They’re hoping Cade Cunningham can be the person to finally get them back there after making the Oklahoma State star the overall No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
“It’s always crazy to be in the moment,” Cunningham, wearing an all-black suit, shirt and tie, said in an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews after the selection. “Words can’t really explain emotions… everyone is so happy, my family is all there, being able to celebrate this moment with them is a blessing.
” I love that. Detroit, I’m into it. Detroit Pistons, I’m all for it. Let’s do it. “
As expected, the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers took out Jalen Green and Evan Mobley with No. 2 and No. 3 picks, respectively. The Toronto Raptors went for Scottie Barnes at No.4, former Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs switching to Orlando Magic at No.5.
But it all started with Cunningham.
The 6-foot-8 Dallas guard will be asked to try and bring the Pistons back into the Eastern Conference playoff mix. Detroit has made the playoffs three times in the past 12 seasons, but hasn’t won a single playoff game since reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth consecutive time in 2008.
The Pistons are hoping that can finally change after a bit of luck in last month’s NBA Draft Lottery earned them the first overall pick for the first time since 1970. That year, Detroit drafted a future. Hall of Fame in downtown St. Bonaventure, Bob Lanier.
The Pistons will be delighted to achieve the same result this time around, as Cunningham is on a list that includes some impressive players from last year’s draft with forward Saddiq Bey and center Isaiah Stewart, as well as the free agent Jerami Grant, who currently plays for the U.S. team at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, was last year.
The Rockets followed Detroit by picking up the player they’ve been linked to for weeks: Green, the explosive shooter who made history last year as a part of the inaugural G League Ignite squad.
Green averaged 17.9 points and shot 36.5% on a 3-point range for Ignite during the G League bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., Showing the kind of ability which made him a five-star recruit.
Green will now be the centerpiece of Houston’s rebuilding efforts following the abandonment of franchise icon James Harden last season, as he will play alongside the great man Christian Wood with the Rockets under the guidance of the coach Stephen Silas.
That left the Cavaliers with an easy choice at No.3 by taking on USC big man Mobley.
Not only was Mobley a good position for the Cavs – who have taken perimeter players Collin Sexton (No.8), Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro (both No.5) to the lottery in each of the last three NBA Drafts. – but he was also the consensus choice as the top talent remaining on the board.
Mobley topped USC in his only season on campus, winning the Pac-12 – Conference Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year – after an average of 16, 4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.9 blocks in 33 games for the Trojans.
The teams tried to move up to No.3, but the Cavaliers kept the pick and are now hoping Mobley will start spinning the Cavaliers after three ugly years following LeBron James leaving for Los Angeles in 2018.
Some thought the draft really started at No.4, as in the days leading up to it there had been speculation that the Raptors might not take Suggs, who entered the draft season as a consensus selection from the top four after playing in the first year. to Gonzague. And, ultimately, that buzz was correct, as the Raptors took on 6-foot-9 forward Barnes, the last long, athletic and versatile forward to come out of coach Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State program in recent years.
Like last year’s top five, Patrick Williams – who went to the Chicago Bulls at No.4 – Barnes will need to improve his shot after making just 27.5% of his attempts beyond the 3-point arc. in his one season with the Seminoles.
But the 6-foot-9 forward is capable of doing a lot of other things right now and can fit in alongside Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby with the Raptors.
This dropped Suggs surprisingly to the Magic with the fifth overall pick.
Suggs helped lead the Bulldogs in the national championship game – his beating 3-point buzzer beat UCLA in the Final Four – before losing to Baylor in the title game not to become the first team since Indiana in 1976 to go undefeated in an NCAA season.
Still Suggs – who played both football as a quarterback and basketball as a high school playmaker in Minnesota – more than impressed with his two-way ability, making him a unanimous choice among the top five.
Orlando jumped at the chance to add a running general to their roster, where the Magic are hoping Suggs can develop the same rapport with new coach Jamahl Mosley that he has done with Luka Doncic in recent years as attending Dallas.
The Magic also had the No.8 pick and used that to select Michigan forward Franz Wagner, center younger brother Moritz Wagner, who finished the season on the Orlando roster. Unlike his brother, however, Franz is a great wing player who can hold multiple positions, which should allow him to fit in well alongside Jonathan Isaac – assuming he is able to successfully recover from it. the knee injury that knocked him out of all of last season. – in the front area of Orlando as a retooling Magic around him and Suggs.
With the sixth pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder – a team with more first-round players than can be counted over the next few years – took Aussie guard Josh Giddey.
The fifth Australian drafted in the lottery – and the first since Ben Simmons took first overall five years ago – Giddey had three triple doubles in the Australian league last year, where he averaged 10, 9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.9 assists. He gives the Thunder another long, lanky ball handler to play alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Giddey played against Nigeria for the Australian national team earlier this month in Las Vegas and scored 14 points with four rebounds and three assists in that game in the presence of numerous NBA scouts.
The Golden State Warriors then found themselves on the clock for the first of their two lottery picks at No.7, which they used to take second G League player Ignite into the lottery, the forward Jonathan Kuminga.
After a huge start to play in the G League bubble in Orlando, Kuminga was seen as a potential candidate for the top overall selection. But feelings cooled as things progressed, leaving him as an option for Golden State in the middle of the lottery. Still, Kuminga – a great athletic forward, who averaged 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for the Ignite – is a raw talent, but one with quick feet who can hold multiple positions and could be a good pick alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green’s Golden State Big 3.
As Cunningham’s selection officially kicked off the draft, the action began much earlier on Thursday, as in the hours leading up to the launch of the league’s annual draft show, several trades were consumed.
One, however, overshadowed the rest: Former MVP Russell Westbrook moved from the Washington Wizards to his hometown of Los Angeles Lakers for a package starring forward Kyle Kuzma, guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Montrezl Harrell center and pick # 22 in total Thursday night. NBA Draft, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, associating Westbrook with James and Anthony Davis.
Meanwhile, Detroit sent center Mason Plumlee to the Charlotte Hornets, with the No.37 pick overall, for the No.57 pick. The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, paid cash to acquire the No.53 pick. of the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Brooklyn Nets sent goaltender Landry Shamet to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Thursday’s No. 29 draft pick and goalie Jevon. Carter.
And the Cavaliers acquired veteran guard Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Taurean Prince, a 2022 second-round pick and money considerations.