The 2021 NBA Draft is less than six months behind us, but still opinions on those players chosen has fluctuated wildly. Teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers can rejoice because their picks have balled out, while teams like the Charlotte Hornets have larger question marks.
The current rookies in the league represent the future for so many franchises, which is why it is so valuable to keep an eye on the class. Which teams have future stars, and which look to be holding a bum hand? And which front offices seem to have excelled or flopped in evaluating talent?
The 2021 rookie class has been exciting to watch. What would the NBA Draft look like if we had today’s information?
Obviously, we don’t have enough information to properly reorder these players. Even if a rookie has been bad, that doesn’t mean we throw out their college production, draft capital or upside. Some players are more long-term projects, and others are more fully realized now but with lower upside. Every season rookies make the All-Rookie Team only to fizzle out (Eric Paschall or Josh Jackson being recent examples) while others start poorly only to explode in subsequent seasons (Jordan Poole or De’Aaron Fox).
Caveats aside, it’s fun to look at how the draft might unfold if teams had today’s information for July’s draft. Which players would move up and down? We are going to weight results based on the season thus far; talented players who have been terrible get knocked while middling prospects who have started strong get a rise. All trades that occurred before and around the draft stay the same. Finally, given the proximity to the draft and what teams needed then vs now, we’ll factor in the team needs more than we would if we were redrafting the 2015 NBA Draft, for example.
Alright, all the rules are laid out. Let’s see who the Cavs end up with at No. 3, because there is no way they would get Evan Mobley again in a redraft. Speaking of that budding superstar, let’s start with him.