• By Andrew Taylor, Day 1, 2021

2021 MOCK DRAFT – V3.0
Welcome to Mock Draft 3.0. This will be the final edition of the mock draft before the draft commences Friday 10AM Melbourne time. This mock draft takes into account the trades that have occurred this offseason and the ways in which these trades have altered both the draft order and the needs of individual teams.

In this draft we will move slightly away from the best available logic that has previously governed the expansion team selections. Instead we will focus slightly more on position value in attempt to better capture some of the variability that may occur on the day.

1. Toronto Huskies (15-41)
The minute declarations for the draft closed Quavius Williamson became the unbackable favourite to be taken first in the draft. Given the Huskies hole at the PF position it was the perfect match. But Quavius didn’t rest on his laurels and proceeded to lead Syracuse to the CJBL Championship further cementing his claim to be the top selection. He has all the talent in the world but to emerge from the shadow of the legend Jerry Miller nothing less than championships will suffice.


2. Miami Cyclones (16-40)
Gamble battled valiantly to lead the Longhorns to the CJBL Championship game where they finally went down to Syracuse, a more talented team featuring two likely lottery picks. Given that the PG position has never had the same depth of stars as other positions its high likely Gamble could quickly emerge as one of the top 5 PGs in the league. As such, despite Barclay’s strong form last year, we anticipate that he will simply prove too talented to overlook.


3. Oklahoma City Barons (EXP)
The Barons paid a steep price to take possession of the 3rd pick and will be looking for a potential franchise player to build around. Whilst Akele and Bracey are extremely close in the rankings we anticipate that the team will ultimately select OB1 for several reasons. Firstly, SG is a weak position around the league giving Bracey the chance to rapidly climb the ranks at this position whilst Akele will find it more challenging to break into the top tier of SFs. Secondly, Bracey was the biggest climber in the rankings after his exceptional tournament performance, which proved he knows how to elevate his game on the biggest stage. JJ will be hoping that Bracey can elevate his game even further as the foundational player of the Barons.


4. Boston Crusaders (EXP)
The Boston Crusaders have a challenging choice at the 4th position. On one hand they have Uman Akele, the highest ranked available player. Akele led an undermanned team to the Elite 8 in the tournament and is one of the most versatile players in the draft, a true stat-sheet stuffer. On the other hand is Devon Harrell, the 6’5 PG from Kansas. Tall defensively minded PGs are extremely rare and Harrell is no slouch on the offensive end, averaging more than 25ppg in the tournament. Ultimately we anticipate that the Crusaders will select Harrell due to fact that he represents a rarer and more valuable type of player than Akele.


5. Cincinnati Kings (18-38)
The Kings have been busy this offseason as they fully embrace ‘The Process.’ Having traded away both Pace LaGarde and Jamar Strickland in the leadup to the draft they have two clear areas of need. However, having narrowly missed out on Devon Harrell their choice will be much easier. While the team does have young talent at the wing in Turner and Richardson neither have shown themselves to be sure-fire star prospects at this point. As such we anticipate the team will select SF Uman Akele in the hope of replacing team legend Pace LaGarde, who was the last remaining member of the Kings 2014 championship team.


6. Denver Dragons (EXP)
The Denver Dragons choice will likely come down to a group of three players who are all very closely ranked; C Jamaya Sprinkle, Jarvis McSwine and SF/SG Idris Berkley. The Denver Dragons have an additional pick later in the first round, at #21, and we believe the presence of multiple combination forwards like Thybulle and Dozier later in the draft will mean lead them to narrow their choice down to Sprinkle and Berkley. Ultimately, we believe that the team will select Berkley on the assumption that they will desire to take advantage of their unique home court advantage by constructing a high paced team.


7. Phoenix Vultures (23-33)
In order to trade up from pick 11 the Vultures gave up one of the two centers they had under contract for the 2021 season, and the remaining center is very likely to go unprotected. As such it seems highly likely that they will elect to draft their center of the future with this pick. Given it’s a one center draft we anticipate that the Vultures will select C Jamaya Sprinkle.


8. Portland Lumberjacks (EXP)
The Portland Lumberjacks will select third amongst the expansion teams and whilst a combo forward may not be the ideal foundational piece for a new team we anticipate that the team will select PF/SF Jarvis McSwine rather than dropping down into the next tier of players available in the draft pool.


9. Philadelphia Warriors (18-38)
The Warriors will be disappointed to miss out on the chance to draft their center of the future but we anticipate that they will change tack and focus on a SG to replace Akua Frazier, who is likely to go unprotected by the team. As such we anticipate that the team will select UCLA SF/SG Detrez Owens who slid down the final scout rankings despite matching his regular season production in the tournament.


10. Cincinnati Kings (18-38)
Having added a SF with the 5th selection in the draft we anticipate that the Kings will use this selection to draft a PG to replace Jamar Strickland. Focusing on PG would lead the team to a choice between 3 players; combo guards Kendrick Hill and DeAndre Morgan and lower ranked pure PG Zach Lynch. We anticipate that the team will narrow its choice to the two combo guards rather than reaching for Lynch. This will give the team a choice between the more score first Hill and the more passing orientated Morgan. Since Akele is not a go to scorer we believe the team will select Kendrick Hill.


11. Louisville Colonels (EXP)
With their inaugural selection the Colonels will likely look past DeAndre Morgan to select between three wings; Garrett Cue, Deron Bentley and Javion Edwards. Cue is the highest ranked player, while Edwards has the positional flexibility to play both wing positions. However, we ultimately think the team will go with Alabama SG Deron Bentley, who averaged just under a point per minute at the CJBL level and seems to have slid down the rankings largely due to Alabama’s failure to make the tournament.


12. Minneapolis Blizzards (EXP)
With their inaugural selection the Blizzards will likely consider combo guard DeAndre Morgan and Garrett Cue and Javion Edwards at the wing positions. Ultimately we anticipate that the team will lean towards Garrett Cue due to his strong tournament play and because he is the most likely to be able to evolve into a first option player on offense.


13. Kansas City Knights (24-32)
Assuming that the Knights intend to leave veteran PG Curtis Price unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft, as has long been rumoured, we anticipate that they will focus their attention on a long term replacement at PG. Combo Guard DeAndre Morgan will likely receive some consideration at this spot, but I believe that ultimately the team will elect to draft a pure point. As such I believe the team will select PG Zach Lynch who has climbed up the rankings after his CJBL championship.


14. Charlotte Drones (EXP)
The Drones have a choice to make with their first selection and the choice will have a significant impact on the type of team they elect to build from this point on. Combo guard DeAndre Morgan will still be available after sliding several spots below his ranking. Selecting DeAndre Morgan would allow the team to pursue a wide range of styles. Alternatively, the team could select offensively minded USC C Khalen Anthony and build a style that plays to his strengths as an offensive centrepiece. Given the higher value of centers we anticipate the team will ultimately go with Anthony.


15. Atlanta Devils (26-30)
The Devils entered the draft with the goal of adding talent on the wing to help replace Orpheus Swayda. Now nobody is going to confuse Georgetown SF/SG Javion Edwards with the departed hall of famer, but as the best ranked wing left on the board and the ability to play both spots he’ll do well.


16. Pittsburgh Vipers (EXP)
At this position the Pittsburgh will likely given attention to combo guard DeAndre Morgan who is steadily sliding as well as North Carolina combo forward JaMarcus Thybulle. However we ultimately think that DeAndre Morgan represents to much value at this level for the Vipers to pass.


17. Houston Lightning (25-31)
In the last edition of the mock draft we had the Lightning taking North Carolina combo forward JaMarcus Thybulle as insurance against the potential loss of Collinson to expansion and Hayes to FA. Now that they’ve traded SF Derrick Griffin this logic applies even more. As such we stick with our initial projection.


18. Seattle Thunder (40-16)
With RayMac retiring and Carroll entering free agency we still anticipate that the team will draft the best available player capable of playing the 3. With Thybulle off the board at #17 that player is Arizona SF Mitchell Van Bree, who climbed the rankings after Arizona’s run to the Final Four.


19. New Orleans Hurricanes (29-27)
In our last mock draft, we focused on the need for the team to add to its wing rotation which proved it’s Achilles heel in the second half of last season. Since then the team has traded away combo guard Jermaine Wade, reducing their depth their even further. As such we expect the team to draft the best wing available, Kentucky SG JaDante Hicks.


20. New Orleans Hurricanes (29-27)
With their second consecutive selection, acquired from the Predators, the Hurricanes have a choice between drafting an additional wing talent or looking at strengthening their big man rotation with Western Kentucky C/PF Rahmond Thompson. Ultimately I think the team will go with Thompson, who is ranked 10th by the ESPN scouting service.


21. Denver Dragons (EXP)
Having taken Berkley on the wing with their first selection in the draft we anticipate that the Denver Dragons will fully commit to the fast paced style and select dynamic offensively minded PG Evan Coleman from Louisville.


22. Baltimore Bullets (EXP)
With more players present on their roster than any other expansion team heading into the draft the Bullets are a hard team to project. Given their relatively populated roster we ultimately anticipate that they will select Providence PF/SF Randall Dozier who can play alongside Griffin and Sherman at both forward spots.


23. Portland Lumberjacks (EXP)
Given we have projected that the team will select combo forward Jarvis McSwine with their first selection we now project that the team will attempt to fill a different need. As such we think they will likely elect to add the best available talent remaining, Illinois SG Jackson Meyers.


24. Austin Rockets (33-23)
Assuming the Rockets elect to leave Shandon James unprotected the team will have two distinct needs in the draft. However due to the presence of sophomore SF Mejia we believe that PF is the teams most pressing need. As a result we anticipate that the Rockets will select Georgia Tech C/PF Donovan Galloway who plummeted down draft boards following the tournament. At #24 he represents excellent value.


25. Los Angeles Fireballs (34-22)
The Fireballs will be looking for depth at PF or C due to the advanced age of playoff hero Colin Stafford. As such we anticipate that the team will select Duke PF/SF Zach McCray who has jumped up the draft boards post tournament.


26. Nashville Stars (37-19)
The Nashville Stars will be looking to add wing talent behind starters Craig and Peeler. SG will likely take priority with Peeler entering free agency and Draper already in place as Craig’s backup. However the selection of Michigan State’s Jalan Howard would allow the team to meet address both positions.


27. Baltimore Bullets (Via Seattle Thunder, Via Oakland Tritons, 38-18)
The Baltimore Bullets will be the last expansion team to make a selection in the draft due to their trade with the Seattle Thunder. We anticipate that the team will utilize their inaugural selection of CJBL leading scorer SF DaQuan White of Detroit Mercy.


28. Oakland Tritons (Via Las Vegas Scorpions, 39-17)
In the first mock draft we identified the Tritons needs at PG and SF and suggested the team would ultimately select a SF. However with no strong SF candidate at this stage of the draft we anticipate that the team will now address its need at the point with the selection of Mississippi State PG Jack Donlon.


29. Louisville Colonels
Having projected that the team will draft SG Deron Bentley with their first selection we anticipate that the team will draft the best available non-SG talent. As such we anticipate that the team will select Cincinnati center Derrick Aririguzoh and spend the rest of the offseason learning how to spell his name.


30. Chicago Jailbirds (41-15)
With the final selection in the first round the Chicago Jailbirds will likely pursue wing depth behind Cheaney and Carter in an attempt to reduce their workload next year. This would lead to the selection of Virginia SG Dorian McCleary.