NBA Mock Draft: 3-team Simmons trade flips Top 10


We're just days away from the 2021 NBA Draft, and while trade rumors swirl around the league, the next generation of stars are gearing up for the biggest night of their lives.The Sixers need to add around the edges, but they also are thinking about reeling in big fish, as are teams like the Warriors. What happens when incoming rumors meet an intriguing-but-flexible draft class?A little Top 10 chaos, and a number of possible late round steals.

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The Pistons will receive calls about this pick up until the buzzer, but Cunningham is too attractive a prospect to pass on. His combination of size, athleticism, and ability to score at all levels makes him a perfect cornerstone as Detroit looks to the future.




Green, like Cunningham, is an athletic monster who can light it up on offense. His decision to play in the G-League for a year may have cost him the No. 1 overall pick, but he's an exciting player and the Rockets will immediately benefit from this pick.


This is a fascinating pick for Cleveland. On one hand, they have a starting-caliber center in Jarrett Allen. On the other, Mobley is a floor-stretching 7-footer with All-Star potential. Do the Cavs go against current team-building wisdom and try a Twin Towers approach? I'd love to see what happens if they do.






Suggs rose to national attention with his buzzer-beater half-court shot vs. UCLA, but his game is a complete package as a guard who can play the 1 or the 2 as a complement with Fred VanVleet.


Barnes brings basically everything except range to the floor. He's got crazy size, he sees the floor well as a passer, and he's a menace as a defender - he averaged 1.5 steals per game in his lone year with Florida State.


Kuminga was a ready three-point shooter last year in the G-League, if not a good one (he shot 24.6% on five attempts per game), but pairing his size with a willing jumper should be his goal at the next level. He's a project with a tremendously high ceiling, but then the Thunder are in no rush.




First draft explosion! The Warriors make their win-now move by making a deal with the Raptors to try and gear up for a title run. Here's the trade:

WARRIORS GET: F Pascal Siakam, G De'Andre Bembry

RAPTORS GET: F Andrew Wiggins, Warriors' No. 7 Pick

I like this for both sides. The Raptors bring home the Canada kid and add a pick, while the Warriors add a potential All-Star piece who can do a lot of things well alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Good start.

The Raptors then go out and select Davion Mitchell, one of the more captivating players from this past spring's March Madness.


This is our first possible reach of the draft. The Magic, who I feel never have much of a plan, go out and try to find their next Nik Vucevic by going with an 18-year-old, 6-foot-10 big man with a sky-high ceiling (he was the Turkish League MVP at that age!).













Second draft explosion! The Sixers finally pull the trigger on a totally wild three-team Ben Simmons deal, and also wind up with the Kings' No. 9 overall pick this year. Here's the trade:

SIXERS GET: G Damian Lillard, Kings' 2021 1st Round Pick

KINGS GET: G/F Ben Simmons, G Tyrese Maxey

BLAZERS GET: F Harrison Barnes, G George Hill, G Tyrese Haliburton, G Matisse Thybulle, G Jahmi'us Ramsey, Sixers' 2021 1st Round Pick, Kings' 2023 1st Round Pick, Sixers' 2023 1st Round Pick, Kings' 2025 1st Round Pick

It's a lot to take in! The Sixers give up a heck of a lot but come away with a strong haul in Lillard and a pick. The Kings get a foundational piece in Simmons and a high-ceiling youngster in Maxey. And the Blazers get vets who they can try to turn into trade deadline returns, plus exciting young pieces in Thybulle and Haliburton - and lots of picks.

After all that settles, the Sixers then use No. 9 to snag Moses Moody, a dead-eye shooter with a tremendous name to boot. At 6-foot-6 Moody has height he can use against some smaller guards, he has length that can be put to use as a defender, and he can shoot from all over the floor. He's a bench piece but he's also a bucket-getter who can immediately contribute on a team with title aspirations, a la Tyrese Maxey's playoff boom this year.












The Pelicans want to surround Zion Williamson with guys who can get buckets, and Kispert is an absolute sharpshooter from deep - 40% from three during his four-year college career, including 44% last year - who could slot as a more dynamic Joe Harris on a team with a megastar at its center.


An insanely springy athlete with Matisse Thybulle-like defensive potential for disruption, Johnson feels like a natural fit to slide in next to LaMelo Ball and sprint down the floor catching lobs for the half-decade. His shooting needs work, but it's harder to teach explosive athleticism than it is a repetitive three-point shot.


Jones had a Joel Embiid-like late entrance to basketball, so this is a big swing from the Spurs at No. 12, but his 3.0 blocks per 100 possessions at Texas and sky-high efficiency from the floor (64.2% last year) make him an enticing option as a possible lottery steal, if his game develops.


Wagner is a 6-9 wing who can score from the midrange and the three, is a knock-down free throw shooter, and blossomed as a passer in his second year with Michigan. A Pacers team in need of playmakers opts for a guy who can either get his own bucket, or wait for someone else to find him open.


Will the Warriors actually hang on to a pick in the first round as the re-load for a title run? If they do, look for Golden State to pursue someone who can get buckets next year like Giddey, a versatile weapon on offense who would mesh well with guys running around looking for open looks. He can also learn on the fly from another Triple Double King in Draymond Green.


If Williams wasn't an absolute twig, he'd be a Top 10 pick - maybe Top 8 - in a heartbeat. As he stands, at 6-foot-10 and 188 pounds, the youngster needs to work on his finishing through contact inside while he polishes his three-point shot (29.1% from deep on four attempts per game).


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of OKC's obvious building blocks, and adding his skillset to James Bouknight's "get buckets at all costs" mindset could lead to a spike in the Thunder's League Pass rankings. He needs to figure out where his range went after it dipped considerably last season, but Bouknight could blossom into a nightmare for opposing defenders.


Going this far down without a Duke player feels like NBA Draft sacrilege, but the Blue Devils' 2020-21 season was a bit of a mess. Luckily for Johnson, he looked like a stud before he took a leave from the team in February. He played just 13 games but shot 44.4% from deep - albeit on just 18 attempts - collected six boards per game, and was generally everything you look for from a Duke wing on offense. The free throws need work, but the blueprint is there for a real weapon.


The Thunder are loading up on potential as they build for the next 10 years. Garuba's ridiculous wingspan (7-foot-3) as a slightly undersized power forward, combined with his relatively solid jump shot, makes the 19-year-old a real potential pick. He can become a valuable two-way contributor.


The Knicks need more dang offense. They ranked 23rd in offensive rating last season, and if they want to get back to the playoffs next year they can't rely on grit and a second Julius Randle breakout year. Murphy's defense (thanks, Virginia!) fits in with Tom Thibodeau's M.O., and he brings a sniper's mentality to an offense in search of more points.


The Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament from this past spring's March Madness, Butler was cleared earlier this week after initially being flagged by the NBA's fitness-to-play panel because of a heart condition he was first diagnosed with back in 2018. He'll immediately command minutes in Atlanta's plug-and-play offense around Trae Young.


Duarte is a little too old to go much higher - at 24 he's already older than De'Aaron Fox - but Duarte joins Trey Murphy in the Knicks' "we need some dang offense" movement. He's another nasty shooter from deep (42.4% from three in 2020-21) but he'll need to develop more to get looks at the next level.


Marc Gasol's first year in Los Angeles wasn't much of a success, and Montrezl Harrell is as good as gone. The Lakers need depth in the front court at a reasonable price, and Jackson's spring-loaded offense makes him a great pairing in the half-court with LeBron James and Alex Caruso. He could become a bit of a Jarrett Allen-type if he keeps developing his game.


Every pick makes sense for the depleted Rockets, and Thomas is an exciting athlete who needs to hone in his perimeter shooting in order to become a true inside-out threat on offense. The defense also needs work for Thomas to become a regular contributor at the pro level, but he can get there by applying his athleticism from the offensive end to the defensive end.


A member of the All-Name First Team, Dosunmu turned into a stat sheet stuffer in his third year at Illinois, averaging 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He shot 39% from range on 5.1 attempts last year, and if he can improve his use in the half-court he could become a terror.


Cooper's size will cause him to fall in this summer's Draft, which is a shame because otherwise the guy can just flat-out play. He's exactly the kind of threat the Clippers missed after the Lou Williams trade: a creator who gets his own buckets but also looks for the open man when it's not there. He could turn into a legit late-round steal.


Teams aren't really clamoring for guards who need to improve their three-point shot, particularly if those guys aren't also facilitators or slashers who carve defenses up. Christopher has speed and a willingness to attack, but his overall game needs some serious refining.


This dude's nickname is Bones, which is truly fantastic. He's a guy who can shoot the three and can also shoot off the dribble, someone who probably would've been picked higher if VCU had played some March Madness games. As it is, Hyland would be a nice spot option for the Nets when their big guys take a seat.


If the Blazers are rebuilding, they're going to want to take a guard with upside who needs some work. Enter McBride, who took nearly 15 shots per game for the Mountaineers and racked up a 54.4% true shooting percentage along the way. Not bad for a 6-foot-2 guard. He needs to develop more offense outside of his shot, but his defense and his three-point shooting are encouraging.



I'd imagine Chris Paul returns to Phoenix next year, and giving a young point guard the ability to learn under Paul is like giving them a cheat code. Mann is a patient, sneaky guard option who can shoot from deep and likes to have the ball in his hands. He didn't have as many assists last year as you'd like from a possible point guard, but learning from Paul can fix that.



I really like Springer's upside, even though we saw just 15 starts from him last year. He showed a willingness to get to the rim while also regularly flashing defensive skills that would be helpful in Quin Snyder's system. He needs to add more weapons to his offensive game, but if he can find a next level he'll be scary.

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