The 2021 NBA draft will take place Thursday, July 29 with the Detroit Pistons holding the No. 1 pick. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic round out the top five selections.
We take a look at some of the prospects available in this draft, gauge their strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparisons and best landing spot within the player’s projected draft range. Here’s a breakdown for Auburn guard Sharife Cooper.
Cooper is a great passer who can set up teammates well. He averaged 8.1 assists per game as a freshman and should be a great passing guard at the next level. He’s also a skilled scorer attacking the basket with a great array of finishing moves. Cooper shot 46.5 percent on twos.
He is not a three-point shooter, although his free throw percentage shows he may be better than bad. Cooper’s biggest issue is defense. His frame isn’t a concern yet, but he’ll struggle with bigger players at first. If Cooper can improve on that end of the floor, he’ll be a good contributor. He also took a lot of chances at the college level, resulting in a lot of turnovers.
Cooper reminds me a lot of John Wall, although the latter was substantially better as a defender entering the league. Cooper has the same ability to attack the basket and is good at getting others involved, but has the same turnover issues that plagued Wall for much of his career.
Best Landing Spot
Because he’s young, Cooper’s development curve and offensive skillset put his draft range somewhere in the late teens to early 20s. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks could all be good fits for Cooper. The Hawks offer the most immediate path to contention, but Cooper could also do well as a lead guard with New York’s frontcourt talent.