Entering the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, three teams were tied with the best odds of pulling the No. 1 pick. Each of the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic, after tough 2020-21 campaigns, had a 14 percent chance of landing the most prized possession of the night.
As it turned out, the Pistons came away with the No. 1 pick, while the Rockets landed in second. The Magic, meanwhile, fell out of the top four picks. The Pistons have drafted first overall twice in their history, selecting Jimmy Walker in 1967 and Bob Lanier in 1970.
Leaping up in the draft order were the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, seeing as both the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder had their names called earlier than expected. Here's the rest of the draft lottery order:
1. Detroit Pistons
2. Houston Rockets
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Toronto Raptors
5. Orlando Magic
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Golden 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
Another big story line was whether or not the Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls would be able to keep their respective selections due to trades that put their picks in jeopardy depending on how the lottery went. As it turned out, both the T-Wolves and Bulls lost their picks, and one of the teams that gained another selection was quick to celebrate.
Sitting at the top of the majority of analysts' draft boards — and we'd have to assume that team front offices are the same way — is Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham, a versatile player who can certainly be projected as a true leader in the not-so-far future. There are several other big names throughout the lottery picks of the first round, though, in this deep class, including USC big man Evan Mobley, Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs and G-League studs Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.
Stay tuned and check back with Audacy Sports soon for our post-lottery mock draft, featuring all 30 first-round selections.