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The wait for the 2021 NBA Draft is over. It's hard to believe, but it really is finally here — just a mere three days before the calendar flips from July to August. This year's draft is later than normal, but still way earlier than last year, when the 2020 NBA Draft, and basically everything else, was delayed by the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Detroit remains coy about what it will do with the No. 1 overall pick. But, at this point, anything other than former Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham being selected first would qualify as surprising.

Is that guaranteed? Of course not.

Again, the Pistons have done a nice job of keeping their so-called cards close to their so-called vest. But I've long been led to believe, when the actual draft goes down, Detroit will do what most NBA franchises would do in this situation, and that's take the 6-8 point guard who can comfortably play on or off the ball and appears ready to perform and produce at the next level immediately even though he won't turn 20 until September. 

Cunningham should, and likely will, go No. 1.

After that, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs will probably come off the board in some order — and any order, in my opinion, is defensible. Either way, soon enough, all of the speculation will be in the rearview mirror. Commissioner Adam Silver will announce the first-round picks live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn later Thursday, at which point he'll make 30 dreams come true and help shape the future of some franchises, in many cases, for years to come.

NBA Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Oklahoma State • 6'8" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
20.1
RPG
6.2
APG
3.5
3P%
40%
The Pistons were the fortunate franchise that won the lottery — and now the job of general manager Troy Weaver is easy. The pick should be Cade Cunningham, a point guard with size who can shot-create, play-make, score from all three levels and just generally take over games when the situation requires it, which he showed time and again in his one season in the Big 12.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Jalen Green SG
USA • 6'6" / 186 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
17.9
RPG
4.1
APG
2.8
3P%
36.5%
The Rockets have employed various star guards in recent years — namely James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. Now they desperately need another one. And the highest-upside guard not named Cunningham in this draft is probably Jalen Green — an explosive athlete and competent shooter who has a chance to be a big-time scorer in this league for a decade-plus.
Round 1- Pick 3
USC • 7'0" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Cleveland
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
16.4
RPG
8.7
APG
2.4
3P%
30%
The Cavaliers have young talent in their backcourt thanks to the presence of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, but they could use a frontcourt star to go with them. That's why the pick should be Evan Mobley, a one-and-done center who is perfectly suited for the modern NBA given that he's a true rim-protector who can guard in space, make plays off the bounce, shoot jumpers from the perimeter and impressively pass out of double-teams.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Gonzaga • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Toronto
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
14.4
RPG
5.3
APG
4.5
3P%
33.7%
The Raptors were big winners on lottery night when they bounced into the top four and earned the right to select whichever top-tier prospect drops to them. In this mock draft, it's Jalen Suggs — a great competitor and top-shelf athlete who could flourish playing next to Fred VanVleet and become an All-Star level player in time if his 3-point shot just becomes a little more reliable.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Florida State • 6'9" / 227 lbs
Projected Team
Orlando
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
1st
PPG
10.3
RPG
4
APG
4.1
3P%
27.5%
The Magic are in a total rebuild and would be wise to select the prospect with the most potential to develop into something special. I'm not certain that's Scottie Barnes — but all of the intel in recent days suggests the Magic are leaning this direction.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Jonathan Kuminga SF
Congo • 6'8" / 222 lbs
Projected Team
Oklahoma City
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
15.8
RPG
7.2
APG
2.7
3P%
24.6%
Oklahoma City's rebuild should have general manager Sam Presti focusing on nothing but adding young prospects with high upsides. At this point in this mock draft, the best player who fits that description is Jonathan Kuminga, the big and versatile athletic wing who would be a steal at this point in the draft as long as he becomes a serious 3-point threat as he ages.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Connecticut • 6'5" / 190 lbs
Projected Team
Golden St.
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
18.7
RPG
5.7
APG
1.8
3P%
29.3%
There's some thought that the Warriors will try to package this pick and move it for a veteran who is better equipped to help a core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green compete for another title next season. But if they can't get that done, an intriguing option would be James Bouknight, who has reportedly eased a lot of concerns about his low 3-point percentage during the pre-draft process by burying shots from everywhere in workouts.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Arkansas • 6'6" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Orlando
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
16.8
RPG
5.8
APG
1.6
3P%
35.8%
Focusing on young prospects who can grow and develop together makes a lot of sense in Orlando. Moses Moody is a one-and-done prospect who just turned 19 and projects as a 3-and-D wing after shooting 35.8% from 3 while helping Arkansas advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Michigan • 6'9" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Sacramento
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
4th
PPG
12.5
RPG
6.5
APG
3
3P%
34.3%
The Kings finished with the worst defensive rating in the NBA this season, which suggests they could use a prospect who adds something on that end of the court. Wagner would likely do that — though, let the record show, this is a little higher than I'd probably take the former Michigan standout based on some concerns about whether he'll actually develop into what those who believe in him envision at the next level.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Josh Giddey SF
Australia • 6'7" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Memphis
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Grizzlies moved up to No. 10 in this draft this week and might try to move even higher before the day is done. But if they sit here, Josh Giddey is an obvious option who would provide Memphis with a playmaking wing who would theoretically fit nicely in between Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Gonzaga • 6'7" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Charlotte
PROSPECT RNK
14th
POSITION RNK
6th
PPG
18.6
RPG
5
APG
1.8
3P%
44%
Gordon Hayward has missed 48 regular-season games the past two seasons, which is among the reasons the Hornets need to add depth on the wing. Corey Kispert, who made 44.0% of the 6.5 3-pointers he attempted per game last season at Gonzaga, is arguably the best shooter in this draft, which is why he'll likely be selected in the lottery despite some obvious flaws that were exposed during the Zags' loss to Baylor in the national title game.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Alperen Sengun C
Turkey • 6'10" / 243 lbs
Projected Team
San Antonio
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
1st
The midseason buyout of LaMarcus Aldridge left San Antonio with zero great options in the frontcourt. So using this pick on a big like Alperen Sengun — a throwback center who has been a professional in Turkey since 2018 — would qualify as a sensible move and give Gregg Popovuch someone who is already very comfortable catching the ball at the elbow and using a developed face-up game to score and draw fouls.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Baylor • 6'0" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Indiana
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
14
RPG
2.7
APG
5.5
3P%
44.7%
Put me in charge, and Davion Mitchell is already off the board. But it appears the interest in the former Baylor star has waned the further we've gotten from the national title game despite him being a tenacious on-ball defender whose playmaking ability — and shotmaking ability — would improve the Pacers immediately.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Oregon • 6'6" / 190 lbs
Projected Team
Golden St.
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
4th
PPG
17.1
RPG
4.6
APG
2.7
3P%
42.4%
The Warriors need to add a player in this draft who is older and equipped to help a core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green compete for another title next season. Chris Duarte is exactly that — a 24 year-old do-it-all guard who made better than 42% of the 5.5 3-pointers he attempted per contest last season at Oregon, where he led the Ducks to back-to-back outright Pac-12 regular-season titles.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Virginia • 6'9" / 206 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
25th
POSITION RNK
8th
PPG
11.3
RPG
3.4
APG
1.2
3P%
43.3%
Washington needs to add shooting after finishing outside of the top 20 in 3-point field goal percentage last season. Trey Murphy is a 6-9 wing who can guard his position and has proven, over three years of college, to be a reliable and dangerous catch-and-shoot option from the perimeter.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Duke • 6'9" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Oklahoma City
PROSPECT RNK
24th
POSITION RNK
7th
PPG
11.2
RPG
6.1
APG
2.2
3P%
44.4%
Jalen Johnson's decision to quit Duke midseason after his role was decreased wasn't a good look (or a positive for his draft stock). But he's still a former five-star prospect with undeniable potential, which is among the reasons he'd make sense for an Oklahoma City franchise that needs to focus on possible future stars.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Florida • 6'5" / 190 lbs
Projected Team
New Orleans
PROSPECT RNK
26th
POSITION RNK
6th
PPG
16
RPG
5.6
APG
3.5
3P%
40.2%
The Pelicans still need to surround Zion Williamson with shooting -- and adding Tre Mann would accomplish that goal. The two-and-done prospect from Florida shot 40.2% from 3-point range (on 4.7 attempts per game) in his final season at Florida, where played and guarded multiple positions and drastically increased his earning potential.
  From Miami Heat
Round 1 - Pick 18
Tennessee • 6'5" / 186 lbs
Projected Team
Oklahoma City
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
5th
PPG
11.3
RPG
3.5
APG
2.5
3P%
27.1%
The Thunder are in a total rebuild and should be focused on trying to add prospects who have a chance to be special. Keon Johnson fits that description in part because he's a one-and-done guard who projects as a nice two-way player in the NBA for many years to come thanks to freakish athleticism that allowed him to set a vertical record at the combine.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Usman Garuba PF
Spain • 6'8" / 229 lbs
Projected Team
New York
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
1st
Usman Garuba is a versatile high-level defender who could help as a rookie and eventually develop into one of the best defensive bigs in the world. It would be fascinating to watch Tom Thibodeau develop an 18 year-old who already possesses incredible defensive instincts.
Round 1 - Pick 20
LSU • 6'4" / 210 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
18th
POSITION RNK
6th
PPG
23
RPG
3.4
APG
1.4
3P%
32.5%
Cameron Thomas is a big-time scorer who led the SEC in points per game in his one season at LSU. The efficiency numbers weren't great, but that's largely because he was responsible for creating an unusually high percentage of the Tigers' offense, which obviously wouldn't be the case in Atlanta because of the presence of Trae Young.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Kentucky • 6'10" / 206 lbs
Projected Team
New York
PROSPECT RNK
22nd
POSITION RNK
3rd
PPG
8.4
RPG
6.6
APG
0.7
3P%
0%
Many are skeptical the Knicks will actually pick 19th and 21st in this draft. But if they do, getting Isaiah Jackson — whose block percentage of 12.7 ranked eighth nationally (according to KenPom) in his one year at Kentucky — would be a real steal this deep.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Baylor • 6'3" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Lakers
PROSPECT RNK
19th
POSITION RNK
4th
PPG
16.7
RPG
3.3
APG
4.8
3P%
41.6%
The Lakers are always trying to add shooting around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Jared Butler is a capable shooter, and a plug-and-play option, who is worthy of a look in this range now that the NBA has made it clear his medical condition will not prevent him from playing in the league.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Stanford • 6'8" / 185 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
5th
PPG
10.7
RPG
4.6
APG
2.2
3P%
29.1%
The Rockets remain in a total rebuild and should be focused on trying to add prospects who have a chance to be special. Ziaire Williams fits that description in part because he's a one-and-done wing with athleticism who was a consensus top-10 prospect coming out of high school.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Auburn • 6'1" / 180 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
28th
POSITION RNK
8th
PPG
20.2
RPG
4.3
APG
8.1
3P%
22.8%
Sharife Cooper is definitely on the small side, which will likely be the thing that prevents him from being seriously considered for the lottery. But he's such a gifted passer and playmaker that he would be a reasonable option for a Houston franchise in a multiyear rebuild.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Illinois • 6'4" / 194 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Clippers
PROSPECT RNK
20th
POSITION RNK
7th
PPG
20.1
RPG
6.3
APG
5.3
3P%
38.6%
Ayo Dosunmu improved enough as a shooter in his third season at Illinois to lock up a spot in the first round. The regularity with which he took over games in the Big Ten suggests he can be a big-scoring guard who could provide depth in the Clippers' backcourt and help them win immediately.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Texas • 6'11" / 218 lbs
Projected Team
Denver
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
2nd
PPG
8.8
RPG
4.8
APG
0.6
3P%
38.2%
This deep in this draft, Denver probably can't pass on the opportunity to take a big swing on a prospect like Kai Jones. It's a bet on his upside, sure, but the two-year product from Texas has a chance to be a stretch-big at the next level considering he made 13 of the 34 3-pointers he attempted as a sophomore.
Round 1 - Pick 27
West Virginia • 6'2" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Brooklyn
PROSPECT RNK
27th
POSITION RNK
7th
PPG
15.9
RPG
3.9
APG
4.8
3P%
41.4%
If the Nets decide to add backcourt depth, Miles McBride would be a reasonable option. He's a guard who gets after it defensively and shoots it reliably — evidence being that he shot 41.4% from 3-point range last season, and 81.3% from the free-throw line while leading West Virginia to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Houston • 6'5" / 210 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
33rd
POSITION RNK
10th
PPG
17.8
RPG
5.7
APG
2
3P%
40.3%
The Sixers still need shooting regardless of what they do with Ben Simmons -- and adding Quentin Grimes would accomplish that goal. The former McDonald's All-American shot 40.3% on 8.3 3-point attempts per game in his final season at Houston, where he helped Kelvin Sampson make the Final Four for the second time.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Villanova • 6'9" / 230 lbs
Projected Team
Phoenix
PROSPECT RNK
41st
POSITION RNK
6th
PPG
15.7
RPG
8.5
APG
2.2
3P%
28%
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was the leading scorer and rebounder for a Villanova team that won the Big East by multiple games. He's not the best athlete — but his understanding of how to play, and his ability to be a pick-and-pop 4, could allow him to become a valuable complimentary piece for Phoenix, which has a goal of returning to the NBA Finals.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Arizona State • 6'5" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Utah
PROSPECT RNK
37th
POSITION RNK
14th
PPG
14.3
RPG
4.7
APG
1.4
3P%
30.5%
The Jazz are at a point with their roster where they can afford to take a gamble on an intriguing prospect like Josh Christopher. He's a guard with size who, in a limited number of games, showed a real ability to shot-create and score in ways that translate to the NBA.