• Cole Blenner

2021 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: The Stimulation Simulation.

By Cole Blenner


The Intro


As we discuss multiple sports topics there is one event that happens quickly after the season is over, and that is the NBA Draft. With the draft lottery happening on June 22nd, and the draft itself happening July 29th, the NBA does it best in my opinion of jumping straight into the off-season as quickly as possible. I understand with different leagues the process is different, but I have always preferred that as a basketball fan I get constant action with free agency generally following the draft. This year has had some ups and downs with player stock, but having the NCAA Tournament back was much needed, and March Madness was in full effect. So, in proper form, I have done an average amount of research and will now give you my first mock draft of the first round. I will be running a simulator 10 times in order to guess and predict the NBA Draft lottery, since the current standings are almost guaranteed to have a good amount of shake-up. Our 2.0 Mock will come out immediately following the NBA draft lottery and the order has been set.

 

Let's cover a couple of rules for the NBA Draft Lottery

  1. Every team who misses the playoffs has a spot in the lottery

  2. The odds of obtaining a top pick increase the worst your record

  3. Picks 1-4 are the only ones drawn for, the rest set based on team record.

  4. Playoff seeds and outcome have no determination on picks 15-30, those are team record based.

  5. Random drawings determine tiebreakers, but those teams will have an even number of lottery balls.

  6. It is totally, definitely rigged by the NBA.

  7. Yes, I still watch it, corruption always adds an interesting wrinkle.

Now if you are wondering, "What is an NBA Draft Lottery?", Let me explain. Long ago, when the league decided that tanking was a no-no and Patrick Ewing needed to go to the Knicks, the NBA devised a plan to make the number one pick a random lottery, and not just give it to the worst team like most sports do. This was during a time when tanking was a big thing apparently and put an immediate stop to all that nonsense that we would never ever ever see in todays NBA(LOL). It is a fun selection process that has narrowed down to the point that we have seen some majestic jumps in the past few years. The first one that comes to mind is the New Orleans Pelicans, amid Anthony Davis trade rumors, jumping from the Number 7 spot to number one and the Los Angeles Lakers (the team who eventually got Mr. Davis) jumping from the 9th best odds to the number 4 pick in the NBA draft. Not at all rigged and completely legit.


 

Random Rockin' Robbin Round

A lot of the numbers we use will be via tankathon.com , the number one NBA draft site that breaks down lottery odds, stipulations for trades and protections, along with everything NBA Draft related!


I ran a simulator 10 times and organized the new draft order based off of the lottery simulator from Tankathon. THESE ARE NOT ACCURATE LOTTERY RESULTS AND SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH A GRAIN OF SALT, and then probably something else to wash it down because a grain of salt is just nasty.


Here is the breakdown of the simulation and following the updated draft order based on where they rank. I will keep it realistic to the rules, so even though the Indiana Pacers did jump up in one my simulations and got the top pick, they will still pick in their current spot. Below listed is the odds and original standings.

Results of the 10 simulations

via Tankathon.com

Updated Draft Order for our Mock Draft


 

Winners


1.Minnesota Timberwolves- They get to keep their pick in this draft and add to a great young core of Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards and DeAngelo Russel.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder- This could be potentially dangerous as they own their own pick and the Rockets, should the Rockets fall out of the top 4 as we saw three times in the simulation.

3. Sacramento Kings- The number 9 pick and number 8 pick have some magic, as they have twice won the lottery a piece so if the sim is any indicator, the Kings have a slight chance to improve that young core that was impressive late.


Losers

  1. Detroit Pistons- The number 2 pick has been shafted a couple of times and this sim was not kind to Detroit, but that just fits the themes of life as the Motor City does not reap the rewards of being a shit team

  2. Orlando Magic-Both of their picks dropped, and draft night could be dangerous as their pick from the Bulls is safe for now, but a jump in the lottery from Chicago could push Orlando back and lose them a pick. Talk about a double whammy.

  3. Golden State Warriors-While having two picks in the lottery is nice, the protection on the Timberwolves pick means that they could lose it, as they did here in this simulation. With their remaining pick being almost guaranteed at sticking at #14.

 

Down to Business-The Lotto Picks

1. Houston Rockets

Cade Cunningham-PG-Oklahoma State

Cade has been my number one player since the beginning of his freshmen year and honestly for years before that. It is easy to pigeonhole him in the number one spot, but also to try and be edgy and go elsewhere. After taking a deeper dive, I'm not changing now and probably won't. This is a combo of team fit and need. They have Christian Wood already in the frontcourt as a promising young player, so get the next great PG in Cunningham and start building. There is plenty of big man talent to take fliers on later, don't fuck this up. Choose Cade.


2.Minnesota Timberwolves

Jonathon Kuminga-SF-G League Ignite

This pick is purely a fit with the Timberwolves and where they are as a team. Draft night will most likely fall different but Kuminga will be a high lottery pick regardless. Kuminga has gobs of potential but is still very raw. He should develop next to last years top pick Anthony Edwards along with KAT and D-Russ. This would deadly for the league if Minnesota jumps up and can pick up what they are missing in a second wing.


3.Oklahoma City Thunder

Evan Mobley-C-USC

The Thunder will salivate if they can get Evan Mobley to go along side Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lugentz Dort to pair together a young and hungry team which would have great positional versatility on defense with length and speed. This is the draft night dream for OKC and would set them up in what is already looking like very high ceiling rebuild.


4.Orlando Magic

Scottie Barnes-F-Florida State

Another positional fit here, as Jalen Suggs is on the board but with Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz and RJ Hampton all on the roster, the Magic COULD shock us with a guard pick, but should shy away as they seem to have great talent there. Barnes is from Florida and will immediatly be a fan favorite with his high ceiling and defensive prowess. NBA ready defenders aren't often found in the draft but here is one of them


5.Detroit Pistons

Jalen Suggs-G-Gonzaga

Suggs took the world by storm during his only year at Gonzaga, leading them to the national title game and a near undefeated season. His half court game winner in the final four will be remembered for a long time but this kid is just getting started. Detroit will be picking best player available no matter where they land, which is sadly three spots down and out of the lottery in this mock up


6.Cleveland Cavaliers

Jalen Green-G/F-G League Ignite

Green should not fall this far in real life, someone will likely trade for him if he were to jump out of the top 3, that being said the Cavs should look everywhere but the point this offseason. They have invested too much in small guards and while Green is listed primarily as a 2 guard, he has the ability and athleticism to play the 3 and should for the Cavs or multiple other teams. Many view him as having the highest upside in the draft which is crazy to think of with all this talent.


7.Toronto Raptors

Keon Johnson-G/F-Tennessee

This one was between Johnson and Davion Mitchell, who most experts have mocked so far. Johnson though I believe will rise throughout more of the pre-draft process as a long 2 guard who can play the 3 and defend through there as well. He is an all around player who would mesh well with Fred VanFleet as they can kick him down to point when Kyle Lowry leaves this offseason to free agency.


8.Sacramento Kings

Jalen Johnson-F-Duke

The Kings are extremely interesting going forward. With loads of talent at the guard position, they are in good position here to pick another guy who could rise up boards in Jalen Johnson. His a long combo forward who had a good scoring prowess inside and can play defense. He will need to work on his outside shooting to suceed at the next level but at minimum he is a high energy forward who can defend multiple positions. Just what the Kings need


9.Orlando Magic

Corey Kispert-F-Gonzaga

The draft usually shows unnatural shade at prospects who can buy alcohol, that is why Kispert is not a top 5 projected pick, because if we were talking about day one talent, he is that dude. A three level scorer who is deadly from beyond the arc, Kispert is an offensive dynamo who will give you points right off the bat while you develop his on ball skills and defense


10.New Orleans Pelicans

Davion Mitchell-G-Baylor

Back to back "old guys" go as Mitchell was a solid 3 year starter at Baylor. He can shoot, distribute and defend. He averaged over 2 steals a game last year, takes smart shots and knows how to distribute. He is what you need on that team with Lonzo's future a question as to how long they keep him in town.


11.Charlotte Hornets

Franz Wagner-G/F-Michigan

Wagner is a German born prospect who spent 2 years at Michigan honing his craft, looking a little like the next Duncan Robinson (skinny white boys from michigan). Wagner though is not as much of a deadeye from deep, but balances that with having a great all-around game. He is a tall and lanky wing who can play solid team defense, hit the right passes, and just do the little things that make any coach warm and fuzzy inside


12.San Antonio Spurs

Isiah Jackson-PF-Kentucky

A hyper agreesive and lanky big man, Stewart oozes potential but needs a good bit of molding. Well, who else better than Gregg Popovich and his staff. Jackson can get himeself into foul trouble but he is an intemidating force inside as he average 2.6 blocks per game this year and offers interesting offensive potential.


13.Indiana Pacers

Josh Giddey-G/F-Australia

An unknown name now, don't be surprised if this 6 foot 8 inch point guard starts to turn some head with his palymaking. He averaged 13, 9, and 9 as an 18 year old in the NBL. Not to long ago a young american lad, with about the same build, went into the NBL, put in work, and took the league by storm as a rookie so that is the ceiling of what this kid could be....Tempting


14.Golden State Warriors

James Bouknight-G-UConn

Bouknight is a creative scorer that should give this GS team needed depth and some future potential behind Kaly Thompson. Bouknight was inefficient at UConn but you wonder how much of that was the pure workload he shouldered as the teams number one and only real scoring option. This gives him the best environment to hone his skills long term




 

Not The Lotto, but just as nice though


15.Washington- Alperen Sengün-C-Beşiktaş- The Euroleague Center is a hell of a low post threat who has good passing skills and a shot that can translate well to the NBA.

16.Boston-Moses Moody-G/F-Arkansas- Moody will be needed depth behind Brown, Tatum and Smart as a versatile wing who can play the two and guard one thru three. He also has a great off-ball shot and can great with the ball in his hands.

17.Memphis-Tre Mann-G-Florida- Tre Mann proved he can score very well off the ball while also being a solid passer at Florida. Memphis is a young and deep team and while a lot of people project a forward here, Mann will serve as an instant impact to back up Ja or play with him.

18.Oklahoma City (From Miami)-Jaden Springer-G-Tennessee- The Thunder are young and are in need of good defense as they navigate through growing pains. Springer gives them good off-ball shooting and defense while being able to develop and refine his game over the next few years of an assumed rebuild.

19.Knicks-Jared Butler-G-Baylor- Next to Davion Mitchell, Butler was a mature partner who has defensive skills that should be of instant impact to a Knicks team that may not hold on to this pick for long.

20.Hawks-Chris Duarte-G-Oregon- An older player at 24, he is the best available player for a win now team like the hawks. Duarte provides good on ball scoring ability and defense that can help strengthen Atlanta's bench.

21.Knicks (From Dallas)-Zaire Williams-F-Standford- Williams has a high ceiling and decent all-around ability but didn't stand out in any particular area in his one season at Stanford. Still, he is tall, long, can play defense and hit shots. It is still to be seen if New York keeps both of their first rounders here. My bet would be that one or both go away in a trade up/for a star player.

22.Lakers-Ayo Dosunmu-G-Illinois- A good 3 and D plyaer, Dosunmu didn't have the steal numbers to back up how good he is on the defensive end. The Lakers clearly missed Rondo's defensive ability this year and will look to add depth for another title run next year.

23.Rockets (Portland)-Kai Jones-PF/C-Texas-Jones is a high energy prospect with a lot of potential should he get to develop his game. He is good on the boards and has shown the ability to play great defense while spacing the floor on the offensive side of the ball.

24.Rockets (Milwaukee)-Usman Garuba-PF/C-Real Madrid- One of the most versatile big man defenders in this class, he could rise given his potential to still develop a good offensive game to go along with his skills on the defensive side of the ball.

25.Clippers-Sharife Cooper-PG-Auburn- A Lot of people have Cooper landing at 25 with the Clippers and I like the fit. Long term he can develop into a more whole point guard, but for now he provides speed and crisp passing off of the bench.

26.Nuggets-Cameron Thomas-LSU-SG-The Nuggets missed Jamal Murray and guard depth so with Thomas they get a guy who may not take the smart shot, but makes some difficult ones. You need to improve his game IQ but Thomas can be instant offense to help Denver's second unit stay in games while the main guys are grabbing a breather.

27.Brooklyn-Marcus Bagley-F-Arizona State- Already hosting a legendary squad, what they need is youth they can develop but still play. Bagley is a 3 and D forward who is long enough to play the 4 but can drop to a wing player while learning from future hall of famers ahead of him.

28.Sixers-Josh Christopher-G/F-Arizona State-Christopher has shown flashes to be a high level contributor with good defensive tools and the ability to make his own shot. Put him on a contender where he can hone those skills in a little more and he will shine.

29.Suns-Aaron Henry-SG-Michigan State- Henry would of been a higher prospect 10 years ago with his slashing skills, mid range scoring and defensive ability. He is a good player who can take a huge leap and contribute right away for the Suns next season.

30.Jazz-Greg Brown-F/C-Texas-Brown suffered as much as anyone from a lesser season. He was a top-10 recruit a year ago and still has gobs of potential given the right situation.


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