NBA Draft: Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green among projected top picks

NBA Draft: Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green among projected top picks
Former Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham (pictured) and NBA G League star Jalen Green are expected to be the first two picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. Photo by Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics

July 29 (UPI) -- Former Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in Thursday's 2021 NBA Draft. Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs are among other top prospects available.

The draft starts at 8 p.m. EDT at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and airs on ESPN and ABC. Each team will get five minutes to make a first-round selection and two minutes per selection in the second round.


"I think over the years, through my play and who I am off the court, that I can come in and elevate the people around me," Cunningham told ESPN on Wednesday.

"I feel like my game has shown enough. I can come in and be an immediate impact."

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The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder have three picks apiece in the first round. The Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors have two picks in the first round.

The NBA Finals champion Milwaukee Bucks do not have a first-round pick. The runner-up Phoenix Suns will pick 29th in the first round.


Cunningham, Green and Mobley are consensus Top 3 picks, according to most mock drafts.

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Gonzaga's Suggs, Florida State's Scottie Barnes, the NBA G League's Jonathan Kuminga, UConn's James Bouknight, Arkansas' Moses Moody and Michigan's Franz Wagner are among the other prospects expected to go in the top half of the draft.

Each of the last 11 No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft were college freshmen.

Cunningham, 19, averaged 10.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season at Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-8 guard attended Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., before his lone season with the Cowboys. Cunningham was a consensus first-team All-American and won 2020-21 Big 12 Player of the Year as a freshman.

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Green, 19, was the top high school prospect in the class of 2020, but opted to skip college to play in the NBA G League's professional pathway program. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in the G League.

Mobley, 20, averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.4 assists per game last season at the University of Southern California. The 7-foot center was a consensus second-team All-American and the first player in history to win the Pac-12's Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards in the same season.


Cunningham, Barnes, Moody and North Carolina center Day'Ron Sharpe, another 2021 NBA Draft prospect, were teammates in 2019-20 at Montverde Academy. That team went 25-0.

How to watch

What: 2021 NBA Draft

Who: Top basketball prospects

When: 8 p.m. EDT Thursday

Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.


2021 NBA Draft order

1. Detroit Pistons

2. Houston Rockets

3. Cleveland Cavaliers

4. Toronto Raptors

5. Orlando Magic

6. Oklahoma City Thunder

7. Golden State Warriors

8. Orlando Magic

9. Sacramento Kings

10. New Orleans Pelicans

11. Charlotte Hornets

12. San Antonio Spurs

13. Indian Pacers

14. Golden State Warriors

15. Washington Wizards

16. Oklahoma City Thunder

17. Memphis Grizzlies

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

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