Wizards

Top 5 guards in the 2021 NBA Draft

Wizards
Cade Cunningham

Arguably the deepest position group in the 2021 NBA Draft is at guard where there are various first-round caliber prospects up and down the draft board. 

There are potential top-five picks, lottery hopefuls and a number of late first-round candidates as well. There's a good chance you see a lot of guards get taken on draft night. Here are the best of them. 

1. Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State)

Age: 19

Height: 6-8

Weight: 220

Wingspan: 7-0

2020/21 stats: 27 G, 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.8 bpg, 43.8 FG% (6.5/14.8), 40.0 3PT% (2.3/5.7), 84.6 FT%

Cunningham has the size of a wing but the skills of a guard and his NBA role will likely include some primary playmaking and scoring in some form. He's the best prospect in the entire draft and whoever takes him *cough-cough, Pistons* will have a franchise cornerstone on their hands who looks to be in line for several All-Star appearances. 

2. Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga)

Age: 20

Height: 6-4

Weight: 205

Wingspan: 6-5

2020/21 stats: 30 G, 14.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.3 bpg, 50.3 FG% (5.2/10.3), 33.7 3PT% (1.2/3.5), 75.4 FT%

Jalen Suggs is the best true point guard in the class. He's a pass-first floor general that has a perfect blend of unselfishness and the killer instinct to take over games when needed. At Gonzaga, he was the best player on one of the top two teams in the country. 

 

Suggs is a consensus top-five prospect and is expected to go anywhere after Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley get selected.  

3. James Bouknight (UConn)

Age: 20

Height: 6-5

Weight: 190

Wingspan: 6-8

2020/21 stats: 15 G, 18.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.3 bpg, 44.7 FG% (6.5/14.6), 29.3 3PT% (1.5/4.0), 77.8 FT%

Bouknight is one of the late risers in the draft process and his potential to become a go-to scorer and secondary playmaker has had a lot to do with it. He's an explosive athlete, has a clean shooting stroke despite his low 3-point percentage and has had a few flashes as a passer to make you think he has a chance to become a more dynamic version of Jordan Clarkson. 

Defense and overall consistency are legitimate question marks surrounding Bouknight's game, but he does a lot of things you can't really teach. 

4. Davion Mitchell (Baylor)

Age: 22

Height: 6-1

Weight: 202

Wingspan: 6-4

2020/21 stats: 30 G, 11.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.4 bpg, 51.1 FG% (5.3/10.3), 44.7 3PT% (2.1/4.7), 64.1 FT%

Mitchell helped his stock immensely during his junior season at Baylor, where he helped lead the Bears to a championship over Suggs' Gonzaga Bulldogs. His perimeter defense and leadership skills are well documented, but his leap as a scorer propelled him into the lottery conversation before the end of his final college season. 

He'll have to prove his 3-point explosion last season was more of the rule rather than the exception, as his past free-throw and 3-point percentages don't exactly suggest he's a good shooter. If he is regressing behind the arc in the NBA, it'll be tough for a player his size to be an effective offensive player. 

5. Josh Giddey (Australia)

Age: 18

Height: 6-8

Weight: 205

Wingspan: 6-8

2020/21 stats: 28 G, 10.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 7.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.5 bpg, 42.7 FG% (4.1/9.5), 29.3 3PT% (1.0/3.5), 69.1 FT%

There isn't another guard in this draft like Giddey who has great size and a feel for the game as a primary ball-handler. Also, despite some limitations athletically, he understands angles and plays at his own pace to help generate decent shots in isolation. 

Still, Giddey is going to have to improve his jumper and answer some questions as a one-on-one defender to become a quality starter in the NBA. At the very least, however, the team that drafts Giddey is getting a smart basketball player with a ton of upside and time to develop at just 18 years old. 

Just missed the cut

Tre Mann (Florida)

Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois)

Cameron Thomas (LSU)