The first step into building a championship team, getting a star in the NBA Draft.
2021 NBA Draft Lottery | What Happened
Many of these teams have struggled in recent seasons and were hoping to get a good spot in the 2021 NBA Draft.
14th Overall Pick – Golden State Warriors
No surprise here that the Golden State Warriors get this pick. They did not have the best of seasons this year with Klay Thompson being out for the entirety of the year and Stephen Curry/James Wiseman being injured as well. However, they were still able to make it to the new play-in tournament but eventually lost to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies, bouncing them out of the playoffs for sure and solidifying them as a lottery pick.
13th Overall Pick – Indiana Pacers
It was a very interesting season for the Indiana Pacers this season. TJ Warren was playing like Michael Jordan in the bubble and quickly regressed back to his regular self. Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon were huge late in the season and helped them advance to the play-in tournament where they defeated the Charlotte Hornets but lost to the Washington Wizards
12th Overall Pick – San Antonio Spurs
A disappointing season for the Spurs, as they failed to make it to the playoffs again. This is the first time ever under Greg Popovich that the Spurs did not qualify in back-to-back seasons. Clearly, a rebuild needs to happen and with this 12th overall pick, there is a good chance that they can get a gem in this year’s draft.
11th Overall Pick – Charlotte Hornets
After selecting the Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball with the 3rd overall pick, the Hornets saw immediate improvements with their young core. They were able to make the play-in tournament but were quickly sent home in the first game against the Pacers. It seemed that they were not ready for the big moment and needed more pieces around LaMelo, this is the year to do it.
10th Overall Pick – New Orleans Pelicans
Things are going south in NOLA very, very quickly. Former #1 Overall Pick Zion Williamson has voiced his frustration with the organization and already wants out after just 2 seasons. They have not been playing good basketball at all and that is partly on coaching and players. If they want to keep their superstar happy, they need to draft someone who will help them make a playoff run.
9th Overall Pick – Sacramento Kings
No shade here, but it’s really becoming a tradition to see the Kings in the draft lottery every year. It seems that they just keep regressing every draft and aren’t making any meaningful strides on building a competing team. Tyrese Haliburton was a great pickup for the Kings in the last draft but injuries have kept him off the court at times. It’s do or die for the Kings now, if they continue down this path of failing they will have no choice but to blow up everything and start over.
8th Overall Pick – Orlando Magic
The first of two picks that were protected that went horribly wrong for the other team. The Bulls had a terrible season this year and were really looking forward to getting a top 4 pick. But that just wasn’t the case. The Magic got their hands on this top-4 protected pick when they traded all-star Nikola Vucevic to the Bulls for 2 first-rounders and Wendell Carter/Otto Porter Jr. With this pick the Magic now have two top 10 picks in this year’s draft.
7th Overall Pick – Golden State Warriors
Here’s that last pick that was protected and went the wrong way for the Timberwolves. Their only pick in the first round this year was stolen by the Warriors. They gave this pick up in the Andrew Wiggins and D’Angelo Russell trade in the middle of the 2020 season. The Timberwolves really sold their chances on the top-3 protected pick when they randomly started winning games at the end of the season for absolutely no reason.
6th Overall Pick – Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder might as well be called Oklahoma City Traders with the number of trades and draft picks they have accumulated in the past 3 seasons. It does suck that they had the 4th worst record in the NBA this season and did not get a top-4 pick, but that’s just how the lottery works now. If I’m a Thunder fan I’m not worrying about this draft at all, you still have 2 more first-round picks this draft and a crap ton more in the next 7 years.
5th Overall Pick – Orlando Magic
A bit disappointing for the Magic that they had the highest odds to get the #1 overall pick and fell to the 5th. Nonetheless, with the additional pick from the Bulls that they have, the Magic are in a great position to really restructure their team and create something special in Orlando that the fans have been desperately wanting for years.
4th Overall Pick – Toronto Raptors
I mean wow, what can I say. It has been an absolute whirlpool of events for the Raptors after winning the NBA Finals in 2019. Kawhi Leonard had departed that off-season, the Raptors lost in the 2nd round of the bubble playoffs last year, and now they’re a top 4 draft pick?! Maybe this is good for them, they acquired Gary Trent Jr from the Trailblazers which was a good pickup for them. If they can get another elite scorer I wouldn’t count them out on being playoff contenders again.
3rd Overall Pick – Cleveland Cavaliers
Things were looking bright for the young stars in Cleveland at the beginning of this season, they were beating teams like the Nets and 76ers. Then they realized that they are the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James and went back to being a terrible basketball team. They will probably get a great player with the 3rd overall pick, but won’t amount to any success like they’ve been doing the past 3 years.
2nd Overall Pick – Houston Rockets
Houston we have a problem, you didn’t get Cade Cunningham. But it’s alright, at least you still have the 2nd overall pick, there’s still plenty of good guard talent in this draft. But man does it feel bad to have been so terrible all season long (even with Harden) and lose out on one of the best prospects we’ve seen in a while.
1st Overall Pick – Detroit Pistons
Detroit, you can rejoice. You finally have the #1 overall pick and have the chance to get Cade Cunningham. You guys still suck at basketball though, but maybe you have a chance to sneak in the playoffs since you are in the Eastern Conference. It will be a long and bumpy road for Cade Cunningham and the start of his career, but he will definitely be worth it in the end.