Home Tech News Live pick-by-pick analysis and updates

Live pick-by-pick analysis and updates


The NBA welcomes its newest class of rookies to the league Thursday night during the 2021 draft from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Draft night is always a time for trades, and this year could feature some prominent names and picks.

Several teams have multiple first-round picks and additional draft capital to potentially swing major deals that could significantly alter the league’s landscape entering the 2021-22 season. Join USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina during the night for all the latest updates on rumors and deals, plus live analysis for each pick in the first round.


1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

Cunningham is a versatile 6-8 guard who plays on or off the ball and has the skill set to do both. He shoots 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers, gets to the rim, and has the strength to absorb contact and finish with either hand. He didn’t post great assist statistics, but he can be a playmaker. He drew multiple defenders and is adept at finding the open man. Averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.6 steals to win his one college season while shooting 40% on 3s. He’s a vocal leader and relishes the big moment in the close games.

2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Green, G-League Ignite

Green took the unconventional route by playing for the G-League Ignite team instead of attending college. And he believes playing against G-League players in an NBA environment will prepare him significantly so much so that Green considers it a realistic goal to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award and land on an All-NBA Defensive Team. One NBA scout told USA TODAY Sports that he’s enamored with Green’s physicality and aggressiveness as a listed 6-foot-5, 172-pound guard. But the scout added that Green needs to improve his consistency as a shooter and ball handler.

 3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, Southern California

Mobley looks perfect as a big man in the modern NBA. He’s a 7-footer who can play in the post with a soft touch at the rim, step outside, and shoot 3s. He will have to adjust to the NBA long-range distance, but that shouldn’t be a problem as he adds strength. In his one season at USC, he averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks and shot 57.8% from the field. It will be interesting and perhaps fun to see how the Cavaliers use Mobley alongside Jarrett Allen if Allen re-signs.

4. Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes, Florida State

This marked the first somewhat surprising move of the draft, considering that Jalen Suggs would be selected. But Barnes is the real deal and has moved up draft boards after impressing talent evaluators with his playmaking and versatile defending. Barnes averaged only 10.3 points while shooting 27.5% from the 3-point range. But Barnes has excelled in all other areas of the game and will have an immediate impact.

5. Orlando Magic: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

Suggs is a potential franchise-changing point guard and could steal Orlando at No. 5. His buzzer-beater in this year’s Final Four will live on in March Madness lore. Still, his freshman season under coach Mark Few, he blossomed into an NBA-ready point guard with poise and smart decision-making. He’s athletic, good size (6-4), has range, and likes to play on the defensive end. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.9 steals, and shot 50.3% from the field last season. It appears the Magic found the point guard for their long-term rebuild.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Giddey, Australia,

Thunder general manager Sam Presti hardly shies away from making bold moves. OKC selected Giddey, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward who played professionally in Australia at 18. Talent evaluators like Giddey’s vision, passing, and playmaking, but his defense still needs some work. Giddey would have that opportunity in OKC since it is still considered a rebuilding project after finishing No. 14 in the Western Conference. The Thunder also have picked later in the first round (No. 16, 18) and second round (No. 34, 36, 55).

7. Golden State Warriors: Jonathan Kuminga, G-League Ignite

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but played high school basketball in the U.S., Kunming bypassed college and spent last season with the G-League Ignite. He averaged 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. A 6-8 forward, Kunming needs to work on his shot, but he loves attacking the rim and rebounding with his athleticism. He also can make an impact as a wing defender who can help protect the paint.

8. Orlando Magic: Franz Wagner, Michigan

Wagner joins his older brother, Moe, at Orlando. Franz Wagner was a starter in his two seasons with the Wolverines. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and three assists per game. He shot 34 percent from deep and was named second-team All-Big Ten. He followed in his brother Moe’s footsteps. The older Wagner played three years at Michigan before becoming a first-round draft pick in 2018. Wagner has the size and handles around the perimeter, can knock down treys accurately, and plays great team defense. His game will parlay much better at the pro level than at Michigan, where he was starting to blossom.

9. Sacramento Kings: Davion Mitchell, Baylor

The key catalyst of the national champion Baylor Bears team, Mitchell is a do-everything guard who can bolster any NBA team with his ball-hawking defense. He was defensive player of the year – a great on-ball defender who averaged 1.9 steals. He’s also a capable passer who can stuff the stat sheet without scoring. He can create and hit threes when he’s open or create for himself. The 6-2 Mitchell improved his 3-point shot, making 44.7% deep after 28.8% in his freshman at Auburn. He averaged 14 points and 5.5 assists as a junior last season.

10. Memphis Grizzlies: Ziaire Williams, Stanford

Williams, a former five-star recruit, didn’t have the kind of dominant seasons that would mark most top-10 picks. But he was on the trajectory to be a lottery pick because teams like his ceiling once he gets some reps in the league. He averaged 10.7 points per game in his lone season at Stanford. At 6-8, he has the type of size that NBA teams covet because of his ability to put the ball on the court and stretch opposing defenses with his perimeter play.

11. Charlotte Hornets: James Bouknight, Connecticut

Bouknight (6-5 190) has all the tools to be just as potent a scorer — possessing the ability to fill it up both off the ball and with it in his hands while sporting an explosive first step. He’s another dynamic guard, but he also needs tn his 3-ball. He shot just 32% on 3s last season. However, he is dangerous inside the line with his pull-up jumper and drives to the basket. Bouknight averaged 18.7 points and scored a career-high 40 points against Creighton. The Hornets could have an entertaining and productive backcourt with LaMelo Ball and Bouknight.

12. San Antonio Spurs: Joshua Primo, Alabama

Primo, the youngest player in the NBA Draft, was a bit of a surprise as a lottery pick. He was originally pegged as a second-rounder, but his stock started rising at the NBA combine. Primo began playing 19 of the 30 games during his lone season at ‘Bama. The Canadian had a breakout freshman campaign for the Crimson Tide, helping the program win an SEC title and vault into the national equation. He only averaged 8.1 points per game.

13. Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte, Oregon

Duarte has shot up on draft boards, making his decision to skip the draft combine a smart one. He’s older than most rookies at 24 – he spent two years in junior college and two seasons at Oregon – so he has a maturity to his game. His size is solid, he can hit the boards, and with strong catch-and-shoot ability, he shot 38% from 3-point range for the Ducks. He averaged 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in his senior season for the Ducks. Duarte will help the Pacers stretch the floor.

14. Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody, Arkansas

The 6-6 guard from Little Rock was a first-team All-SEC player for Arkansas last season. He averaged 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in 32 games and was SEC Freshman of the Year while helping the Razorbacks reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Moody’s defense made him tough to pass up for the Warriors. He proved to be an excellent perimeter defender and one of the best spot-up mid-range shooters in the draft.

15. Washington Wizards

16. Oklahoma City Thunder

17. New Orleans Pelicans

18. Oklahoma City Thunder

19. New York Knicks

20. Atlanta Hawks

21. New York Knicks

22. Los Angeles Lakers

23. Houston Rockets

24. Houston Rockets

25. Los Angeles Clippers

26. Denver Nuggets

27. Brooklyn Nets

28. Philadelphia 76ers

29. Phoenix Suns

30. Utah Jazz


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here