2021 NBA Draft Recap

It seems like just yesterday that the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA Finals and already we have the NBA Draft. The offseason is officially in full swing with Thursday’s draft, which provided its fair share of drama and surprises. Let’s take a quick look back at all of the highlights of the 2021 NBA Draft.



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No Brainer

It was a given for months, but on Thursday it became official when the Detroit Pistons made Cade Cunningham the first overall pick in the draft. Cunningham was a stud coming out of high school and put together an incredible season at Oklahoma State, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He earned Big 12 Players of the Year honors and will now try to help the Pistons rebuild after a disappointing 20-52 season.

A G-League Thing

The trend of players going to the G-League rather than playing college basketball appears to be here to stay. With the second pick in the draft, the Houston Rockets selected Jalen Green, who was a five-star recruit coming out of high school but spent the last year in the G-League rather than going to college for a year. Of course, Green wouldn’t be the last G-League player selected. Jonathan Kuminga went seventh overall to the Golden State Warriors after a year in the G-League. Isaiah Todd, the 31st overall pick, was also drafted after a year in the G-League.

A Magic Night

The Orlando Magic might be the biggest winner of the 2021 Draft, as they had three of the first 33 picks and made good use of them. It started when they took Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs with the fifth overall pick. Three picks later, they selected Michigan forward Franz Wagner. The Magic completed their draft with the 33rd overall pick by selecting Jason Preston of Ohio. Preston stole the show during March Madness and could be a huge factor playing behind or alongside Suggs in the years to come.

International Flare

As always, there was a great international flavor to the NBA Draft. It started with the sixth overall pick when the Oklahoma City Thunder took Australian point guard Josh Giddey. As mentioned, Kuminga, a native of DR Congo, was the seventh overall pick, and Wagner, who hails from Germany, was selected eighth overall. The Thunder took another international player 16th overall, selecting Turkish center Alperen Sengun. Other international players include Spain’s Usman Garuba (23rd overall), Lithuanian point guard Rokas Jokubaitis (34th overall), French guard Juhann Begarin (45th overall), Serbia center Filip Petrusev (50th overall), and Greece forward Georgios Kalaitzakis (60th overall)

A Senior Moment

In recent years, it’s been increasingly rare for college seniors to be high draft picks. However, seven players heard their name called on Thursday after spending four years in college. In fact, Chris Duarte, who went 13th overall to the Pacers, and Corey Kispert, who went 15th overall to the Wizards, were both first-round picks. In the second round, Herbert Jones, Isaiah Livers, Luka Garza, Sandro Mamukelashvili, and Jericho Sims were also selected after finishing their college education. It was particularly good for Garza to be selected after such a storied college career at Iowa.


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A Fitting Tribute

In the middle of the first round of the NBA Draft, there was a pause while the league honored former Kentucky star Terrence Clarke, who passed away in a car accident earlier this year. Clarke declared for the draft after the season at Kentucky and likely would have been selected at some point. It was a somber moment with Adam Silver inviting Clarke’s mother, brother, and sister to take the stage, much like Clarke would have had he not passed away.