The Detroit Pistons secured the top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft when they won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday evening. The Pistons edged out the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavs, and Toronto Raptors in the Cade Cunningham sweepstakes.

NBA Draft Lottery 2021 Detroit Pistons
The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery is complete with the Detroit Pistons getting awarded the overall #1 pick next month. (Image: NBA)

Cunningham, a shooting guard from Oklahoma State, is projected as the #1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Evan Mobley (USC), Jalen Green (G League), and Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga) are also projected to get picked in the top five.

The only time the Pistons ever had the #1 pick in the NBA Draft occurred in 1970 when they drafted Bob Lanier, who went on to have a Hall of Fame career.

2021 NBA Draft Lottery Results
Team Record Trade Notes
#1 Detroit Pistons 20-52
#2 Houston Rockets 17-55
#3 Cleveland Cavs 22-50
#4 Toronto Raptors 27-45
#5 Orlando Magic 21-51
#6 Oklahoma City 22-50
#7 Golden State Warriors 39-33 via Minnesota
#8 Orlando Magic 21-51 via Chicago
#9 Sacramento Kings 31-41
#10 New Orleans Pelicans 31-41
#11 Charlotte Hornets 33-39
#12 San Antonio Spurs 33-39
#13 Indiana Pacers 34-38
#14 Golden State Warriors 39-33

The Pistons finished the season with a 20-52 record. They cleaned house shortly before the All-Star Break by trading Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks. They also bought out the contract of Blake Griffin. The Pistons drafted a trio of players in 2020, including Killian Hayes with the seventh overall pick, Isaiah Stewart at #16, and Saddiq Bey at #19.

The 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled for July 29.

Rockets get #2

The Houston Rockets finished the season with the worst record in the NBA. They parted ways with James Harden shortly after the season began when he went to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team trade. The Rockets acquired Victor Oladipo, one of the main components in the Harden trade, but then turned around and traded him to the Miami Heat.

Christian Wood had the inside track to winning Most Improved Player, but a sprained ankle injury derailed his season. Without Wood, the Rockets went on a dismal 20-game losing streak. They set a franchise record, but fell just short of the NBA record for most consecutive losses.

Cavs back in the lottery … again

The Cavs have been a hot mess ever since LeBron James ditched them for a second time. They were awarded the #5 pick in the draft for the past two seasons, selecting Darius Garland in 2019 and Isaac Okoro in 2020.

The Cavs have the #4 pick and are looking to finally put together a team that can make the playoffs every season instead of being the doormat to the Eastern Conference.

Magic sink to #5, still have double picks

The bad news for the Magic is that they slipped to #5 in the draft. The good news is that they have two picks in the top eight overall.

The Magic have the opportunity to rebuild from the draft and replenish a roster that lost veterans Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Evan Fournier at the trade deadline. The Magic could come up with a creative way to package the dual pick and trade up in the draft, or they could even trade down.

Golden State Warriors with #7 and #14

The Golden State Warriors stunk it up this past season without Klay Thompson. On the positive side, Steph Curry won a scoring title with a couple of record-setting nights as the lone member of the Splash Brothers in the lineup. The upside to a crappy season resulted in a better spot in the draft. They were awarded #14 overall, but missed the postseason after losing in the play-in tournament.

The Warriors added the #7 pick in the draft, which they acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a trade for D’Angelo Russell. The Warriors will use the picks to add depth on the front line to go along with Draymond Green and last year’s first-round pick, James Wiseman.