronto Raptors - Jalen Suggs, 6'4, Gonzaga

Profile: Suggs is super versatile and big enough to handle either guard spot, and as the best player on the best Gonzaga team in history, he proved he could take over in big moments while keeping his deep squad involved. He's engaged at both ends, has NBA size combined with excellent athleticism, and plays with exceptional control with the ball in his hands. His three point success dipped to end the season, but there's no reason to think he can't become a very successful NBA shooter. He's a homerun selection whether he goes 2, 3, or 4. 

Fit: The Raptors have an odd luxury here - they'd fit exceptionally well with whoever of Green, Mobley, or Suggs falls to them at 4. In this case, Suggs gives the Raptors something they'll lose if/when Kyle Lowry leaves - a dynamic floor general who can pair well with Fred Vanvleet on both ends to lead the Raptors offense for the next half-decade. With their fantastic combination of forwards and Nick Nurse's defensive intensity, I think adding their next true star here at number 4 could vault the Raptors back into playoff contention pretty damn quickly. 

5 - Orlando Magic  -  Jonathan Kuminga, 6'8, G-League Ignite

Profile: Jonathan Kuminga is one of the youngest players in this draft cycle, but you would have no clue if you saw how he is built. His outlier strength, bounce, and movement at 6'8€ is tantalizing and has been for years now. Playing for the G-League Ignite program exposed the well-documented rawness of Kuminga's game where he averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.7 steals on 38.7/24.6/62.5 shooting splits. The percentages are undeniably gross for Kuminga, but so is the upside of a player able to create his own shot off the dribble at his size. There is a perennial all-star somewhere in Kuminga if he pans out, but he is not without risk.

Fit: Kuminga and Scottie Barnes were the two in consideration for me at pick five. I don't think either is an amazing fit for the Orlando Magic, who really could use a Jalen Green type of scorer and ball handler. Kuminga clearly has the higher offensive upside than Barnes, and with Orlando's somewhat newly acquired young core they are in a position where patience can be understandably preached to the fanbase - perfect for Kuminga.

6 - Oklahoma City Thunder - Scottie Barnes, 6'9, Florida State

Profile: Barnes is a damn 6'9 battle tank with insane defensive versatility, capable of both floating on the perimeter with guards and handling his business down low against bigs. He's a damn ball-hawk, snagging an incredible 2.4 steals per 40 minutes, and despite going maximum effort at all times, he never fouled out of a game this season. He could very likely be a defensive culture setter for a young squad from day one. He's also going to be a capable secondary playmaker at the next level, although I would worry if his future team tries to make him a primary initiator, as the rest of his offensive skillset - including, how the heck does he score? - is very much in question. 

Fit: Oklahoma City has their primary initiator in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so my main concern about Barnes offensively fades somewhat if he ends up on the Thunder. On defense, Barnes could be the captain that sets the tone for the Thunder moving forward. Combined with Aleksej Pokusevski, he gives the Thunder insane versatility on defense while helping cover up the super-skinny big man's weaknesses. The only downside here is that if the Thunder leave the draft with a combination of Poku and Barnes - plus their massive draft-pick warchest - our buddy Will Griffith might just move to Oklahoma City and leave the Kings behind. 

7 - Golden State Warriors - James Bouknight, 6'5, UConn

Profile: James Bouknight is just a bucket, no other way to put it. His best skill at the moment is his off-ball movement and his creation flashes were unreal, including one 40-point outing this past season. While his shooting percentages were not pretty, his finishing around the rim was promising, his handle seemed to be enough even if it wasn't great, and his quick twitch and bouncy athleticism should bode well at the next level. While concerns circle around his lack of playmaking in college, he was his team's entire offense and I don't project him as an offensive engine anyways. He also showed an ability to move his feet well on defense and was a positive on that end when locked in.

Fit: I love the fit of Bouknight in Golden State. Before the emergence of Jordan Poole, the Golden State Warriors greatly lacked creation and scorers outside of Bouknight. When Steph goes to the bench, Bouknight can become more of a focal point and attempt to create off the bounce, but I am most intrigued by the idea of them sharing the floor. As I mentioned, off-ball movement may be Bouknight's greatest talent at his current stage and I can only imagine opposing teams trying to keep track of Steph, Klay, and Bouknight.

8 - Orlando Magic - Josh Giddey, 6'8, Adelaide 36ers (NBL)

Profile: As Brenden pointed out in his excellent Giddey profile, the 6'8 Australian has one of the elite skills in this draft class - he led the NBL in assists, and possesses incredible passing instincts and vision. He's dynamic in the pick-and-roll and and a very intelligent offensive player. He needs to prove his odd shooting stroke can be consistent, and continue to improve his handle and ability to attack the basket before he can really be a primary initiator prospect - but alongside other scorers and playmakers, he'll at worst be a promising connector on a strong offense. 

Fit: I waffled on this pick - the Magic could use both a shooter (thus robbing the Kings of Moses Moody), but they also really need more playmaking, especially having drafting Jonathan Kuminga at No. 5. Working with Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz, I think Giddey could really help new Magic coach Jamahl Mosley unlock a versatile, threatening offense. 

9 - Sacramento Kings - Moses Moody, 6'6, Arkansas

Profile: Moses Moody is often given the label of a 3&D player, but that feels like underselling him. At 6'6'€ with a 7'0€ wingspan, Moody is a high level defender with his instincts and hands that should be able to comfortable guard threes at the NBA level. He played a smaller role alongside Cade, Scottie Barnes, and DayRon Sharpe at Monteverde then became the leading scorer at a top NCAA program in Arkansas with 16.8 points per game. If Moody can become a sharpshooter from downtown, which is very possible, then his offensive upside off the bounce is nothing to scoff at. Great floor as a 3&D prospect, but the potential to be more. 

Fit: The Sacramento Kings need defense and high IQ players. Moody checks both those boxes, could provide some relief on the offensive end of the floor for De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton while also spacing the floor. On defense, Moody can comfortably work his way to the starting three-guard with Harrison Barnes at the four and also take on some of the tougher guard assignments from Haliburton/Fox. Adding him to the roster would be a great step towards a competent defense.

10 - New Orleans Pelicans - Franz Wagner, 6'9, Michigan

Profile: A 6'9 forward with Wagner's combination of shoot/dribble/pass/defend upside is incredibly valuable in the modern NBA. Wagner's best skill is his defensive versatility, and he has excellent defensive awareness combined with a fluidity/crazy-cool footwork that lets him stay in front of/help on a whole lot of different offensive players. While he's a capable shooter (who has a track record of positive shooting since before his Michigan days), he lacks the confidence on offense that he has on defense, and will need a smart coach to help him unlock his offensive versatility. Brenden covered him in-depth recently.

Fit: The Pelicans have their scoring stars in check, so adding Franz's defensive upside, good passing instincts, and ability to impact the game without the ball in his hands fits extremely well with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. 

11 - Charlotte Hornets - Kai Jones, 6'11, Texas

Profile: Kai Jones is your classic high upside low floor swing, but the upside with his fluidity at 6'11€ should not be understated. While Kai is not a classic rim protector, switchable bigs are becoming more and more of a wanted commodity in today's NBA and Jones still has his moments of being impactful around the rim. Just go watch him defend Cade Cunningham in space when their teams matched up, or check out a highlight reel of the awesome off the bounce shooting, ball handling, and rim-running flashes. Right now, they are nothing but flashes and each flash is accompanied by even more questionable decisions for Jones, the team that drafts him will have to be patient.

Fit: The Hornets need a center, that's no secret, and this is where I reach a big tier of names on my board. I don't particularly like the Alperen Sengun fit, because his ceiling revolves around a back-to-the-basket game that would take the ball out of LaMelo's hands. 

12 - San Antonio Spurs - Alperen Sengun, 6'9, Besiktas (Turkish Super League)

Profile: Sengun won the MVP award of the Turkish Super League, averaging 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 64.6 percent from the field. While many of his baskets in the TSL were with his back-to-the-basket, he shows near-complete promise on the offensive end, especially thanks to his amazing (and underrated by the numbers) passing ability. His defensive upside, though, is pretty damn concerning, and he could be hunted at the next level. I don't really need to profile Sengun anymore than this - Brenden covered him in exceptional detail last week

Fit: The Spurs need a big man, have the defense in place to insulate Sengun until he catches up to NBA speed, and could really use someone with Sengun's offensive upside. This is as awesome a fit as I could find for the 18-year-old big man.

 

13 - Indiana Pacers - Ziaire Williams, 6'9, Stanford

Profile: Bryant recently did an amazing job breaking down Ziaire Williams, so check that out for the full breakdown of his complicated freshman season at Stanford. Williams was a top-10 ranked prospect coming out of high school due to his shot creation and making ability at 6'9€. While patience is going to be necessary with Williams, whose shooting numbers were atrocious in his freshman campaign, he has the upside of a high end scorer and defensive playmaker who could bust if he is never able to adjust to NBA physicality.

Fit: The Pacers are in a good position to take an upside swing, and Ziaire could provide them with the perimeter scoring threat that Indiana so desperately needs. Don't expect much contribution year one, but Williams should benefit from getting to play off of Domantas Sabonis early in his career. If Ziaire hits, which is a big if, I think he would provide exactly what Indiana needs to take this roster to the next level. 

14 - Golden State Warriors - Davion Mitchell, 6'3, Baylor

Profile: An incredibly dedicated and capable defender, Mitchell was the soul of a dominant Baylor squad and helped lead them to the NCAA Championship this year. His productivity (14 points, 5.5 assists, 1.9 steals, and 51% shooting per game), along with his tenacity make him a favorite of many smart basketball minds, and he's the type of gritty, high-motor player that is incredibly easy to bet on. I'm worried that his shooting ability has become overrated, as he shot just 31% from three in his first two collegiate playing season and his free throw numbers hovered in the 60%s throughout his career. He's also a tad undersized for the combo-guard defensive force he's being labeled as, but plenty of shorter players have excelled on defense before and not many of them have Mitchell's explosiveness.

Fit: While the Warriors already selected a guard at No. 7 in this mock (James Bouknight), I don't think they'd pass up Mitchell at 14. While Steve Kerr would have to juggle a ton of guards who all deserve big minutes, Bouknight and Mitchell both offer different skillsets and both could fit really damn well between Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. While Mitchell is likely to go higher than this, going in the teens (especially to a squad with shooters) is in my opinion a better outcome for Mitchell - I'm afraid if he goes higher than this, he may be unfairly labeled a bust if his shot doesn't translate to the level that some expect. 

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WizsSox
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July 22, 2021 3:22 pm

comment image

lutherRackley
July 22, 2021 4:11 pm

“He lacks the confidence on offense that he has on defense” Finally someone told the truth about Franz Wagner. Who needs a player like that in the toughest pro league on the planet? As a Michigan graduate and obvious fan we have seen plenty of both Wagners. He might turn out to be a bit better professionally than his brother but that is a low bar.

andy_sims
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July 23, 2021 7:06 am
Reply to  lutherRackley

As a native Buckeye, thanks a ton for not firing Jim Harbaugh.

HongKongKingsFan
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July 22, 2021 4:57 pm

Which draftee would be most possible to jump into TOP 6 ?

James Bouknight or Moody or somebody else ?

Bryant
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July 22, 2021 4:59 pm

Bouknight would be my bet. He seems a dude front offices would fall for if he has great workouts and interviews.

HongKongKingsFan
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July 22, 2021 5:05 pm
Reply to  Bryant

You mean this outcome ?

1st: Cade
2nd: Green
3rd: Mobley
4th: Sugg
5th: Barnes
6th :Bouknight
7th: Moody
8th: Sengun (Magic need replacement of Vucevic)
9th : Kuminga



Bryant
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July 22, 2021 5:18 pm

I’m not gonna lie, that it both an exciting and terrifying outcome.

murraytant
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July 22, 2021 5:57 pm
Reply to  Bryant

yes. Exciting- young potential. Terrifying- young potential.

murraytant
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July 22, 2021 6:01 pm
Reply to  Bryant

and…. there is a good chance this happens if duds cannot find a quick trade partner at #7. I am sure they have the possibility mapped out but they may not like the offers which will be one sided against them. They had offers for #2 last year and could not stomach the fleecing they would have had to take. Thus, they may not like the options, take Moody, plan for Kispert at 14 and Kuminga falls. If they pick I suspect Mitchel at 7 and Kispert at 14.

andy_sims
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July 23, 2021 7:07 am
Reply to  murraytant

Absolutely amazing Freudian slip, that.

murraytant
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July 23, 2021 4:33 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

intentional.

jwalker1395
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July 23, 2021 10:15 am
Reply to  Bryant

IF this were to occur, I may balk at the idea of catching the falling knife. Rewatching Kuminga’s tape, it’s such a mixed bag. The good moments are REALLY good and the bad moments are REALLY bad. I don’t think the shot is gonna be there. The FT numbers, shooting numbers, and mechanics all suggest a guy who simply lacks shooting touch. That means you gotta hope he becomes a really good PnR forward who can make the right pass and run the ball in transition. If he could become like Ben Simmons or Draymond Green it’d be ideal. But he’d need more shooters around him and having Fox already in the lineup means we’re running out of spots to put shooters at. He has sky-high potential (especially if I’m totally wrong and the jumper comes through), but I think we could also be having a very bad time with him in a couple years. In other words, exciting and terrifying.

murraytant
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July 22, 2021 5:56 pm

Bouknight to OKC. Jumps past duds who wanted him. Then they have the Kuminga conundrum–take a very young guy with no experience who will get in the way of their offense, like Oubre did and take up space. He may “get good” later but l too late for their core who are aging. He also plays the same spot as Wiggins who won’t want to give up any minutes, him being a bit selfish and all. And Wiseman might as well be a rookie.
Conundrum…………………
I suspect trade attempts.

SexyNapear
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July 22, 2021 5:04 pm

Trade the pick for Richaun Holmes.

TheGrantNapear
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July 22, 2021 6:13 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Peaches always has the hot take!

SexyNapear
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July 22, 2021 10:16 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Cause I’m sexy

MammothKing
July 22, 2021 5:49 pm

When the Kings trade Fox to the Warriors for Wiseman, 7, 14 and salary filler it’s going to mess up a lot of draft boards.

TheGrantNapear
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July 22, 2021 6:14 pm
Reply to  MammothKing

Are you an advocate for this trade?

murraytant
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July 22, 2021 5:51 pm

Most every year I study the draft- habits die hard with a losing team, I get my hopes up, I get thrilled with the choices and options and then at about this time, I sour on all of them. I think, except for the first couple, they all stink. Same this year. Last year I soured on all of them including Haliburton who had questionable shooting issue but I was willing to “accept” him if he fell. This year I suspect I will be critical of all of them except top 4 but at the last minute, I get that old hope again and the guy we pick will be the best ever and has no flaws, until the season starts.
Would be great if Kuminga falls but he has to pass through the duds who will trade the slot for something and somebody will pick him at 7. At 9 ? depends also on Orlando and OKC Kings get what they leave on table. My first pick would be Sengun- I am swinging for the fences, pure emotion here. The big hope. Then I would be “satisfied” with Moody or Wagner although both are flawed.
Heard that Monte wants to trade #9 for a vet who can help Kings get to playoffs. Wish it was that easy. How about #9 straight up for Kevin Durant? LOL !
There is no one vet player in the Fox age orbit who can get Kings to playoffs. Need to hit a homerun here again, make good decisions on Buddy, Bagley, Barnes and Holmes, wait a year with a solid core to make the one move to get to playoffs, like Suns did. Although Suns made a couple of moves ( Crowder + Payne) and had 2 young guys ready to bust out. We have one. It is a year too early to make the one trade thing.

Signing Holmes will be very difficult. I love the guy but he is not the best or only center around but Kings cannot lose him for nothing. Assets have a way of going up in smoke here.
Are Bagley, Barnes or Buddy on the trajectory plan to move up? if not, move them when they have the best value.
Today, all the pick choices look terrible. Draft day, who knows?

Noemal916
July 22, 2021 5:51 pm

Word is Kuminga is extremely raw and falling down the draft. Should the Kings take a gamble and draft him if he is available?

murraytant
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July 22, 2021 6:02 pm
Reply to  Noemal916

yes

Hobby916
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July 22, 2021 6:05 pm
Reply to  Noemal916

Probably.

HongKongKingsFan
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July 22, 2021 6:31 pm
Reply to  Noemal916

100% no doubt!

Tyrsese will help him a lot in offense.

We need such a young talent.
Kuminga got All-Star potential.

PhutureKings
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July 23, 2021 7:32 am
Reply to  Noemal916

No, thanks. Kuminga gives me some serious McLemore vibes.

I’d rather go with whoever of Barnes, Wagner or Moody is available. Doubtful it would be Barnes as his stock has risen so much.

TheGrantNapear
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July 22, 2021 6:12 pm

The Warriors coming away with Bouknight and Mitchell would be something. I would like the strategy, odds are one of the two pop.

murraytant
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July 22, 2021 9:27 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I think Bouknight is gone by 7. I suspect that if they draft, they go Mitchell and then Kispert

andy_sims
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July 23, 2021 7:05 am

I love the idea of Moody being there, but what makes it possible, Giddey jumping to eight, seems unlikely. I’ve not seen him in the top ten in the mocks I’ve looked at and think that I remember correctly.

As ever, I would love to be wrong.

kings4ever
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July 23, 2021 8:21 am

If you are not a shot creator you better be crazy good on defense or as a finisher. This is a simple powerful way to look at the draft prospectively and retroactively to discern studs from duds. If McGenius takes Wagner or Moody, I will not refer to him as McDunce, though appropos the name would be, I will refer to him as McChicken, because it means he did not have the BALLS to take:

Ziaire Williams
Alpern Sengun
Isaiah Jackson OR
even Kai Jones at #9

I have faith and confidence his moniker will be unaltered by July 30th but we shall see.

Look at the losers we’ve drafted over the years relative to the hits. You have shot creation vs non shot creation. That is the primary factor though not exclusionary. Those who do not create better be able to finish and prevent their opponent from finishing at a special level. If you cannot fill one of these roles you are not going to last, and your draft status relative to expections will be deemed regrettable.

Case Examples:

(1) Marvin was suppose to be an elite finisher. FAIL. Not strong enough, crafty enough vs length and strength. He cannot create his shot in sweet spots so he backs away from the pressure and resorts to launching 3s. He has not proven competent in either category as shot creator or finisher with D. Outcome: BUST.

(2) Cousins was a shot creator which allowed him latitude to be lazy on defense and still be a highly productive player. He unfortunately didn’t maximize his abilities. His lack of work ethic and commitment to fitness regimen led to the devastating injuries. He had tendency to monoplize shots, but could also be a special passer. Outcome (pre-injury): BOON.

(3) Jimmer was supposed to be a shot creator. And if he was not going to get his own, then he needed to be a deadly spot up shooter (a finisher). He wasn’t drafted #7 to play defense. He could not carve a niche in either category, liability on defense and sputtering and spotty shot creation. And when Jimmer did find himself open, he frankly choked. Outcome: BUST.

(4) Ben McLemore was suppose to be a finisher. Picturesque mechanics and run like a deer on the break, catch and rise and jam. When that didn’t materialize with frequency, he tried to create on his own, and it was cringe city. No juke moves, shaky handles, zero craftiness. Neither creator or finisher with effeciency, with poor defensive awarenss to boot. Outcome: BUST.

(5) Isaiah Thomas was a fun shot creator, and for his size, he was legendary. It did not matter he was a liability on defense, though he fought with strength and toughness to deny spots. Isaiah was spectacular bc he had uncanny shot creation abilities, no one in the league could guard the little fire hydraunt who moved like a Ferrari. Outcome: BOON.

(6) Thomas Robinson was suppose to be a finisher with his elite athleticism. Unfortunately he was 6’8. He was not projected as a defensive stopper but could at least get you a ton of boards. Because he was too short to finish over length or develop a post game and had no face-up game to speak of, and because he was only ever going to be average at defense, the finished product was neither a shot creator or finisher with D. Outcome: BUST.

(7) Willie Cauley Stein was supposed to be a finisher with elite D. It was okay he was not projected as a shot creator. That was not to be his role. Sadly, no one told this to him. He thought he was something he was not. He did not like physicality either and that inhibited him as a defender and a finisher. He was so fragile mentally he did not like to dunk with force for fear of hurting his fingers. His post game and face up game were so methodical he was never going to be an offensive hub (shot creator) despite his illusions. Outcome: BUST

Case Examples (Projected):

(1) Kai Jones is a projected finisher with elite defense. I list him after WCS bc he’s WCS without irrational fear of injury or apathy. He plays harder and with more passion. What is not to like about love-for-the-game quality contagious through the team versus a guy like Moody who plays with the enthusiasm of a toll booth operator?

Jones may have delusional tendencies in regards to his ability to score, just like Willie. But that is not a dealbreaker and can be corrected. Elsewhere Kai is labeled as a multi-year project. What is it about heart and hustle to go with freakish athleticism that does NOT translate immediately? It does not take time to play harder than anyone with Giannis-like strides and hops and determination. That can happen from Day One!

The face-up game from 20-25 feet has to be shelved until these moves are proven behind the scenes. When you stop viewing Kai Jones through the lens of a shot creator, the project label falls away. The reason to hesistate with Jones however is you have to wonder if the lack of refinenment and loss of balance on the offense is going to bleed over to his defense, amounting to foul trouble and blow-bys, thereby negating the role you envision for him.

Certainly as a finisher Kai Jones can be devastatingly good, out of the pick and roll and fast break, and the dunkers spot. And his ability to snake through defenders on drives give you reason to believe he can maintain his balance on defense and make winning plays.

Jones is far more tantalizing and appealing than anything Moody or Wagner can offer in the aforementioned context and filling role to complement your shot creators (Fox, Ty).

(2) The House Plant, aka Franz Wagner, projects as an elite defender who may be able to spot finish a la Joe Ingles. When you hear advocates speak on his behalf, they talk about his off-the-ball defense. Hes not so good with the ball (shot creation), not so special guarding the ball, but away from the ball, watch out Nellie!

Has a player ever been inducted into the Hall of Fame for off the ball defensive prowess? Is this the attribute being elevated into the stratosphere, checking the cutter through the lane and an ability to see the man and the ball simultaneously?

I am receptive to the finer points of the game, but analysts are disproportionately assigning value in a sincere but misguided attempt to inflate a player beyond worth. When you have to squint hard to see something, you are better off just to open your eyes.

You are not getting a shot creator with Wagner. He doesnt want to shoot. His drives to the rim are weak. While he will find the open man on a talented Michigan team in a structured system, you are not a formidabble shot creator if not a threat to score. There are many examples of this, from Rubio to Lonzo to Joseph, who pass the ball to compensate for their own scoring limitations, not because they tilt the defense and organically create a fresh passing angle. When they do score it is often because they are unguarded, disrepescted and dared to.

If we draft House Plant, teams will dare him to score.

Ah yes, the old rope-a-dope strategy, certainly that’ll end 15 years of playoff-free basketball.

“But you see, Wagner is an elite off the ball defender, don’t you get it?”

“What about on the ball defense?”

“Uhhhhh…..”

Wagner is thereby eliminated from the categories equating to NBA success. It is not a definitive declaration but may as well should be. This process can be applied to Ziaire, Jackson, Moody, and any player in the draft or league to ascertain current or projected value. If a player does not show genuine shot creation (Alperen Sengun, Davion Mitchell), they better be damn well spectacular (i.e. very reliable) as a finisher in the form of a spot shooter (Cory Kispert) or spot dunker (Kai Jones, Isaiah Jackson) while providing hardy defensive reinforcement.

Moody fails through this filter too. He doesn’t even play hard, his shot creation is a joke. His athleticism hardy pops. Bruno Cabulco had long arms too. If you are a Moody or Wagner proponent, you better hope McChicken, the lesser version of the real person in charge, is temporarily running the show. This GM was willing to trade the #2 pick for a rookie no one but hardcore NBA fans heard of, so I suspect doing something bold like drafting Jones will hardly faze him. Jones is a longshot to be sure, but Id bet on the unexpected happening before the consensus has their way.

SneakerKing
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July 23, 2021 10:23 am
Reply to  kings4ever

I 100% agree with you on Wagner. I’m so disappointed to see so many mocks having us taking him (since a lot of those are based on bts intel). Not sure he makes a difference on this team. If he were to join a team like GS, he could flourish and his warts wouldn’t be so terrible and he’d be allowed to make mistakes while not killing his team. I’m not as down on Moody, but I think there are at least 5 other guys I’d rather have than Wagner or Moody.

murraytant
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July 23, 2021 4:48 pm
Reply to  SneakerKing

I don’t think the duds will tolerate “be allowed to make mistakes”. They believe that they are close to the promised land and want to drink from that cup. They are drunk with “I want to re-capture that old feeling”. Their big three all want to trade anything young for something old and useful. and we all know that day-day is the new GM- he told us so.
If forced to pick, they will choose amongst Mitchell, Kispert and Duarte.
no young guy will be allowed to flourish in dud-land. Look at Wiseman. He has lost his hearing from being yelled at so much.

murraytant
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July 23, 2021 4:44 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

I think you are referring MB3 for Saddig Bey. Bey made all rookie team this year and performed better than M. Bridges on Suns ( same college) He is well known in the NBA and would have been a steal for the Kings. Bey was going to be Kings choice at #12 until lady lucky pounced.
Barnes goes at 5 to Orlando
OKC at 6 has to choose between Bouknight or Kuminga
at 7, the duds trade if Kuminga remains and Kuminga gets picked there or they take Mitchell and leave Kuminga
at 8- I suspect Orlando takes Sengun unless Kuminga is there

Then Kings get choice of Moody, Wagner or Sengun in these scenarios. I would take Wagner. I know you hate this but unless I could trade #9 and Barnes to Pacers for #13 and Turner, this is what I would do.
I am not the GM, not am I a genius. K. Joes would be there at #13.

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