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2021 NBA Draft live stream: How to watch, start time, TV channel, latest mock, official pick order
Earlier this month, the Milwaukee Bucks completed an incredible comeback in the NBA Finals to defeat the Phoenix Suns and win their first championship in 50 years. Now, with the 2020-21 season officially in the books, it’s time to turn our attention to next season.
The first order of business is the 2021 NBA Draft, which is set for Thursday night. Unlike last year, when the event had to be conducted virtually because of COVID-19, this year’s edition will get back to normal. Fans will be allowed inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which will once again play host.
The Detroit Pistons have the No. 1 overall pick for just the third time in franchise history, and are widely expected to take Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State. A do-it-all guard who has been compared to Luka Doncic because of his ability to control the game, Cunningham is one of the best prospects to enter the league in many years.
2021 NBA Draft: Live updates, start time, date, order, picks, grades, predictions and analysis
If it feels like the NBA just had a draft, well, it sort of did.
Last year’s event didn’t happen until late November, about a month before the regular season began. While this year’s draft isn’t completely back to “normal,” we’re at least in the right season once again.
Nonetheless, little of that will matter Thursday night when the teams near the top hope to boost their immediate prospects with … prospects. The Detroit Pistons tip things off with the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, which begins at 8 p.m. ET from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Round 1 can be seen on both ABC and ESPN, while Round 2 will air on ESPN.
Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is widely expected to be the top pick, and G League Ignite’s Jalen Green, USC’s Evan Mobley, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs and Florida State’s Scottie Barnes are a few of the other top prospects expected to go pretty early.
Follow along here through draft night as The Athletic NBA staff shares its insight, analysis and predictions ahead of Thursday’s event.
But first, a few mocks to get you ready:
» Sam Vecenie’s live updating mock
» John Hollinger’s mock
» Beat writer mock
» Consensus Big Board
And here is Thursday’s first-round draft order:
Golden State (from Minnesota)
Orlando (from Chicago)
Oklahoma City (from Boston)
Oklahoma City (from Miami via the LA Clippers, Philadelphia, and Phoenix)
New York (from Dallas)
Los Angeles Lakers
Houston (from Portland)
Houston (from Milwaukee)
Next steps in Washington
By Fred Katz
July 29, 2021 at 8:03 AM +06
Washington’s anchor, Bradley Beal, the man whose presence sets the priorities for the organization, is mulling his future, our Shams Charania reported over the weekend. The Wizards want to build around him, and it’s still possible that happens. But to nail a draft pick, a front office first has to hammer in a direction. And right now, this team’s GPS could send it on various paths.
A look at how Beal’s uncertain future clouds the Wizards’ strategy.
READ MOREBradley Beal’s uncertain future clouds Wizards’ NBA Draft plans, direction
Hollinger’s Top 70 for 2021
By John Hollinger
July 29, 2021 at 6:47 AM +06
From my perspective, this draft is a bit different in terms of how its depth shakes out.
I’d be really happy to have a pick in the top nine or something in the mid-20s. However, the depth of this group sort of craters after the top-nine picks, leaving a lot of speculative-type selections in the teens or non-speculative selections on near-certain role players. The 20s and 30s offer less risk in a way, as there are a number of players worth taking a flier on in this part of my board.
With all that said, here are my Top 70 players in this year’s draft, starting with Cade Cunningham at No. 1.
READ MOREHollinger’s Top 70 players for the 2021 NBA Draft: Cade No. 1, and why Alperen Sengun deserves more hype
30 teams, 30 needs
By Sam Vecenie
July 29, 2021 at 6:09 AM +06
Every NBA team has holes that it needs to fill, be it big ones or minor ones. Considering the NBA Draft kicks off the offseason every year, it’s worth running through each franchise, its biggest needs and potential options for filling those holes with the first set of choices that each team will have in Thursday’s draft.
I did just that.
READ MORE2021 NBA Draft: Sam Vecenie breaks down the biggest needs (and potential options) for all 30 teams
Are coaches full of you-know-what?
By The Athletic NBA Staff
July 29, 2021 at 5:20 AM +06
When explaining the idea to some coaches of researching the last 11 seasons of NBA Draft Combine height measurements, comparing that to the prospects’ college figures and putting it all in one big spreadsheet to see where the data would take us, they chuckled knowingly.
“This is a great idea,” one coach said, “if you want to see how full of shit coaches really are.”
Except, actually, maybe not. Over the past 11 seasons, it turns out, college roster listings have been remarkably accurate, and the overall average is impressively consistent. But this is not true of every position.
Eamonn Brennan and Seth Partnow break it all down here.
READ MOREAre coaches ‘full of s—‘ when it comes to measuring future NBA Draft prospects?
A few pointers
By CJ Moore
July 29, 2021 at 4:35 AM +06
A few pointers
Four days after Baylor won the national title, Davion Mitchell found himself at Chris Paul’s house.
This was sort of like a gift from a rep to a new client. It turned into something entirely different.
“Chris could tell how mature he was, and how much he wanted the information,” Ty Sullivan says. “We probably could have been there for 10 hours.”
(Photo: Robert Deutsch / USA Today)
READ MOREChris Paul, Donovan Mitchell and others already know that Davion Mitchell is going to make it big in the NBA
Anything can happen…
By Kelsey Russo
July 29, 2021 at 3:48 AM +06
There’s a good chance the Cavaliers stay at No. 3, seeing that it’s the highest lottery pick they’ve had since they began their rebuild. But they will do their due diligence across the board, considering options to trade up or down in the draft.
Moving up would be an ideal situation for Cleveland, but it might prove difficult to do so. But let’s not completely rule out a trade just yet, as anything could happen leading up to or on draft night.
To examine some trade scenarios, beat writers from The Athletic covering different teams in the lottery weighed in on pitches for the third pick.
READ MORECavaliers trade possibilities: Who says no in deals to move up or down in the draft?
‘He got better’
By Kelly Iko
July 29, 2021 at 2:58 AM +06
Jalen Green’s decision to join G League Ignite and forgo college was a shock to many, including his high school coach Brad Roznovosky. It came during a crucial time in the run-up to the 2021 NBA Draft
“I’ll tell you what, the more I think about it, and watch it in the G League, I think it was the 100 percent the right decision,” Roznovosky said. “Not just financially… but he got better. He got his name out there even more.”
So much so that Green is now a near certainty to be a top-five pick Thursday night.
READ MORE‘He wanted all the smoke’: The making of Jalen Green, next NBA phenom
Close to the vest
By James L. Edwards III
July 29, 2021 at 2:29 AM +06
All eyes are on Detroit — and GM Troy Weaver — as the Pistons hold the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft. For weeks, rumors have been swirling. Other prospects have reportedly joined Cade Cunningham at the party for potential top choices. Trade proposals, apparently, are coming in by the boatload. Yet no one knows what exactly Weaver is thinking. The Pistons’ intentions remain a mystery.
And Weaver likes it that way. Check out what he shared with reporters Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s draft.
READ MOREPistons GM Troy Weaver on 2021 NBA Draft, Detroit’s No. 1 pick, trades and more
Odds and ends
By The Athletic NBA Staff
July 29, 2021 at 1:56 AM +06
Odds and ends
Cunningham is heavily favored to go No. 1, and 99 percent of the money at BetMGM is on him going No. 1. After that, there are favorites, but nothing as obvious. Jalen Green is -400 to go No. 2, followed by Evan Mobley at +350.
If the favorites for each pick are correct, the top five will go, Cunningham, Green, Mobley, Jalen Suggs and Scottie Barnes in that order. A parlay of the top four from that group in that exact order only pays -120.
Betting odds, props and more
(Photo of Jalen Green: Juan Ocampo / NBAE via Getty Images)
Explore the 2021 draft guide
By Sam Vecenie
July 29, 2021 at 1:18 AM +06
Our NBA Draft Guide is back and better than ever, with more breakdowns and deeper dives into prospects than we’ve seen. This year, at over 115,000 words, the hope is that there is a little something for everybody looking to learn about the key players within this 2021 event. And indeed, this draft is worth getting excited about. Check it all out right here.