The first big event of the offseason is always the NBA Draft as teams across the league make major decisions that will shape the future of their franchise. But before that can happen, the NBA Draft Lottery must take place to determine the order of the first 14 teams, and this year, it was the Detroit Pistons who found themselves with the first overall pick.
Unlike other years, the top two picks did come down to the two teams with the worst record in the league, both of whom had equal 14% chances of landing the top pick. But it was the Pistons ending up at No. 1 with the Houston Rockets, owners of the NBA’s worst record, falling to the second pick.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who came into the lottery with the fifth-best odds of winning the top pick, did move up to No. 3 while the Toronto Raptors rose from seven to the fourth pick. The Orlando Magic, who came in with the same 14% odds at the top pick as Detroit Houston, fell down to the fifth pick.
Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Chicago, Sacramento, and New Orleans rounded out the top 10, but a pair of those teams won’t even see those picks. The Timberwolves pick will head to Golden State as part of the Andrew Wiggins-D’Angelo Russell trade last season, giving the Warriors a pair of lottery selections. Additionally, the Bulls dealt away their first-rounder to Orlando as part of the Nikola Vucevic trade at this year’s trade deadline, giving the Magic a pair of top-10 picks.
Charlotte, San Antonio, Indiana and Golden State, the four teams who came up short in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, round out the lottery with the rest of the first-round being in order of records from worst to best. The Los Angeles Lakers were in a three-way tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers and finished second in the tiebreaker, giving them the 22nd overall pick in the first round after Dallas but before Portland.
Top prospects in this year’s draft include Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, USC’s Evan Mobley, Baylor’s Davion Mitchell and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs, as well Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga who played with the NBA’s G-League Ignite this season.
Full 2021 NBA Draft order
1. Detroit Pistons
2. Houston Rockets
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Toronto Raptors
5. Orlando Magic
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Golder 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
15. Washington Wizards
16. Boston Celtics
17. Memphis Grizzlies
18. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami Heat)
19. New York Knicks
20. Atlanta Hawks
21. New York Knicks (via Dallas Mavericks)
22. Los Angeles Lakers
23. Houston Rockets (via Portland Trail Blazers)
24. Houston Rockets (via Milwaukee Bucks)
25. Los Angeles Clippers
26. Denver Nuggets
27. Brooklyn Nets
28. Philadelphia 76ers
29. Phoenix Suns
30. Utah Jazz
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