2021 NBA Draft Lottery Results – Who Were the Big Winners and Losers?

| July 2, 2021 9:08 am PDT

The 2021 NBA Draft order is almost set. The rest of the order will shake out upon the completion of the 2021 NBA Finals, but the initial picks are set in stone.

That’s thanks to the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery, which handed the Detroit Pistons the top pick in this year’s draft.

Detroit is obviously among the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery winners, but there are other teams that benefited, and certainly some losers who could have fared better.

With that, let’s go over the biggest winners and losers of the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery.

2021 NBA Draft Lottery Winners

The teams that qualify as winners after the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery are fairly self explanatory; either they got an extremely high pick, they have a shot at a stud prospect, and/or they simply got a much better selection than they were expected to.

Nothing is guaranteed in the NBA Draft, but the following teams benefited from a favorable showing at this year’s NBA Draft Lottery. Here’s why.

Detroit Pistons

Detroit is the obvious choice for biggest winner at the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery.

The Pistons lock up the number one spot in the draft and now look like they are going to be selecting consensus top pick Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham is arguably the best player in this draft, and he should join a young Pistons roster, who has an average age of 23.9. They are about to get even younger with their number one pick in the draft.

He could start right away if the Pistons think he’s ready enough. He’s got great size at 6’8 and averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 35.4 minutes per game, in 2020-21.

Cunningham can also hit threes with his 40% 3P% clip.

The Pistons lineup is young, but they look like they have a good future ahead of them with Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Josh Jackson, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, and now Cunningham.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets lock up the #2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, after finishing last season with the worst record in the NBA at 17-55.

The Rockets also were able to grab two more first round picks at #23 and #24 overall. The Rockets got the #23 overall pick from a trade with Portland, as they sent Robert Covington away. They grabbed the #24 overall pick when they traded P.J Tucker, Rodions Kurucs to Milwaukee for a pick swap.

Houston doesn’t have any selections in the second round, but the three first round picks should set them up for a great draft.

The Rockets still have John Wall, Eric Gordon, and Christian Wood for multiple years, so they can look to build around them. The second best prospect is arguably the best big man in the draft in C Evan Mobley from USC.

They also don’t have a reliable Center on their roster currently since the departure of Demarcus Cousins. Mobley should be a great pick for them and could see good minutes right away.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs finished last season 22-50 and that got them the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft.

Their pick could depend on the recent trade rumors revolving around their soon-to-be fourth year guard, Collin Sexton.

Sexton is still on his rookie contract and will be a restricted free agent following this season. The Cavs could look to move their guard, especially if they want to draft another guard in Jalen Green or Jalen Suggs.

The Cleveland roster consists of Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, Taurean Prince, Larry Nance, and Jarrett Allen. They have a good core of bigs with Love, Nance, and Allen when healthy, so it makes sense for them to grab another guard to play alongside Garland.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are far from their team that won the NBA Finals in 2019, as they finished 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 27-45.

They had a better record than the Thunder, Timberwolves, and Magic, but they got the higher pick out of those teams.

The Raptors are going to lose Kyle Lowry to free agency if they are unable to re-sign him for this season, so guard can be a position to target for them as well.

They could have an easy decision to make as they can grab whichever Jalen the Cavs don’t draft. Their roster core right now has Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Chris Boucher.

Orlando Magic

The next pick in the draft belongs to the Orlando Magic. The Magic get the #5 overall pick and the #8 overall pick, from their trade with the Chicago Bulls involving Nikola Vucevic.

That trade would’ve taken a turn for the worst, as the Bulls pick was top 4 protected, meaning if the Bulls got a top 4 pick, the Magic would just have their original first rounder. But they rolled the dice and got rewarded with two picks within the top 10, and are in a great spot for their rebuild.

The Magic broke up their core in favor of draft picks, as they also traded Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. With their two top-10 picks, they could build around Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac.

The Magic could look at grabbing two of the following players: Jonathan Kuminga, Scottie Barnes, Davion Mitchell, Keon Johnson, Jalen Johnson, and/or Franz Wagner.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder are going to be in the “Winners” column for a while. They have stockpiled 36 draft picks in the next 7 years, with a perfect split of 18 first-rounders, and 18 second rounders.

Check out the picks they have heading into this year’s draft alone.

  • 6th
  • 16th
  • 18th
  • 34th
  • 36th
  • 55th

That’s how you rebuild a team, folks.

The youngest team in the league (average age is 23.0) is about to get even younger. Sam Presti has done a masterful job of acquiring draft picks in his time with the Thunder.

The Thunder will have lots of future investments when it comes to draft picks, and this won’t be the only year the Thunder dominate the draft.

The Thunder could do a lot with the picks including just straight up using them, or stockpiling to trade up, or trade for current players.

It will be very interesting to watch the Thunder in the coming years, but they could look at grabbing two top-16 talents in this year’s draft along with their 3 other picks in the second round.

They could build around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kemba Walker, so they might target a forward or a big if that is the plan. It shouldn’t be a big deal as the Thunder didn’t land a top 5 pick, as they have plenty of more picks in the future.

Golden State Warriors

The last team that should be seen as 2021 NBA Draft Lottery winners is the Warriors, as they were able to grab the #7 pick along with a winning record last season.

They made a trade with the Timberwolves to acquire a first round pick and Andrew Wiggins for D’Angelo Russell. The Warriors will still have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green going into this season.

Curry becomes a free agent after this season, so they could prepare for his departure, but it’s hard to imagine Curry leaving Golden State. The Warriors also have a “Golden” opportunity to make a big trade to give them another shot at an NBA title.

Curry, Thompson, and Green are already a very talented big-three, but they could make it a big 4 if they pair this draft pick and James Wiseman for another star player.

The Warriors could be back in 2021-22, all because of the trade with D’Angelo Russell and Klay Thompson coming back from injury.

Losers of the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery

Where there are winners, losers always follow. It’s the nature of sports, and it’s no different when discussing the results of the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery.

There are clear winners in terms of draft position and the prospects teams can get, and there are also teams that got hurt by the process.

Here’s a quick look at the biggest 2021 NBA Draft Lottery losers.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls rolled the dice with the trade for Nikola Vucevic. They traded the Magic their top-4 protected pick, but it ended up going to the Magic as it ended up being the #8 overall pick.

If the Bulls were able to land a top 4 pick along with Vucevic, that would’ve set them up perfectly to try and make a run at the playoffs. Instead, they must hope their current core can get the job done.

They still are good enough to make the playoffs, but they might be lacking another star-level talent in order to win The Finals. Zach Lavine becomes a free agent after this season, so they either need to extend him or really stockpile their lineup soon.

The Bulls might lose their best player in Lavine after this season and will have to rely on Vucevic (until 2023-24), Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, and Patrick Williams.

The Bulls may have to trade one of their young guys with some picks to grab a star player, before their competing window closes.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans may find themselves in a deep hole if the rumors about their star player are true.

Zion, or his family rather, made headlines about being unhappy in New Orleans. Those rumors have ignited speculation that Williamson could be dealt, perhaps to a bigger market like New York.

The Pelicans landed the phenom in 2019, but could he already be on his way somewhere else?

That would be devastating to the Pelicans if they were forced to trade away their star player, but you have to keep your players happy. If the Pelicans keep him unhappy, Zion might not want to resign there in the future.

New Orleans could be in a real bad spot here if they don’t turn into a competitive team real soon. They ended up getting the #10 overall pick, along with 4 second rounders. They are a team to keep an eye on during this draft.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have had it rough. They went 31-41 for the second year in a row and haven’t had a winning record since the 2005-2006 season.

They didn’t land a super high draft pick, which would’ve helped them build their roster around De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and Marvin Bagley.

They could also lose both of their centers to free agency in Richuan Holmes and Hassan Whiteside, so they could try to grab the next best Center.

Franz Wagner may be their best possible scenario pick, hopefully he’s still around by the time they pick. The Kings may be behind the pack of other teams when it comes to draft picks as well.

They only have their original two, while other teams have been stockpiling them through trades. They might need more than just talented players to fix their franchise.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves find themselves in the losing column because they don’t have a single pick in this draft. They traded their first for D’Angelo Russell and their second round pick landed in Oklahoma City.

They have a talented handful of players in Karl Anthony-Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and Ricky Rubio.

But now is the time for them to have draft picks. They either need to be playoff ready, or have lots of draft picks.

The Timberwolves may not have either. It may be a tough time for the Wolves and they might have no choice but to trade their big name players. The Western Conference might be too tough for them.

What Will Happen in the 2021 NBA Draft?

After breaking down the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery winners and losers, where does your mind go next? Immediately to the actual draft itself, right?

This is going to be a very interesting draft, just because Detroit is an impossible franchise to figure out, and yet Cade Cunningham is the obvious choice to go #1.

Will the Pistons pull off a shocker up top, will there be a big trade, and what else should we expect in the 2021 NBA Draft?

There is a lot to consider, but for now, here’s how I see the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery shaking out.

  • 1. Detroit – Cade Cunningham, G/F, Oklahoma State
  • 2. Houston – Evan Mobley, F/C, USC
  • 3. Cleveland – Jalen Green, G, G-League Ignite
  • 4. Toronto – Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga
  • 5. Orlando – Jonathan Kuminga, PF, G-League Ignite
  • 6. Oklahoma City – Scottie Barnes, G/F, Florida State
  • 7. Golden State (from Minnesota) – Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor
  • 8. Orlando (from Chicago) – Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee
  • 9. Sacramento – Franz Wagner, C, Michigan
  • 10. New Orleans – Josh Giddey, G, Australia
  • 11. Charlotte – James Bouknight, G, UCONN
  • 12. San Antonio – Moses Moody, G, Arkansas
  • 13. Indiana – Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga
  • 14. Golden State – Alperen Sengun, C, Turkey

This can serve as a tentative 2021 NBA Draft mock, as these are how I think the picks could go this summer.

Whether I’m right about that or not, two things are clear; this is going to be a wild draft process, and there’s no denying the winners and losers to this point.

Anthony Haage

Anthony is a sports writer for GamblingSites.com covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and more. He also covers other various topics such as entertainment, general sports betting tips, and more.

His favorite teams are the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and Blackhawks. He also will be a temporary fan of any team if it means winning him bets.

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