It's no secret that the NBA is year-round, and the offseason gets in full swing with the 2021 NBA Draft, which is set for Thursday, July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
After a late start to a 72-game season, much of the NBA's tentpole events are taking place slightly later than usual, resulting in this year's draft falling one month later than it would in normal years. While July 29 is later than normal, it's a vast difference from the virtual 2020 NBA Draft, which was ultimately pushed back to mid-November.
As the draft returns to its in-person format in 2021, there will be a number of things to keep an eye on. Below, we've got you covered with a guide to the upcoming NBA Draft, from the top prospects to the most intriguing teams and everything in between.
Click below to jump down to a specific topic.
NBA Draft Central
When is the draft? | Draft order | Top prospects | Key names to know | Most intriguing teams | Who owns the most picks?
When and where is the 2021 NBA Draft?
The 2021 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, July 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, home of the Brooklyn Nets.
After a virtual event in 2020, the draft returns to its in-person format in 2021. Top prospects have reportedly already received their Green Room invites, giving them the opportunity to attend the draft and shake the hand of Commissioner Adam Silver when their names are called.
Excluding last year's virtual event, which was held in Bristol, CT, the NBA Draft has been held at the Barclays Center since 2013, when Anthony Bennett was selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
What is the 2021 NBA Draft order?
The Detroit Pistons, who entered the draft lottery with a 14.0 percent chance of winning, are owners of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Detroit is selecting first overall for the first time since the 1970 NBA Draft when it selected Hall of Famer Bob Lanier.
The order of the draft lottery is as follows:
- Detroit Pistons
- Houston Rockets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Toronto Raptors
- Orlando Magic
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Golden State Warriors ( via Minnesota Timberwolves)*
- Orlando Magic ( via Chicago Bulls)**
- Sacramento Kings
- New Orleans Pelicans (proposed trade to Memphis Grizzlies)***
- Charlotte Hornets
- San Antonio Spurs
- Indiana Pacers
- Golden State Warriors
*The Warriors acquired the Timberwolves' pick in the 2020 trade centred around Andrew Wiggins and D'Angelo Russell.
**The Magic acquired the Bulls' pick in the trade deadline deal centred around All-Star center Nikola Vucevic.
•••The Pelicans and Grizzlies have reportedly agreed to a deal that includes the No. 10 and 17 picks in this year's draft. For salary purposes, th deal cannot be made official until Friday, Aug. 6.
For the remainder of the NBA Draft order, click here .
Who are the top prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft?
Cade Cunningham, a 6-foot-8 guard from Oklahoma State University, is widely considered the top prospect in this year's draft, making him the presumptive No. 1 pick.
IRVING: 2021 NBA Mock Draft 2.0
In the latest mock draft from NBA.com's Draft expert Kyle Irving, Cunningham is slated to go first overall, followed by G League Ignite guard Jalen Green and USC center Evan Mobley. Read up more on the top five prospects in Irving's mock.
Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
Guard | 6'8", 220 lbs.
Profile: "Cunningham is a franchise-altering talent with elite playmaking skills. He commands the pace of the game as a jumbo guard who can score with ease from all three levels. A versatile defender with a high motor and a knack for making winning plays."
FULL SCOUTING REPORT
Jalen Green, G League Ignite
Guard | 6'5", 180 lbs.
Profile: "Green is a fluid scorer who can get a bucket in a variety of ways. Explosive athlete with electrifying leaping ability. Confident but streaky shooter who has an arsenal of moves to create his own shot. A primary scorer at the NBA level."
FULL SCOUTING REPORT
Evan Mobley, USC
Center | 7'0", 215 lbs.
Profile: "Mobley is the best two-way big man in this draft class. A versatile defender and rim protector who has a polished offensive skill set. He has smooth footwork, a high defensive IQ and great timing for blocking shots. He has potential to be a reliable scoring big at the next level. Solid touch in the post or as a face-up shooter, sees floor well as a passer from the elbows and the block."
FULL SCOUTING REPORT
Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
Guard | 6'4", 205 lbs.
Profile: "Suggs is the definition of a leader. He's constantly looking to push the pace and is at his best in transition or when he gets downhill in the halfcourt. Keen and unselfish passer who makes everyone around him better. Tough on-ball defender with quick hands and stealthy anticipation skills off-ball. A true franchise floor general."
FULL SCOUTING REPORT
Scottie Barnes, Florida State
Forward | 6'8", 225 lbs.
Profile: "Barnes is a point guard in a forward's body, acting as a floor general in his one season at Florida State. He has above-average ball handling and playmaking skills for a player at his position - a true point forward in every sense of the term. Prototypical defensive-minded forward for the modern NBA. Size and strength with a 7-foot-2 wingspan make him a small-ball center option at the next level."
FULL SCOUTING REPORT
Key names to know in the lottery
Outside of the projected top five, this draft class is chock full of talent, with a number of players capable of making an immediate impact as rookies. Not "sleepers" in the traditional sense of being overlooked, there are a few players that aren't necessarily getting the recognition as those in the top five but stand to put up big numbers in Year 1.
Read up on a few of the most important to know.
Jonathan Kuminga, G League Ignite (Forward | 6'6", 210 lbs.) - "Kuminga is the most versatile defender in this draft class. With a 7-foot wingspan, Kuminga has an NBA-ready body that perfectly fits the mould of today's playstyle with the tools to truly defend 1-through-4, potentially even 5s down the line."
Keon Johnson, Tennessee (Guard | 6'5", 185 lbs.) - " Where the 19-year-old freshman really excels is on the defensive end, bringing an edge of toughness, high energy, active hands and great instincts to make winning plays. He is an elite stopper on the perimeter and his size blends nicely with his physicality and attitude on that end of the floor to provide some versatility in defending guards or forwards."
Corey Kispert, Gonzaga (Forward | 6'7", 224 lbs.) - " Simply put: Kispert is the best shooter in the 2021 NBA Draft class. He can knock down shots from the perimeter in any way, shape or form - coming off of screens, running the lane in transition, off the bounce, on the move or with very little space to get a shot off."
Jalen Johnson, Duke (Forward | 6'9", 220 lbs.) - "Johnson is an offensive-minded forward who can score, facilitate and handle the ball. Likes to push the pace in transition off of defensive rebounds. His passing is advanced compared to others at his position. Effective as a roll-man and cutter, making plays for his teammates out of a short roll or diving to the rim for a bucket."
Alperen Sengun, Besiktas [Turkey] (Forward/Center | 6'10", 243 lbs.) - "Sengun is one of the biggest wild cards in the 2021 NBA Draft class. Where he'll land on draft night remains a mystery, as the 6-foot-10, 18-year-old big man could go as high as the top-10, but as low as just outside of the lottery."
Find more on the biggest sleepers in the draft here .
Which are the most intriguing teams in the draft?
Irving recently took a look at a few of the most intriguing teams in the upcoming draft , categorizing them into three groups: teams getting back to title contention, teams on the verge of something special and teams at the start of a rebuild.
Those teams are as follows.
Getting back to title contention
Toronto Raptors, owners of picks Nos. 4, 46 and 47 and just two years removed from the first NBA title in franchise history.
Golden State Warriors, owners of picks Nos. 7 and 14, two years removed from a streak of five consecutive NBA Finals appearances coming to an end.
On the fringe of something special
New York Knicks, owners of picks Nos. 19, 21, 32 and 58 after ending an eight-year postseason drought by finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference in the 2020-21 season.
Orlando Magic, selecting fifth and eighth to add two top-10 picks to a talented young core that features seven players (four former top-10 picks) under the age of 24.
The start of a rebuild
The Houston Rockets , who finished with the league's worst record under first-year head coach Stephen Silas, will select second, 23rd and 24th overall. Silas can begin building a team to his liking with three picks in the first round.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, who have stockpiled future draft capital through some savvy front office moves. They own six picks in the upcoming draft.
Who owns the most picks in the 2021 NBA Draft?
Aside from the Warriors, each of the aforementioned teams own at least three picks in the upcoming draft. In total, there are 10 teams that own three or more selections in the 2021 NBA Draft. They are as follows:
Oklahoma City Thunder (six) - Nos. 6, 16, 18, 34, 36, 55
New Orleans Pelicans (five) - Nos. 10, 35, 40, 45, 53
Detroit Pistons (four) - Nos. 1, 37, 42, 52
New York Knicks (four) - Nos. 19, 21, 32, 58
Brooklyn Nets (four) - Nos. 27, 44, 49, 59
Houston Rockets (three) - Nos. 2, 23, 24
Toronto Raptors (three) - Nos. 4, 46, 47
Orlando Magic (three) - Nos. 5, 8, 33
Charlotte Hornets (three) - Nos. 11, 56, 57
Indiana Pacers (three) - Nos. 13, 54, 60
Oklahoma City, which owns five picks in the top 40, has the most first-round picks in the draft with three in the top 20. Teams that have multiple picks are typically worth keeping an eye on, as they can package draft capital in order to move up in the draft or acquire talent.
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