The Eastern Conference has been without the Detroit Pistons for a while.
After making Cade Cunningham the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's 2021 NBA draft, they hope Cade Cunningham will be the player that brings them back to prominence.
Cunningham said that it was still insane to be at the moment. He was wearing an all-black suit, shirt, and tie in an interview with Malika Andrews, ESPN's Malika Andrews, after the selection was made. "Words cannot really describe the emotions... everyone is so happy, and my family is all there. It's a blessing to be able celebrate this moment together.
It's my favorite place. Detroit, I'm all in. Detroit Pistons, you're all the way in. Let's do it."
The Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers picked Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and took picks No. 2, and 3, respectively. Scottie Barnes was the Toronto Raptors' choice for No. 4. Jalen Suggs, a former Gonzaga star, was promoted to the Orlando Magic at No. 5. Two lottery picks were made by the Golden State Warriors and they used them to buy Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody.
Cunningham was the first to realize this.
The Dallas guard, at 6'8", will be asked to help the Pistons get back in the Eastern Conference playoff mix. Detroit has reached the playoffs three times in the last 12 seasons, but they haven't won one playoff game since 2008 when they reached the East finals for the sixth consecutive time.
After some luck in the NBA draft lottery, the Pistons were able to land the number one overall pick for the first-time since 1970, they will be hoping that this can change. In that year, Detroit drafted Bob Lanier from St. Bonaventure center to be a future Hall of Famer.
The Pistons will be delighted to achieve the same result this year, as Cunningham joins a roster that includes Saddiq Beny, center Isaiah Stewart and last year's free agent signing Jerami Grant who will be playing for Team USA at the Summer Olympics.
Detroit was followed by the Rockets, who took Green, the explosive shooting guard who made historical records last year as part of the G League Ignite team.
Green scored 17.9 points per game and shot 36.5% from 3-point range during the G League bubble in Orlando, Florida. This is the kind of talent that earned him the five-star rank.
Houston's rebuilding efforts after the departure of franchise icon James Harden will now be led by Green. He'll play alongside Christian Wood, the Rockets' coach.
Star in the Making? ESPN Analytics reports that Cunningham's chances of reaching All-Star status in his first four seasons are 58%. This is the sixth-highest percentage among draft selections since 2010. Here's a look at his competition: Year Player Pct. 2019 Zion Williamson* 72% (2012) Anthony Davis* 67% 2011 Kyrie Irwin* 63% 2013 Michael CarterWilliams62% 2015 Karl-Anthony Towns* 58% 2020 Cade Cunningham 58%
The Cavaliers had an easy choice for No. 3. In taking USC big man Mobley.
Mobley was a great positional player for the Cavs. They also took perimeter players Collin Sexton (No. 8), Darius Garland, and Isaac Okoro (both at No. 8), Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro (both No.
Mobley was dominant at USC during his one-season on campus. He won the Pac-12's major awards, including conference player of year, freshman player of year and defensive player. Mobley had an average of 16.4 points, 8.7 rebound, 2.4 assists, and 2.9 blocks in 33 games with the Trojans.
The teams tried to trade up until No. 3 but the Cavaliers retained the pick. They now hope Mobley can turn the Cavaliers around following three terrible years after LeBron James' departure for Los Angeles in 2018.
Some believed the draft started at No. 4 because there was speculation that the Raptors might not select Suggs in the days before the draft. That buzz proved to be true as the Raptors took Barnes, a 6-foot-9 forward, from Leonard Hamilton's Florida State program. Barnes is the most versatile and long-lasting forward to have come out of Hamilton's Florida State program in recent times.
Patrick Williams, last year's top five pick from FSU -- who was ranked No. 5 in the nation -- will need to improve his shooting. 4. Barnes will need to improve his shooting, having missed 27.5% of his 3-point attempts in his Seminole season.
The 6-foot-9 forward can do many other things and will be able to join Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam with the Raptors.
Suggs was able to surprise everyone by falling to the Magic for the fifth overall selection.
Suggs led the Bulldogs to the national championship -- his buzzer beating 3-pointer beat UCLA in UCLA's Final Four -- before losing to Baylor in title game. This was just short of making them the first NCAA team to win consecutive seasons since 1976, when Indiana was defeated.
Suggs, who was also the star quarterback at his high school in Minnesota, impressed everyone with his two-way abilities, and was voted top five.
Orlando jumped at the opportunity to add a floor general, and the Magic hopes that Suggs can establish the same relationship with Jamahl Mosley as he did with Luka Docic in Dallas the past few years.
The Magic also had No. The Magic also had the No. 8 pick, and used it for Michigan forward Franz Wagner. He was the younger brother to center Moritz Wagner. Franz, unlike his brother, is a strong wing player who can defend multiple positions. This should allow him to play nicely alongside Jonathan Isaac in Orlando's frontcourt, assuming he's able recover from the knee injury which forced him out of the entire last season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that has more first-rounders than anyone can count over the next few years, selected the sixth pick and took Australian guard Josh Giddey.
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Giddey was the fifth Australian to be drafted into the lottery, and the first since Ben Simmons, who went first overall five-years ago. He had three triple-doubles last year in Australia, where he averaged 10.9 point, 7.3 rebounds, and 7.9 assists. The Thunder now have another tall, lean ball handler in Giddey to go along with Shai Gilgeous Alexander. Giddey teamed up with the Australian team to play against Nigeria earlier in the month in Las Vegas. He scored 14 points, had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and was accompanied by many NBA scouts.
In the draft, the Thunder had two additional picks in the first round -- 16th overall and 18th overall. The first pick, which was given for taking Kemba Walker from Boston Celtics earlier in the offseason, was turned into future first-round picks. One each from the Washington Wizards or Pistons was traded to the Rockets. Houston drafted Alperen Sengun, a Turkish big man, to go with Green. Oklahoma City took Florida's guard Tre Mann and kept the 18th pick.
The Warriors were then on the clock to get the No. 1 lottery pick. 7 to allow the second G LeagueIgnite player to enter the Kuminga lottery.
The forward was considered a candidate for the top overall pick after a strong start in Orlando's G League bubble. However, his feelings began to change and he was now considered a possibility for Golden State at the middle of the lottery. Kuminga, a forward of great size who averaged 15.8 and 7.2 points per game for Ignite, is still a raw talent. However, he has quick feet and can play multiple positions. He could be a good fit with Golden State's Big Three, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond green.
Golden State made its second lottery selection on Moody. He is an Arkansas guard and was one of the youngest in the draft. Like Kuminga he has defensive skills and could be the ideal 3-and-D wing for Golden State's stars.
The Sacramento Kings drafted a lottery guard last year who immediately came in and made an impact at Tyrese Halibrton. The Kings have another guard they hope will make a similar impact, Davion Mitchell at No. 9.
Mitchell led Baylor to its first National Championship, and now Mitchell hopes to turn the tide for Sacramento, which is entering this year with the longest playoff drought (15-years).
The Memphis Grizzlies traded Jonas Valanciunas to the New Orleans Pelicans and the 17th pick to get the 10th pick. In return, they took on the salaries of Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe and a future first round selection. Memphis was able to draft forward Ziaire Williams from Stanford as a reward for their efforts.
After a difficult freshman season at Stanford, Williams was among the most likely to be selected in Thursday's draft. He was a highly rated college recruit, and Memphis is betting his talent will lead to him being part of an exciting young core with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant.
Cunningham's selection officially started the draft. However, the action began earlier than that on Thursday as several trades took place in the hours before the league's annual selection shows got underway.
The one that stood out was Russell Westbrook, former MVP, who moved from the Washington Wizards back to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. He signed a package with forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Kentavious Caldwell–Pope, and Montrezl Harrell, center, and the No. Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Westbrook was paired with James and Anthony Davis as the 22nd overall pick in Thursday’s draft.
Detroit also shipped center Mason Plumlee, along with the No. 37 overall pick for the No. 57 pick. Wojnarowski reported that the Hornets traded a future first rounder to the Knicks in exchange for the 19th pick. This was used by Texas' Kai Jones.
The No. 1 pick was purchased by the Philadelphia 76ers for cash. 53 selection from New Orleans Pelicans. The Brooklyn Nets traded for the No. 29th pick and guard Jevon Carter in Thursday's draft.
The Cavaliers also acquired Ricky Rubio, the veteran guard of the Minnesota Timberwolves, in exchange for forward Taurean prince, a 2022 second round pick and cash considerations.