Five takeaways from the NBA Draft lottery

NBA Draft lottery 2021
The NBA Draft lottery 2021 took place on Tuesday June, 22nd. Photo from The Athletic.

The NBA Draft lottery 2021 took place on Tuesday night. It was another lottery of surprises, with the Toronto Raptors moving into the top four, and the Cleveland Cavaliers jumping up to three.

NBA Draft lottery 2021: Reaction

Detroit was the real winners, though. The Pistons landed the first overall pick for the first time since 1970. They have picked in the top three on nine previous occasions with mixed fortunes. In 2021, they will add Cade Cunningham, the consensus first overall pick.

Houston kept their pick by landing in the two spot. Despite a 14% chance at the top pick, the Orlando Magic slipped to fifth. What could have been a franchise-altering night for the Thunder ended in disappointment with Oklahoma City landing sixth.

NBA Draft 2021 order

1. Detroit Pistons
2. Houston Rockets
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Toronto Raptors
5. Orlando Magic
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Golden State Warriors (via Minnesota Timberwolves)
8. Orlando Magic (via Chicago Bulls)
9. Sacramento Kings
10. New Orleans Pelicans
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. San Antonio Spurs
13. Indiana Pacers
14. Golden State Warriors

There could yet be plenty of draft picks traded. This draft order could change a lot before the picks are made.

It’s still worth diving into how the NBA Draft lottery 2021 will impact the league – here are our five biggest takeaways…

Pistons have hope

It’s been a bleak few years for Detroit basketball. The Blake Griffin trade brought minor short-term reward, but injuries derailed that hope. Killian Hayes had health issues in his rookie year. Andre Drummond was traded for next to nothing.

They were/are in the deepest of rebuilds. If a team needed lottery luck, it was the Pistons. Cunningham is the sort of talent who could turn the franchise round, potentially accelerating this rebuild.


There’s no question Detroit will make this pick. They had some draft success last year with Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. Hayes showed flashes on his return from injury.

This is the beauty of the draft – a franchise which looked destined for years in the NBA wilderness is suddenly under the spotlight in 2021/22.

Warriors know their standing

Late-season wins for the Timberwolves harmed their lottery odds. Minnesota ended up seventh in Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery 2021, meaning the Golden State Warriors will own their pick. Golden State has the seventh and 14th selections in this year’s draft.

It was far from an ideal outcome for Bob Myers and co. Minnesota’s pick could have been higher and still ended up in their hands. This draft was significant in the NBA trade rumor mill as much as it is for the Warriors to pick up more young talent – what can they acquire with these two picks?

Golden State could look to trade up. They could target Keon Johnson or Davion Mitchell, two players who bring skillsets they need. The Warriors are in a fascinating spot once again.

Watch out for Toronto

Dreams of Cade Cunningham were not realized, but this was still a successful night for the Raptors. Kyle Lowry’s future is up in the air. Toronto still have a competitive core, though, in Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.

Another ball handler would be nice, and the Raps will be eyeing up a pair of Jalens. Green and Suggs are different talents, though both are projected to go in the top four of this summer’s draft.

The Raptors are a team to watch next season. Don’t expect a blockbuster trade, but the talent of Green or Suggs will elevate them back into Eastern Conference contention.

Rockets have options

Most mock drafts tab Evan Mobley as the second-best prospect. There’s good reason for this, too, with his versatile skillset and potential to be a two-way star.

Rebuilding teams should draft the best player available. If that’s Mobley, then that’s great. Christian Wood, who was signed on a bargain contract last offseason, might make their decision a bit trickier. Wood and Mobley can play together, but would that be best for either of them?

Teams will jump at the chance to trade for Wood if he’s made available. Perhaps that’s an ideal avenue for the Rockets as they look to stock up on more draft picks.

A trade down seems unlikely, but if a team like Sacramento or Charlotte really loves Mobley, Houston could be tempted if they can acquire a future first.

Presti on the move

Sam Presti just acquired yet another pick in the Kemba Walker trade. The Thunder have an outrageous number of assets. The NBA Draft lottery 2021 didn’t work out in their favor, but Presti can move into the top three if he wants.

With so many picks already owed, maybe something can be worked out with the Rockets. There’s a case for the Cavaliers to trade down from three – Cleveland doesn’t need either of the guards who are likely to go at that spot.

OKC has endless opportunity to make moves. Presti has already used this to his advantage.

With Kemba Walker, Lu Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Evan Mobley would be a perfect fit. The Thunder cannot use all of their picks in the coming years – is this the year Presti makes a home run swing?

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About Sam Cox 684 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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