Drafting in the NBA is a crapshoot. Even the best drafting teams have their misses or picks that simply don’t work out. Evaluating a draft pick in hindsight can be unfair and too easy. However, it’s still a useful exercise to see who the best players in a draft class are and which teams made the right decisions. Because nailing or missing on a draft pick can change the fate of a franchise dramatically. Doing a re-draft of each pick provides us with an alternate universe of “what ifs”.
The Washington Wizards had the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, which they used to select Corey Kispert out of Gonzaga. Kispert has been a solid rotation player for the Wizards for the past 2.5 seasons. But would the Wizards still have made that choice knowing what they know now? Let’s explore.
1. Detroit Pistons – Evan Mobley
There are plenty of options here but Evan Mobley probably has the highest floor of any prospect in this class. At the bare minimum, he is going to be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate every season for the next ten to fifteen years. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but having a defensive anchor like Mobley would have done wonders for the Pistons.
2. Houston Rockets – Alperen Sengun
Houston ended up with Sengun by trading for the 16th pick of the actual draft. If they were to do the draft all over again, they would probably select the Turkish sensation here instead of Jalen Green. Sengun has the upside to be one of the best centers in the NBA for a long time, with an extremely intriguing skill set of post scoring and passing.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – Scottie Barnes
Size, athleticism, defense, and playmaking. Scottie Barnes provides everything. He is the best all-around player left on the board and fills an immediate need for the Cavaliers.
4. Toronto Raptors – Franz Wagner
Another all-around wing who can do it all. A player who can do it all and play multiple positions, Franz Wagner has the potential to be a multiple-time All-Star.
5. Orlando Magic – Cade Cunningham
The complete mess that is the Detroit Pistons has taken some shine off Cade Cunningham, but he still has plenty of potential. If fully actualized, Cunningham has the ability to shoot, pass, score, and defend at a high level.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder – Austin Reaves
Austin Reaves shockingly went undrafted in the actual draft. In a re-draft, he fits in perfectly in Oklahoma City as a perfect complementary player next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
7. Golden State Warriors – Trey Murphy III
Another perfect fit. A prototypical 3-and-D wing with good size is exactly what the Warriors need as they enter a new era.