NBA mock draft: Loaded No. 1 pick race, new top 60

With LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards off to the NBA, teams can fully shift their attention to next year’s highly touted prospects, which is widely expected to be a banner crop with star power that significantly exceeds that of the 2020 class.

We’ve been studying this group closely for the better parts of two years, attending numerous FIBA tournaments, USA basketball camps, AAU and high school events and breaking down hundreds of hours of film while quarantining over the spring and summer. That was a necessity after losing several important scouting evaluation platforms due to the pandemic that traditionally help decipher how NBA teams build their early draft boards.

This will be an unprecedented stretch in many ways, with plenty of questions already bubbling about the fate of the college and European seasons. Working from home will continue to be the norm for most scouts, leading executives to mostly rely on film and background checks from trusted contacts as the primary means of talent evaluation. There’s a sense of urgency after last season was abruptly canceled, as no one quite knows how many real games prospects will be able to play.

The 2021 draft appears to be tentatively on track for late July, though a lot needs to happen between now and then. For now, here’s our new mock draft featuring the top 60 prospects in this upcoming class, plus the big things to watch with the college basketball season about to tip off.

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