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NBA Draft Lottery Order Set

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jun/23/2021

Tuesday night the NBA held its annual Draft Lottery, awarding the Detroit Pistons the top pick in the draft for the first time since 1970. The Pistons have been in the lottery in 14 previous seasons, but this is their first-ever win. Detroit, along with Houston and Orlando, had the best odds of winning the lottery at 14%.

The Houston Rockets will be picking No. 2 overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers improved their place and got the No. 3 pick, and the Toronto Raptors moved up to No. 4. The Orlando Magic, with a chance to get the top pick, dropped all the way to No. 5. Although with Chicago’s first round pick in their possession because of the Nikola Vucevic trade in March, the Magic also have the No. 8 pick. 

2021 Draft Lottery Order 

1. Detroit Pistons 

2. Houston Rockets 

3. Cleveland Cavaliers 

4. Toronto Raptors 

5. Orlando Magic 

6. Oklahoma City Thunder 

7. Golden State Warriors (from Minnesota) 

8. Orlando Magic (from Chicago) 

9. Sacramento Kings 

10. New Orleans Pelicans 

11. Charlotte Hornets 

12. San Antonio Spurs 

13. Indiana Pacers 

14. Golden State Warriors 

Pistons History Picking High 

When Detroit picks near the top of the draft they typically do quite well. When they last had the top pick in the draft in 1970, after winning a coin flip over the San Diego Rockets, the Pistons selected Bob Lanier from St. Bonaventure. The eight-time All-Star is now in the Hall of Fame; his #16 jersey retired by both the Pistons and Bucks.

In 1994 the Pistons had the third overall pick in the draft, and used it on Duke’s Grant Hill. He was a seven-time All-Star and has the distinction of beating out Michael Jordan for most All-Star votes for the 1996 game. He also won an Olympic gold medal that year.

In 2003 the Pistons had the No. 2 overall pick and they had their one big swing-and-a-miss. Darko Milicic was the selection, one pick after LeBron James, but before players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade. Milicic was the youngest player to ever win an NBA Championship in 2004, still four days short of his 19th birthday, but overall he finished his career as a second-pick bust. 

Best Available Players 

Looking ahead to the draft on July 29th, most experts agree that there are four franchise-changing players available. 

Cade Cunningham - Point Guard, Oklahoma State 

Cade Cunningham is a 6-foot-8 point guard from Oklahoma State and appears to be the most likely pick of the Pistons. Cunningham seems to think so too since his only pre-draft visit will be with Detroit. He was the Big 12’s Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and should be an instant impact starter in the NBA. 

Jalen Green - Guard, G League Ignite 

Jalen Green was right alongside Cunnigham being recruited out of high school, and Green himself has said that if he had gone on to college (Memphis and Auburn were his final two choices) he would be going No. 1 overall. Instead, he’ll be in the mix for No. 2 after a great season in the G League, in which he finished with a dominant 30-point, seven-assist performance.

He’s a 6-foot-6 franchise-changing player that would team nicely with Kevin Porter, Jr. in the Rockets backcourt. 

Jalen Suggs - Point Guard, Gonzaga 

Where the Gonzaga star ends up is still unclear. He could go to Cleveland at No. 3, or Toronto at No. 4. But he definitely isn’t getting past the both of them. Jalen Suggs is an elite scorer, as evidenced by his 50% shooting from the floor in his freshman season at Gonzaga, and the 22 points he scored in the National Championship Game.

Suggs also plays great on-ball defense. 

Evan Mobley - Center, USC 

A strong case can also be made for Even Mobley at No. 3 or No. 4. The Cavs do have good young talent in their backcourt, so instead of going with Suggs, they might choose the best big man in the draft. The seven-footer played one season at USC and led the Trojans in both points and rebounds, and led them back into the NCAA Tournament and into the regional finals.

Mobley is great around the rim but also has shown soft touch when shooting on the perimeter.

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