3 biggest steals of the 2021 NBA Draft

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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NBA Draft
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

These three players could be the biggest steals of the 2021 NBA Draft.

The 2021 NBA Draft is already in the rearview mirror, but after a crazy draft day filled with trades, unexpected picks and quite a few steals, we’d be remiss if we failed to take a quick look back at Thursday’s selections and identify a few of them that really stood out as high-value picks.

Every year, talented prospects slide further down the pecking order than they should, and every year, smart teams jump on those players who will later reveal themselves as NBA Draft steals.

Here are the three most obvious candidates to become draft steals down the line.

3. Jalen Suggs

Jalen Suggs was probably never going to be selected before the consensus top-three picks of Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley, but it was a conversation, and when the Toronto Raptors shocked the world with Scottie Barnes at pick No. 4, Suggs immediately became a steal for whatever team jumped on him.

He didn’t have to wait long, as the Orlando Magic hopped on him with the fifth overall selection. “Sliding” to the No. 5 pick may not seem like much of a steal, but Suggs already has more upside than any of the guards currently in Orlando’s backcourt — and that’s not a slight to Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony or R.J. Hampton; that’s just how good this Gonzaga product projects to be.

The Magic haven’t had a perimeter star like this in over a decade, and his elite playmaking, vision, basketball I.Q. and defense will lend themselves well to a young core that’s going to be stingy on the defensive side of the floor between Suggs, Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and fellow rookie Franz Wagner. Years later, teams will look back on the 2021 NBA Draft and wonder how Suggs fell to even No. 5.