Top 10 2021 NBA Draft Moments
While Houston did pick their future superstar in Jalen Green with the second pick, they would add a fourth first round pick in a trade with Oklahoma City. Adding Alperen Sengun of Turkey, who was the MVP of the Turkish basketball league at the age of 18, the Rockets then drafted Spain's Usman Garuba and Arizona State's Josh Christopher. With these four picks along with the young core, the potential for future championship success is there for the Rockets.
After the first five picks were taken, the Thunder pulled off a stunning move with the sixth pick by drafting Josh Giddey of Australia, who was expected to be a late round selection. Then, they got Tre Mann with the 18th pick, which might not have been the best option. But, while they got two future first round picks, they actually were forced to pick Alperen Sengun at 16 for the Rockets as part of the deal.
With the fifth pick of the NBA Draft, the Magic got a big break when Toronto decided to pass on Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs. Not wanting OKC to pounce, the Magic drafted Suggs, who has a potential to be their biggest guard superstar since Penny Hardaway. Add in Franz Wagner and the two could become a tandem ready to give Orlando a magical era.
For the first time since their dynasty began, the Warriors find themselves on the wrong side. While they did have two lottery picks, they were unable to bolster their chances of winning a championship by making a blockbuster trade like some thought they could. They managed to draft Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, who while two talented players, won't make an immediate impact. There's still a chance to get themselves back on track, but this was a big opportunity miss.
Already with a potential franchise superstar in LaMelo Ball, the Hornets added pieces to build around him. First, they picked James Bouknight at No. 11 and then traded into the 19th spot to pick Kai Jones. If Jones manages to improve his post game, he could be the biggest steal of the draft while Bouknight becomes a second scoring option for Charlotte behind Ball.
The Kings had the #9 pick and seemed to be in line to take James Bouknight. Instead, they chose Baylor guard and national champion Davion Mitchell. Despite being named defensive player of the year in his last collegiate season, Mitchell's offensive performance has some red flags. Not only that, but he doesn't seem to fit with a Kings' team already with De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.
Despite having the first pick in the draft, the Pistons weren't settled on who to decide. They had two big options and Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green and some members figured they preferred Green over Cade. With trade rumors going around, Detroit seemed to make the draft more interesting before it started. Ultimately, they chose Cade as the #1 pick and with Luka Garza later on, the Pistons now have a potential tandem that might bring glory back to the Motor City.
The first three picks of the draft went as expected with Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, and Evan Mobley going to Detroit, Houston, and Cleveland respectively. Toronto was next and many felt they would take Jalen Suggs. But, they pulled off the first surprise drafting Scottie Barnes of Florida State. Although a good defender, Barnes' shooting ability has many questioning the pick itself. Right now, Orlando should be thanking Toronto for passing up Suggs since they took him.
Cleveland was in the same boat as Detroit and Houston in that the players they could choose from wouldn't be disappointed. Once Cade and Jalen Green were drafted, Cleveland had the easiest choice in Evan Mobley, who could potentially be the next great NBA center. Add in a trade for Ricky Rubio and a 2022 2nd round pick and the Cavs might be in for another run.
The Spurs had the 12th pick in the draft and had plenty of options to choose from. However, they chose Jonathan Primo, the youngest player in the draft. Averaging 8.1 points, 0.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game as a freshman, Primo was seen as a second round pick in most mock drafts. Perhaps San Antonio knows something that we don't. For now, this is a loss.