The 2021 NBA draft class might be the best draft class to enter since the stacked 2003 class. There have been studs at the top along with many quality role players deep into the second round. This article will be a re-draft of the first round based on what we have seen this season.

1.) Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham

Original pick: Cade Cunningham

There is an argument for Evan Mobley here as he has been the most productive rookie thus far. Despite this, it is a guards league. Cade Cunningham has shown enough where he is going to be an excellent player at 6’8” and with his IQ, passing, and shot-making abilities, that should warrant the Pistons choosing to build their franchise around him.

2.) Houston Rockets: Evan Mobley

Original pick: Jalen Green

The Rockets go BPA (best player available) and take Mobley here. Mobley is one of the better defensive power forwards in the NBA already and would fit Silas’s pace and space offense at either big man position. This would likely mean Christian Wood will be out of the picture, but he still has good value on his contract and it would give the Rockets a great player to build around.

3.) Cleveland Cavaliers: Franz Wagner

Original pick: Evan Mobley

Here is the first surprise of the re-draft. While Franz Wagner does not offer the same defensive versatility that Mobley brings, he is a heck of a player. His ball-handling and confidence as a scorer have sky-rocketed since his days at Michigan. I know many might think Scottie Barnes, but in my last article “Rookie Rundown: Scottie Barnes vs Franz Wagner,” I break down why Wagner is the better bet.

4.) Toronto Raptors: Jalen Green

Original pick: Scottie Barnes

Here the Raptors don’t take their guy even though he’s available. Jalen Green is having a disappointing rookie campaign shooting 38.3% from the court and 30.4% from the three point line. Despite this, Jalen Green gives the Raptors shot-creating and a potential backcourt mate next to Fred VanVleet. The Raptors already have guys like OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam to give length on the defensive end. It is also worth noting the Rockets do not have a point guard. Life is a lot harder for pure scorers without a point guard that will put you in positions to get in a rhythm. Nick Nurse is also one of the best coaches in the NBA, so I would put my trust in him in unlocking Green’s full potential.

5.) Orlando Magic: Jalen Suggs

Original pick: Jalen Suggs

Barnes has shown a lot more than Suggs, but he is limited. He can’t spread the floor and next to Wendell Carter and Mo Bamba, that’s difficult to incorporate. There’s an argument to be made for many others as well, but they don’t offer the same upside Suggs does, and the Magic need to get someone to build their franchise around. Right now, the game is fast for Suggs, but for a rebuilding Magic team, being patient shouldn’t be an issue.

6.) Oklahoma City Thunder: Scottie Barnes

Original pick: Josh Giddey

Scottie Barnes does drop, but this is a great draft class. Oklahoma City goes best player available as they only have Shae Gilgeous-Alexander to build around. Getting Barnes, someone who will give great versatility on the defensive end along with his smarts offensively, is why he would be an ideal fit for the Thunder.

7.) Golden State Warriors: Jonathan Kuminga

Original pick: Jonathan Kuminga

The Warriors luck out and get Kuminga back. This is a no-brainer as when the playoffs come, the Warriors now have another forward with the physical tools that can defend great players on the perimeter. Kuminga also has plenty of upside as a scorer too. This is a best-case scenario for the Warriors.

8.) Orlando Magic: Josh Giddey

Original pick: Franz Wagner

The Magic do come out with less in this redraft as they do not retain Franz. They also create a log-jam at point guard. With Josh Giddey, Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony it is a little problematic as none are great shooters. Despite this, Giddey was definitely the best player available. There were no wings/forwards with the potential Giddey has. If I was including trades, this would be an ideal trade-out situation. There is little magic for Orlando in this re-draft.

9.) Sacramento Kings: Davion Mitchell

Original pick: Davion Mitchell

The recent trade for Domantas Sabonis helps here as Alperen Sengun would have been an ideal pick prior to the trade. Now that Halliburton is gone, they need Mitchell now more than ever. He is a great defender, has a quick first step, and a great culture guy for a Sacramento franchise that could use them.

10.) Memphis Grizzlies: Ziaire Williams

Original pick: Ziaire Williams

Ziaire Williams has not been anything special, but he’s shown flashes of shot-creation ability. The Grizzlies also have a glaring need for a wing to create. There’s some merit here as the Grizzlies are building for the future. Do not let their record fool you. Their title window is not now, and they need to try and take a swing here.

11.) Charlotte Hornets: Alperen Sengun

Original pick: James Bouknight 

The Hornets go BPA as well as fit here in Sengun. The big man has been excellent in his limited playing time. Showing unique patience, footwork, and great hands allow him to dominate in the painted area. The Hornets could use him not only for his offense, but he is a strong defender as he excels in drop-coverage despite not having great length. 

12.) San Antonio Spurs: Ayo Dosunmu

Original pick: Joshua Primo

The Spurs will select one of the biggest risers in the redraft in Ayo Dosunmu. Ayo has shown he has a great work ethic and I’m done doubting him. I had him as an early second rounder, I did not think he would be a great defender, and I was not expecting him to transition into becoming a true point guard. I was wrong on all three of these aspects. Dosunmu is a great player and Spurs get a good one here. 

13.) Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte

Original pick: Chris Duarte

Duarte has had a strong rookie campaign, and Indiana selects him once again. He is a strong two-way player. This could also make sense for them to take some other players, but there’s many unknowns mostly due to lack of playing time, so going with a sure bet in the late lotto makes sense.

14.) Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody

Original pick: Moses Moody

Moody fits the Warriors culture with his IQ, off-ball movement, along with upside as a two-way player. Moses Moody might not contribute this year, but they do not need him to. The Warriors get both of their players back in this re-draft.

15.) Washington Wizards: James Bouknight

Original pick: Corey Kispert

With the Wizards depth and veteran experience, they do not have a need for a shooter like Kispert. What they need is a point guard. While I’m not sure if Bouknight will be a true point guard, he offers massive upside. He is ridiculously athletic and can finish at the rim. His jump shot has improved and with the recurring Dinwiddie trade rumors, it seems best for Wizards to find themselves a point guard.

16.) Houston Rockets: Tre Mann

Original pick: Alperen Sengun

The Rockets get themselves a point guard here. Mann has not played as much point at OKC this season next to Shae and Giddey, but here he would have an opportunity to grow his game and become more than just a spark plug.

17.) New Orleans Pelicans: Herbert Jones

Original pick: Trey Murphy

The Pels get their guy, but almost 20 picks sooner. Herb Jones is a great defensive talent. What he brings with his athleticism and 7’0” wingspan, he offers help as a role player with his defense and transition offense on a team now filled with scoring.

18.) Oklahoma City Thunder: Brandon Boston Jr.

Original pick: Tre Mann

Boston was originally the 51st pick in the draft, and now moves into the mid-first round. This is in large part because of how much he has improved in not even one season in the NBA. In college, he struggled with physicality, couldn’t shoot, and struggled in most other categories. Despite that, there was always potential if he put it all together, he could become a great player. In just 40 NBA games, he has made huge adjustments where he no longer has a hitch in his shot and is playing quality minutes on a solid Clippers team.

19.) Charlotte Hornets: Joshua Primo

Original pick: Kai Jones

With Hornets snagging Sengun, it does not make sense for them to go after Kai Jones. Getting Primo, who has shown glimpses of becoming a player who can play both ends, spread the floor, and the potential to create will be what dictates his ceiling. With all this, the Hornets are already a deep team, so taking someone who will not see the court much in his first year or two as a professional makes sense. 

20.) Atlanta Hawks: Jalen Johnson

Original pick: Jalen Johnson

While Johnson has not seen much playing time this year, he showed enough in Summer League that he was just waiting for the NBA. He is already an NBA athlete who can handle the ball at 6’8” and score around the rim. The Hawks aren’t going to fill any needs at this point as one of the deeper teams in the league, so taking BPA makes sense.

21.) Los Angeles Clippers: Josh Christopher

Original pick: Keon Johnson

Christopher is coming on strong as of late. He has really gained muscle, improved his handles, and is coming into his own now. Josh Christopher can create his shot and the Clippers are desperate for shot-creation without their two stars. He is someone who they can also trust on defense a little more than others they could consider here.

22.) Indiana Pacers: Cam Thomas

Original pick: Isaiah Jackson

Cam Thomas comes into a situation that is retooling now, but without Caris LeVert and Sabonis, there are a lot of shots that are up for grabs. Not many rookies can create like Thomas as he led all freshmen in scoring at LSU. He still needs to improve other aspects of his game, but after taking a safer pick in Duarte, going for the home run here makes sense.

23.) Houston Rockets: Corey Kispert

Original pick: Usman Garuba

Kispert falls, but I don’t know much of this is his fault. The Wizards are deep and he’s not seeing much time. The Rockets would offer him a spot as the true floor-spacer he was advertised as coming into the league. As a rebuilding franchise, it is vital to establish a positive culture. They are doing that in this re-draft.

24.) Houston Rockets: Trey Murphy

Original pick: Josh Christopher

Focus of this redraft for the Rockets was getting high IQ players and shooting. With Mobley, Mann, Kispert, and Murphy, they have accomplished that. Murphy has been disappointing to an extent, but I see more blame on New Orleans than Murphy. Murphy might need time adjusting, but he’s a humble kid that can stroke it, and has the length to be a positive defender.

25.) New York Knicks: Quentin Grimes

Original pick: Quentin Grimes

Knicks get their own guy back in Grimes. It’s difficult projecting any rookie to Thibs as they rarely see playing time. The Knicks are also incredibly deep. Depending on what they do at the deadline could change this, but for now, having a high culture guy who can spread the floor is the way to go.

26.) Denver Nuggets: Nah’Shon Hyland

Original pick: Nah’Shon Hyland

This is a sigh of relief for the Nuggets. Just based on certain needs with the team’s prior, the Nuggets get back Bones Hyland who has been a real spark plug for them. His IQ has gotten better since coming into the league, but his ceiling does seem to be limited in this type of spark-plug role.

27.) Brooklyn Nets: Jared Butler

Original pick: Cam Thomas

The Nets take on Jared Butler who had heart issues heading into the draft and was not cleared until right before the draft. As you can imagine this scared teams off, which is why he fell to the second round. Butler is still a very smart player, who will play any role he is asked, and has a nice jumper. 

28.) Philadelphia 76ers: Miles McBride

Original pick: Jaden Springer

McBride fits Doc Rivers’ philosophies. He has said he loves his teams that play hard and no drama. Miles McBride is as tough as they come. He is a dog on the defensive end, and has shot-creation ability too. He is a little undersized, but he would fit in great with Rivers.

29.) Brooklyn Nets: Usman Garuba

Original pick: Day’Ron Sharpe

Usman Garuba actually played for the Spain national team over the summer and did as good a job a rookie can do defending Kevin Durant. Garuba has an NBA frame already and can come in and bring that defense and maturity to a Nets team, despite needing work on the offensive end. Garuba would be a nice small-ball five for them.

30.) Memphis Grizzlies: Joe Wieskamp

Original pick: Santi Aldama

Joe Wieskamp is a forward from Iowa. He was picked in the second round by the Spurs and has yet to see much playing time, despite this, he would fit well with the Grizzlies culture. He is someone who can space the floor, move without the ball, and fit this scheme Taylor Jenkins has implemented.

To stay connected to my future content, follow me on Twitter. Don’t forget to take a look at Belly Up Sports for all your sports content. If you enjoyed this article, take a look at “Rookie Rundown: Evan Mobley – Best Rookie Big Man Since?

About Author

Bradley Patten

I played basketball growing up, and always prided myself on being a student of the game. In highschool, I got a concussion that ended my career. Little did I know that it would change my life forever. During this time, I found a new passion related to basketball. I started scouting incoming prospects and fell in love with it. I also love coaching as I am a basketball coach at a local highschool. Belly Up Sports is a way for me to share my love for the game with others and get my opinions out there. My overall goal is to work in the basketball industry as a coach or scout. “To be successful, you must be willing to do the things today others won’t do in order to have the things tomorrow other’s won’t have” (Les Brown). I am well aware this is a competitive field, but I have all the determination to be one of the ones fortunate enough to make it.

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