With March only a little more than a month away, prospects for the 2021 NBA Draft have had more than enough time to make their case. With that, comes my 2021 NBA Draft Midseason Update.
Players like Jalen Suggs have shot up draft boards, while others like Brandon Boston have failed thus far to live up to the preseason hype. And at the end of the day, the players know they still have time to make their case, but the clock is ticking.
Cade Cunningham entered the season as the favorite to go number one in this upcoming draft, and nothing has changed. He has looked like a professional since Day One, and his game has reflected that.
Players like Evan Mobley or Jalen Suggs might still be in the conversation, but Cunnigham seems like the clear choice right now.
Furthermore, it has been announced that the G-League will be conducting a bubble similar to the NBA’s last summer. This means we will get a chance to finally see Jalen Green and Johnathan Kuminga in action.
With both of them looking like Top 5 picks, it should certainly draw a lot more eyes than the average G-League game. Also, look out for Dashen Nix and Isaish Todd, two more players who will be in the draft.
I would like to personally apologize to Evan Mobley for putting him in the “Other Big Names to Watch” section of my initial Draft Preview article. He deserves so much more.
Mobley is a seven-footer with a remarkable skill set for a player of his size. He routinely takes the ball up the court after rebounding. If he wasn’t so big, it would be hard to tell him apart from a guard.
He has a phenomenal back to the basket game as well. His footwork and fundamentals, at times, look reminiscent of the Big Fundamental himself. His scoring is not just limited to around the basket; he’s got a good jumper too. He’s only taken 20 threes so far this season, but he’s hitting them at a respectable 35% clip.
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) January 24, 2021
Mobley isn’t just special on offense. He’s quite the defender too. He’s a huge presence in the paint, using his 7’5″ wingspan to generate three blocks a game. His perimeter defense could use some work, but you can see the potential. He has the ability to switch on to smaller guards and hold his own.
At times, he has also made some silly mistakes. But those will get ironed out at the next level. Sitting at only 215 pounds, his weight is a valid concern. That lack of strength could give him some problems at the next level.
Like most young athletes, though, it would be surprising if he didn’t put on weight once he reaches the pros.
Sharife Cooper is the hottest name in college basketball right now, and for good reason. He’s just electric to watch, and it’s hard not to be captivated when he’s putting up 23.3 PPG alongside five rebounds and 8.7 assists per night.
I’d compare Cooper’s breakout to that of Trae Young. They may not have the exact same skill set, but they are equally exciting to watch. Like Young, Cooper is a phenomenal playmaker, and that ability gives his teammates so much more opportunity.
But, he isn’t just a passer. He can score as well as anyone in the NCAA right now. His quickness gives him the ability to get to the basket quicker than defenders can react.
His jumper and shot selection are concerning, though. He’s only played five games, so it isn’t the best sample size. But right now he’s shooting 18% from three and 40% from the field.
Yes, his scoring numbers are great, but they are very inefficient. In such a perimeter-oriented league, these are some pretty big red flags.
SHARIFE COOPER scored 21 of his 28 PTS in the 2nd half!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 27, 2021
The next big concern with Cooper is his size. Cooper is listed at 6’1″, but he certainly doesn’t look 6’1″ out there. Even if this is his actual height, it still wouldn’t be very big.
His lack of size will make him a huge liability on defense at the next level. However, I had some very similar concerns a couple of years ago with TraeYoung, and he’s been a star. It will be interesting to see if his high highs outweigh his low lows.
Biggest Riser – Moses Moody
The Arkansas guard has played his way from being a late first-round pick to the Top 10. His great scoring ability and above-average defense gives him great potential.
He is definitely a shoot-first guard, though, and his playmaking needs to improve at the next level.
Biggest Faller – Brandon Boston Jr.
Most people had high expectations for Brandon Boston. and he’s failed to live up to them so far. He has looked lost out there on the offensive end and is definitely not the surefire lottery pick he once was.
Given his sky-high ceiling, though, I’d be surprised if he fell out of the Top 20. But if his play gets worse, who knows.
Many stars have fallen and risen so far this season.
The good news to those fallers is that stars are made in March. With plenty of time left in the season, these players still have a chance to show they’ve got what it takes. We’ll just have to wait and see, and I’m excited to find out.