Redrafting the 2021 NBA Draft: Does Cade Cunningham Still Go First Overall?

#30 Utah Jazz: F Jalen Johnson (Atlanta Hawks)

Looking for a solid long-term fit near the end of the first-round, Utah would have definitely been happy with seeing Jalen Johnson’s name still on the draft board simply because of the potential he has moving forward. He barely played with the Atlanta Hawks this season, but Johnson averaged 21.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and shot 47% in the G-League this year as a 6’9” forward.

Having the ability to spread the floor and evolve into a threat defensively as well given his length, Jalen Johnson checks off all the boxes to be a high-level talent down the road, especially since he just turned 20 back in December.

Actual Pick: Santi Aldama (Traded to MEM)

#29 Phoenix Suns: G/F Aaron Wiggins (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Aaron Wiggins was a name nobody really knew coming out of Maryland and as a result, he was drafted 55th overall by the Oklahoma Thunder in the actual draft. With Oklahoma City this season, Wiggins averaged 8.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and shot 46.3% from the floor in 50 total games, 35 of which he started in.

Being an efficient scorer and having real “3-and-D” potential moving forward, Wiggins would have fit in nicely behind Mikal Bridges on the wing in Phoenix as a potential second-unit guy and long-term secondary talent.

Actual Pick: Day’Ron Sharpe (Traded to BKN)

#28 Philadelphia 76ers: G Josh Christopher (Houston Rockets)

Known for his athleticism attacking the rim, Josh Christopher is a combo guard that possesses length and a high IQ in the backcourt. He can be turnover prone at times because of his high motor, but Christopher’s playmaking abilities are what stand out about his game.

Only seeing about 18.0 minutes per game down in Houston this season, the former Arizona State Sun Devil averaged 7.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 74 total games, 72 of which he came off-the-bench. Long-term, Christopher has a chance to be a real difference-maker in his team’s second-unit.

Actual Pick: Jaden Springer

#27 Brooklyn Nets: C Day’Ron Sharpe (Brooklyn Nets)

The Nets ended up trading for Day’Ron Sharpe during the actual 2021 NBA Draft and here in the re-draft, they ended up with him again!

Sharpe has all the tools to be an avid rim-protector in this league for a long-time and he is a very physical rebounder. Stepping up this season when the Nets had no big man depth with LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Claxton hurt, Day’Ron Sharpe showed flashes of long-term potential, especially when he had a career-best 20 points and 7 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls in 22 minutes of play.

Spending some time in the G-League when he was not playing with Brooklyn this season, the 6’11” center averaged 18.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in ten games.

Actual Pick: Cameron Thomas

#26 Denver Nuggets: F/C Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Oklahoma City Thunder)

The Denver Nuggets got exactly what they needed in the 2021 NBA Draft with Bones Hyland, but they will not be as lucky here to end up with Bones near the end of the draft!

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl fell to the second-round in the actual draft for some reason and Denver would be getting good value for him with the 26th overall pick. He came out of Villanova ready to play and at 21-years-old, the 6’9” big man has a well-versed game in terms of filling different needs for his team on both ends of the floor.

Whether he has his back-to-the-basket or he finds himself out on the perimeter with the ball, the young big man always seems comfortable and more importantly, confident in his decision-making. With Oklahoma City this season, Robinson-Earl averaged 7.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and proved to be a factor defensively as well.

Actual Pick: Bones Hyland

#25 Los Angeles Clippers: F Corey Kispert (Washington Wizards)

One of the more ready players and experienced players in the 2021 NBA Draft, Corey Kispert ended up having a really solid rookie campaign with the Washington Wizards, averaging 8.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and shooting 35% from three-point range.

Him slipping late in the first-round of this re-draft is a little surprising, but the Los Angeles Clippers are a championship contending team in the Western Conference that would utilize the older rookie on the perimeter alongside Luke Kennard, another reliable three-point shooter.

Kispert’s upside as a well-balanced perimeter shooting threat makes him a player from this year’s draft class that could end up staying in the league for quite some time.

Actual Pick: Quentin Grimes (Traded to NYK)

#24 Houston Rockets: G Joshua Primo (San Antonio Spurs)

The youngest player in the 2021 draft, Joshua Primo being selected 12th overall by the San Antonio Spurs was a little bit of a surprise to some. His long-term upside being an athletic, lengthy guard is definitely present, but his rookie season was pretty underwhelming overall, averaging just 5.8 points on 37.4% shooting from the floor in 50 total games.

The Rockets are rebuilding and as a result, they are looking for  long-term building blocks as depth, which is why Primo at 24th overall makes sense. This is more of a “best player available” selection here and taking a chance on a young, athletic player that has shown flashes of his two-way potential at the shooting guard position.

Actual Pick: Josh Christopher

#23 Houston Rockets: G Tre Mann (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Stepping up at the end of the season in the absence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and fellow rookie Josh Giddey, Tre Mann really established himself as a key backcourt option in Oklahoma City.

A solid blend of playmaking and three-point shooting, Mann finished the season ranking 12th out of all rookies in scoring and 6th in made three-pointers (98). Mann has the ability to be a “microwave” scorer in the sense that he can get going and get hot at any moment in a game, exactly what Houston could use in their backcourt.

Actual Pick: Usman Garuba

#22 Los Angeles Lakers: G Ayo Dosunmu (Chicago Bulls)

Selected 38th overall in the actual draft, Ayo Dosunmu turned out to be a diamond in the rough for the Chicago Bulls. Due to Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and Coby White dealing with injuries, Dosunmu stepped up for the Bulls this season and established himself as a crafty playmaker and facilitator at the point guard position.

His energy is also something that makes Dosunmu an interesting, long-term fit in any team’s backcourt. A potential starter for many years to come, Ayo Dosunmu would have been a “spark” off-the-bench for the Los Angeles Lakers and possibly the bench scorer they were missing this season.

Actual Pick: Isaiah Jackson (Traded to IND)

#21 New York Knicks: G Cam Thomas (Brooklyn Nets)

Other rookies outplayed him this season and his numbers may not say so, but I still believe Cameron Thomas is the best pure scorer in this draft class. When he wants to, Thomas can absolutely light things up on the offensive-end of the floor and no team in the league needs this kind of talent more than the Knicks.

New York’s offense outside of R.J. Barrett and Julius Randle this season really struggled and being able to score from any spot on the floor, Thomas would have been a perfect fit in Madison Square Garden. Long-term, Cam Thomas has a chance to turn himself into an electric sixth-man-like scorer and a perfect complimentary player next to his team’s All-Stars.

Actual Pick: Keon Johnson (Traded to LAC)

Picks #20-15 – Mid-First-Round