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Early ESPN 2021 NBA mock draft: ASU’s Josh Christopher goes in lottery

In this image provided by Sun Devil Athletics, Arizona State's Josh Christopher works out during NCAA college basketball practice on Nov. 5, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (Katie MacCrory/Sun Devil Athletics via AP)

Arizona State freshman Josh Christopher can begin backing up his draft stock this week when the Sun Devils embark on their 2020-21 campaign. Just so it’s clear, the 5-star guard has high expectations to meet.

An early ESPN mock for the 2021 NBA Draft has Christopher as a solid lottery prospect. Draft analyst Jonathan Givony has Christopher going 11th overall to the Orlando Magic.

That’s high praise for Christopher considering the talent in the 2021 class.

Givony calls it “a banner crop with star power that significantly exceeds that of the 2020 class.”

Christopher is the third-highest rated Pac-12 prospect in the 2021 group. He’s drafted in ESPN’s mock behind USC freshman center Evan Mobley, who is fourth off the board, and Stanford wing Ziaire Williams, who goes fifth.

For now, the top two players on the board are Oklahoma State freshman guard Cade Cunningham and guard Jalen Green, the latter of whom will play for the new G League Ignite team that is filled with developmental prospects.

The G League Ignite squad has three lottery prospects on its roster: Green, forward Jonathan Kuminga (ninth) and guard Daishen Nix (13th).

ESPN’s mock draft order is predicted based on the website’s last power rankings from October, which obviously don’t reflect NBA rosters following the 2020 draft and free agency.

For example, Christopher going 11th would put him in range of heading to the Phoenix Suns, who Givony’s mock has selecting 12th, but the lottery seems less likely for Phoenix since the trade for point guard Chris Paul and free agent additions that have fortified the bench.

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