Last night’s 2021 NBA Draft is complete, and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was abuzz for the return to in-person attendance after last year’s virtual affair due to the pandemic. It also marked the first time the draft was aired on ABC as well as ESPN.
The first three selections went as expected, with Oklahoma State Cowboys freshman Cade Cunningham as the top pick. The 19-year old, 6’8″ point guard carried himself with a poise that belied his age, and he sounded ready to lead a team that has had an overall losing record through the past five years and barely broke even in the 2018-2019 season.
“It’s still pretty surreal to me,” Cunningham said. “I know how much responsibility comes with being the No. 1 pick. I know how much responsibility a city will put on the guy that they take No. 1. I’m more than excited to take on those tasks and try to deliver to the city of Detroit.”
Here are all the draftees selected in yesterday’s first round:
1. Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Green, G League Ignite
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, Southern California
4. Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes, Florida State
5. Orlando Magic : Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Giddey, Australia
7. Golden State Warriors: Jonathan Kuminga, G League Ignite
8. Orlando Magic: Franz Wagner, Michigan
9. Sacramento Kings: Davion Mitchell, Baylor
10. New Orleans Pelicans: Ziaire Williams, Stanford (officially traded to the Memphis Grizzlies)
11. Charlotte Hornets: James Bouknight, Connecticut
12. San Antonio Spurs: Joshua Primo, Alabama
13. Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte, Oregon, Oregon
14. Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody, Arkansas
The NBA took a moment between the 14th, and 15th draft picks to remember Terence Clarke, the late University of Kentucky freshman who died in a car accident this past April. Clarke forewent his remaining eligibility and was a top prospect for this year’s draft. League commish Adam Silver ceremonially drafted Clarke into the NBA, and Clarke’s mother, sister, and brother were invited on stage by Silver to remember the beloved 19-year-old.
Honorary Draft Pick by the NBA: Terrence Clarke, Kentucky
15. Washington Wizards: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
16. Oklahoma City Thunder: Alperen Sengun, Turkey (officially traded to the Houston Rockets)
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Trey Murphy III, Virginia (officially traded to the New Orleans Pelicans)
18. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tre Mann, Florida
19. New York Knicks: Kai Jones, Texas (reportedly traded to the Charlotte Hornets)
20. Atlanta Hawks: Jalen Johnson, Duke
21. New York Knicks: Keon Johnson (officially traded to the Los Angeles Clippers), Tennessee
22. Los Angeles Lakers: Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky (reportedly traded to the Indiana Pacers via the Washington Wizards)
23. Houston Rockets: Usman Garuba, Real Madrid (Spain)
24. Houston Rockets: Josh Christopher, Arizona State
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Quentin Grimes, Houston (officially traded to the New York Knicks)
26. Denver Nuggets: Nah’Shon Hyland, VCU
27. Brooklyn Nets: Cameron Thomas, LSU
28. Philadelphia 76ers: Jaden Springer, Tennessee
29. Phoenix Suns: Day’Ron Sharpe, North Carolina (reportedly traded to the Brooklyn Nets)
30. Utah Jazz: Santi Aldama, Loyola (MD) (reportedly traded to the Memphis Grizzlies)
In other news of the night, Ricky Rubio was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Taurean Prince, a 2022 second-round pick via the Washington Wizards, and cash considerations.
One other blockbuster trade was Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook being sent to the Los Angles Lakers. L.A. also gets the rights to first-round pick Isaiah Jackson, and the Wizards receive Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell in return.
Mr. Triple Double joins LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Tinseltown, and this will be the 9x All-Star’s fourth team in just as many years, after a stellar 11-year tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The announcement will not be made official until next week when the upcoming salary cap is released and trades for the new season are allowed. Westbrook expressed his appreciation to the nation’s capital and Wizards fans. “Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one,” he posted on social media. “It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you! #thedistrict.”
One high-profile deal that fell through, however, was for (current) Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons. After another woeful playoff performance, bookended by five points on 2-for-4 shooting in 36 minutes, the rumors are that the 6’10” baller has not been in contact with his team, although the Sixers are refuting the claim.
But Simmons has quickly gone from untouchable to persona non grata in “The City of Brotherly Love,” and Philly’s front office followed up the Warriors’ initial interest in their 2018 Rookie of the Year, proposing the trade of Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, both of Golden State’s 2021 first-round draft picks, and two future first-round picks for Simmons.
Golden State found that asking price to be too much for 2016’s No. 1 draft pick, though, and has since backed out of the Ben Simmons sweepstakes. The vid below pretty much sums up how the Warriors – and the rest of the basketball world – felt about Philly’s offer.
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