When is the NBA Draft 2021?
The 2021 NBA Draft is set for Thursday, July 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. NBA CA2021 NBA Draft: Key prospects to know in the mid- to late-lottery range
21 July, 2021 - 10:02pm
Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel
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21 July, 2021 - 06:51pm
During pre-draft interviews, Warriors executives have made one thing clear to prospects: Whomever the team selects in the lottery will be expected to contribute next season.
This should come as no big surprise considering that Golden State is eager to maximize what’s left of Stephen Curry’s prime. But in next Thursday’s draft that boasts five — perhaps six — elite prospects, the Warriors face a conundrum with the seventh and 14th picks: How do they balance a win-now mentality with a desire to build for the future?
Their pre-draft-interview edicts aside, the Warriors still want to follow the Spurs’ blueprint for long-term relevance. This means stockpiling young players who can help lead the team into a new era once Curry (age 33), Draymond Green (31) and Klay Thompson (31) decline in production or retire.
Golden State’s two most notable young players — James Wiseman (20) and Jordan Poole (22) — are promising, but they have yet to prove they can be the face of the post-Curry Warriors. Odds are that general manager Bob Myers won’t have a better opportunity than next week’s draft to select someone capable of being groomed for such a role. If all goes as planned, the Warriors don’t figure to be lottery-bound anytime soon.
But given ownership’s desire to rebound from two playoff-less seasons and vault back into title contention, Myers recognizes that he must take someone at No. 7 who’s well-equipped to help immediately. The Warriors have perhaps only seven players — Curry, Green, Thompson, Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Juan Toscano-Anderson — under contract for 2021-22 whom they’d feel comfortable playing in the postseason.
If Golden State gets a ready-made prospect at No. 7 who projects as a top-eight rotation player next season, it could use its No. 14 pick on more of a high-risk, high-upside gamble. The question, however, is whether there will be anyone available at seven whom the Warriors can bank on playing 20-plus minutes a night.
Baylor’s Davion Mitchell — a defensive-oriented guard with a championship pedigree — is the popular pick at No. 7 on mock drafts, but even he comes with risk. Many scouts worry that he’s too predictable and too streaky to become an offensive factor in the NBA. Then there’s the fact that Mitchell turns 23 in September, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of making good on a mid-lottery selection.
Recent history suggests that prospects who are 22 or older face long odds of becoming difference-makers at the next level. Many front offices would rather take an 18- or 19-year-old in the lottery because, even if he struggles early, at least he has a chance to blossom into something special long-term. A worst-case scenario for the Warriors would be taking Mitchell at seven, only to watch him labor as a rookie and defeat the whole purpose of Golden State drafting him.
The more prudent move might be picking someone with a solid mix of upside who is NBA-ready. Players who could fit that mold include Connecticut guard James Bouknight, Arkansas guard Moses Moody and Australian guard Josh Giddey. All three are between 18 and 20 years old, with at least one NBA-caliber skill and a ceiling ranging from reliable starter to perennial All-Star.
It’s also worth wondering if the Warriors might be best off picking the most talented player at No. 7. Most front offices tend to take a best-prospect-available approach to the lottery, and the reason is simple: Finding a franchise cornerstone is much trickier than getting a helpful rotation player.
However, the Warriors are unlikely to go the high-upside route — not just because of their stated desire to win now, but because they don’t necessarily want a repeat of Wiseman’s rookie season. It’s well-chronicled that head coach Steve Kerr had a tough time balancing Wiseman’s development with a need to help Curry and Green.
Lottery picks bring considerable hype, and it’s often a major story line when they aren’t ready to contribute as a rookie. Wiseman’s issues adapting to the speed and physicality of the NBA last season dominated news coverage and caused plenty of internal conversations about how he should be used.
With Curry set to turn 34 in March, the Warriors can’t afford to spend too much more time figuring out how to utilize young players. That’s why the front office is making its intentions with the No. 7 pick known to potential selections now: no long-term projects allowed.
21 July, 2021 - 08:00am
We spoke to Peter Woodburn of The Slipper Still Fits to find out more
We all know that I’m biased when it comes to any Gonzaga Bulldogs, so we brought in someone more knowledgeable about Suggs’s game: Peter Woodburn of The Slipper Still Fits, which is the Gonzaga blog here on SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter here.
Peter was kind enough to answer questions about a slew of Zags, but since Suggs is the current topic of discussion, we’ll start with him today.
Jalen Suggs arrived at Gonzaga as one of the most hyped prospects in school history, and from his very first college bucket, he demonstrated he was ready. Suggs is an incredible athlete and was one of the best quarterbacks in Minnesota high school athletics. He only transitioned to full-time basketball when arriving at Gonzaga. At the NBA level, his athleticism will of course be matched by plenty of other players, but that football mindset brings a level of aggressiveness and toughness you usually don’t see in players so young. Suggs is fearless and excels at driving to the basket and drawing contact. He also has an unreal court vision, perhaps made more impressive because of his background as a quarterback, maybe not, who knows. Everyone will remember him for the buzzer-beating three to beat UCLA in the Final Four, but to me, this was the epitome of what Suggs can do.
Suggs is a big-time playmaker and bucket getter. That by no stretch is a rarity in the NBA, but Suggs arrived on campus to be the big man in Spokane and bring the first national championship home. Of course, the Zags fell woefully short of said goal against Baylor, but Suggs tried his damndest to make sure they didn’t. Everyone else forgot to show up, but if you look back at the game, Suggs was charging hard from the very beginning to the very end. He is one of those players who is primed for the big moment and can turn on that switch to seize the day. You look at some of the best games of his very short college career, and they all came against the big-time opponents.
Three-point shooting and yes. Suggs is young and was a two-sport athlete throughout all of high school. I don’t think he necessarily completely focused on basketball like a lot of other high-end prospects throughout his high school years, and his athleticism was able to take him a very long way. In the NBA, that won’t be the case. Suggs only shot 33.7 percent from three-point range last season, and that number drops below 30% if you take out his 7-of-10 long-range night against Iowa.
That said, his jump shot is by no means fundamentally broken. He just needs some more coaching, and any team that is drafting him will know that. At the moment, however, his jump shot is the thing that is holding him back to being one of the top rookies. I’d imagine with an offseason of feedback in that regard, it won’t be much of an issue at the start of the season.
The Gonzaga offense is based around motion, movement, and spacing, and that heavily played into Suggs’ success. He was able to find isolate on mismatches and use his athleticism to blow by slower defenders. At the same time, the squad had players like Corey Kispert to drill shots from outside, so they didn’t need to rely on Suggs to be the primary shot-taker from distance. Defensively, Suggs is totally fine. He has sneaky hands and sometimes overcommits on passes, nothing new for any college freshman however. As Suggs demonstrated at Gonzaga, he is ready for the highest level of play. He is ready to be a starter, and like all young lottery picks, will have those moments you just have to live with and coach out of his play. He is a stat-stuffer but will probably need to be paired with a more consistent outside shooter to help keep the spacing open.
Unequivocally yes. Next year? Probably not. In five years? Sure. I think one of the most impressive things about Jalen Suggs is that he entered Gonzaga as a five-star prospect on the team that was the preseason ranked No. 1 squad. The expectations were there from the get-go. Virtually every single national college writer/announcer/anyone with a brain came away from his season beyond impressed—pretty much instantly. From there, he just built upon that success.
Oh man I don’t even know about that one yet. Haven’t seen much of Holmgren outside of YouTube clips but the kid is a unicorn. Between the two, he has the higher upside.
Huge thanks to Peter for giving us this insight. We’ll have more with him in the coming days as he helps us break down other Zags that could be drafted by the Rockets.