2021 NBA Redraft: Scottie Barnes vs. Evan Mobley debate continues

The 2021 NBA Draft has yet to produce an All-Star, but that could change very soon.

Including Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes and Franz Wagner, the class has a number of stars in the making. Additionally, the likes of Austin Reaves, Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green and Trey Murphy III could join the conversation depending on how they continue to develop. The same goes for Josh Giddey and Jonathan Kuminga.

Cunningham was the clear No. 1 pick in 2021. Barnes was named the 2021-22 season’s Rookie of the Year. Mobley and Wagner then took big steps forward in 2022-23 while Cunningham was sidelined with injury and Barnes struggled.

With how fluid the top of the draft has been to date, two of our writers — Steph Noh and Scott Rafferty — put on their GM hats and redrafted the lottery. Noh won the very official coin toss for first-pick honors. Noh and Rafferty then alternated picks and made their selections based on who they thought most deserved to go in the spot rather than what the team needed most.

Got it? Great. On to the first pick …

MORE: Victor Wembanyama is showing he is already one of the top defenders in the NBA

There were four legitimate candidates for this No. 1 spot, showing how great this draft is. Ultimately, I went with Mobley because of his two-way ability. 

It took only two years for Mobley to finish third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. He will continue to improve on that end of the floor, and he might be able to sneak in a trophy win before Victor Wembanyama takes it for the next decade.

MORE: Victor Wembanyama is showing he is already one of the top defenders in the NBA

Mobley is a great rim protector who is also mobile enough to guard on the perimeter or close out quickly to jump shooters. He was the glue that helped the Cavs have the best defense in the league in the 2022-23 season. 

Mobley’s offensive game isn’t quite as polished. He had trouble making an impact against the Knicks in the playoffs, for example, and his jump shot hasn’t developed as quickly as Cavs fans might hope. But he’s a solid finisher at the rim and always a threat to dunk it when he gets it inside. He led the league in 2022-23 with 214 of them, per Basketball-Reference

— Steph Noh

Few players have impressed me as much as Barnes has to start the 2023-24 season. Not only has he been an absolute menace on defense, but he’s made a big leap offensively, too.

Unlikely as it is that Barnes will continue to shoot this well all season, his form does look smoother and he is playing with a different level of confidence. There’s reason to believe at least some of the shooting we’ve seen from him so far is sustainable, in which case he becomes a totally different player.

MORE: How sustainable is Scottie Barnes’ hot start?

After a disappointing sophomore season, Barnes is back on track to looking like someone the Raptors could build something around. He’s showing signs of being a nightly triple-double threat and an All-NBA-caliber defender. Even if he doesn’t reach the Defensive Player of the Year heights Mobley does as a defender, Barnes is further along offensively.

— Scott Rafferty

Wagner very well could end up as the best player in this draft. He’s a solid defender with great size, at 6-10, and the versatility to guard multiple positions. He has great feel, which he uses to get steals and deflections. 

Wagner is a very well-rounded offensive player with some star potential. His ball-handling skills and size make him tough to stop on his drives, and he’s a great shot-creator. He’s a capable shooter from 3 and a solid passer, too. His ability to play on or off the ball allows him to fit well in any type of situation. 

— Noh

Redrafting the 2021 NBA Draft: Scottie Barnes vs. Evan Mobley debate continues; Austin Reaves lands in lottery

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