Top 5 players from 2021 draft class in NBA 2023-24 season

Alperen Sengun, Jalen green, Evan mobley, Scottie Barnes (L-R)
Alperen Sengun, Jalen green, Evan mobley, Scottie Barnes (L-R)

Perhaps this is the season that the 2021 draft will show why it was one of the best in a long time. The top selections have already done justice to the teams that selected them. Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, and Scottie Barnes have become key components of their teams.

However, there have also been some pleasant surprises from the draft class. Alperen Sengun, who was selected 16th, is making waves, drawing comparisons with Nikola Jokic.

Based on their ratings, here is the list of the top five players from the 2021 draft class.

Top five players from 2021 draft class in NBA 2023-24 season

#5, Franz Wagner: Rating 15.60

Franz Wagner was selected eighth in the 2021 draft, and he has been nothing less than sensational for the Orlando Magic. It wouldn’t be hard to say that if he didn’t play alongside Paolo Benchero, he would perhaps be spearheading the offense and be the No. 1 long-term option for any team.

At 6-foot-9, Wagner can play either forward position, but that would still be an injustice to his versatility as a player. Despite having the height of a forward, Wagner plays much like a guard. He can create off the bounce and shoot from outside like a guard.

Wagner is averaging 18.9 points per game while recording 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 16 games this season. Although there has been a big dip in his shooting percentage, both from the field and beyond the 3-point line, there is no reason to believe that it will continue throughout the season.

#4, Jalen Green: Rating 15.71

Last season, Jalen Green was the best player on the Houston Rockets. In the 2021 draft, he was picked second by the Rockets, and he didn’t disappoint them to any degree. In his sophomore year, Green averaged 22.1 ppg and took 6.1 free throws per game, which shows his ability to score on his own.

He is shifty, athletic and has an elite scoring ability. Green is just 21 years old, and he has a lot of years left in his career to become an elite force. Pair him with an elite player, and he can change the face of the franchise.

Under Ime Udoka, Green is not only learning to be more efficient but also fulfilling the defensive responsibilities that he missed before. This season he is averaging 19.6 ppg, which is lower than his 22.1 ppg of last season. However, his shooting percentage has substantially increased. It is not going to take long when he takes another leap under Udoka.

#3, Evan Mobley: Rating 16.89

Evan Mobley was selected third by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2021 draft, and he has grown to become a silent star on the roster for J.B. Bickerstaff. His field-goal percentage has increased every season he has played, and his defense has always been solid.

Mobley has the elite ability to content-shot from midrange and 3-point range. He has the length and the agility to defend the paint and extend towards the perimeter area.

This season, Mobley is averaging 16.6 ppg, which is a 0.4 increase from last season, even though his minutes have decreased. He is also averaging 10.2 rpg, an increase from 9.0 last season. If he continues to elevate his game at this level, the sky is the limit for the 22-year-old.

#2, Scottie Barnes: Rating 19.27

In his third season, Scottie Barnes has become the head of the Toronto Raptors’ offense. Selected fourth in his draft class, Barnes won the Rookie of the Year, and that was enough for the Raptors to give him the key. It's just his bad luck that he is playing on a middling team.

Barnes is averaging 19.2 ppg this season, which is far better than his last season average (15.3). He has taken his game to another level with his ability to impact on both ends of the floor. He is averaging 1.3 bpg, and his steals have also increased. He is not only protecting the rim but also doing a great job at on-ball defense.

Barnes has all the ability to become a dominant player with both defense and offense in his arsenal. If he continues to grow in his career at this pace, his All-Star selection is undeniable.

#1, Alperen Sengum: Rating 20.19

Who would have thought Alperen Sengun would be on the top of the list from the 2021 draft? In all honesty, it wouldn’t be too early to compare Sengun to Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic. The Turkish player is the biggest great news for the Houston Rockets this season.

From starting his rookie season with 9.6 ppg, improving to 14.8 in the 2022-23 season and now averaging 20.2, he is the gem that the Rockets were looking for.

In a win against the Sacramento Kings this season, Sengun equaled the great Hakeem Olajuwon for the most assists by a center (12) in a game in Rockets’ history.

Since being drafted 16th in the 2021 draft, the 21-year-old has only improved in every single category. He has been perhaps the biggest factor in improving the Rockets’ season. The Rockets, who were 14th in the West last season, are eighth in the West with an impressive 8-6 record.

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