Cade Cunningham remains the No. 1 pick in re-draft


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As the NBA is set to welcome a new rookie class into the league for the 2022-23 season, observers are still raving about the previous group that saw great success on the court.

The players were highly touted entering the 2021 NBA draft with several notable names projected to be selected near the top of the board. The class had such depth that teams had the opportunity to draft impact players late in the first round, and even into the second round.

Throughout the year, the class was touted as one of the best in recent memory as many even believe it has the potential to go down as one of the best in history. The top picks proved worthy of their selections, while others showed that they should have been drafted higher.

With that in mind, we took a look at the players and re-drafted the class based on what we know after one season. Other factors, such as potential on the court and long-term outlook, were also considered in this early look back at the class.

Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Cade Cunningham

Cunningham entered the draft long thought to be the top pick, and the 6-foot-6 guard exceeded expectations. After dealing with an ankle injury in training camp, he had a slow start to the season but quickly figured things out and showed why the Pistons took him first.

Though Cunningham wasn’t named the Rookie of the Year, he proved to be an elite floor general at times for the Pistons and offered a glimpse of what he can become. He put up some unheard-of numbers and proved to be perhaps the Pistons’ most important player as a rookie.

Houston Rockets: Jalen Green

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Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Jalen Green

Green was viewed as perhaps the most dynamic scorer in the draft last year, and the second pick showed just that. It took Green much of the season to really show that ability on a nightly basis but did he ever dazzle once he got there.

In 67 games, Green averaged 17.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists with the Rockets. He finished second in rookie scoring average and had at least 30 points in five straight games from March 28 to April 5, the second-longest streak by a rookie since the 1971-72 season.

Despite Scottie Barnes taking Rookie of the Year, the Green selection still seems to be the pick here for the Rockets. He looks to be their franchise cornerstone for years to come and has all of the tools in place to be one of the NBA’s top scorers.

For more coverage on the Rockets, visit Rockets Wire

Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Evan Mobley

After just one season, Mobley projects to be a perennial All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year threat. He helped anchor a Cavaliers defense that ranked fifth in the NBA and led all first-year players in blocked shots.

Mobley lost the Rookie of the Year award to Scottie Barnes in the closest race in history. Voters legitimately had a difficult time this year deciding which player should win the award as both Mobley and Barnes had compelling cases.

The Cavaliers would likely still choose Mobley over Barnes at this point based on what they know now. He is a great fit in their system and will play a major role this season on a revamped roster that now features three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell.

Toronto Raptors: Scottie Barnes

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Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Scottie Barnes

Barnes was named the Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals. He led all rookies in minutes and ranked third in points and rebounds, and fifth in assists, steals and blocks. Barnes became the third player in team history to win, joining Damon Stoudamire (1996-97) and Vince Carter (1998-99).

Falling to fourth in a re-draft was not an indictment of Barnes, but rather, the three teams ahead of the Raptors would likely all standpat with their selections last year. He certainly proved worthy of a higher draft position after winning Rookie of the Year, but the top of the draft may have been a rare case where the first four teams prove happy with their picks.

Orlando Magic: Franz Wagner

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Jalen Suggs

Wagner ends up with the Magic anyway in a re-draft, just three spots higher than when the team initially took him. He proved one of the top rookies all season long and was an All-Rookie first-team selection after averaging 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

He was on pace to play and start in every game with the Magic, but a couple of ankle injuries late in the season cost him three games. He still led the rookie class in total scoring and pulled in two third-place votes in the Rookie of the Year results.

Since then, Wagner has been busy dazzling with the German national team in EuroBasket 2022 and looks to be in store for a strong sophomore campaign. His emergence has further proven just how deep the 2021 draft class was last season.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Giddey

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Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Josh Giddey

Giddey dazzled in one season in the National Basketball League and continued that display in the NBA. From his highlight-reel passing to his ability to get others involved, Giddey had a strong season with the Thunder before a hip injury shut him down in February.

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He earned Rookie of the Month honors in the Western Conference four times and became the youngest player to record a triple-double. Giddey was also the second rookie to register three consecutive triple-doubles, and tied Luka Doncic for the most by a teenager (4).

Giddey lost his new running mate in Chet Holmgren but will look to improve upon a strong rookie campaign this season. He still has some holes to fill in his game, but Giddey would likely go sixth once again in a re-draft.

For more coverage on the Thunder, visit Thunder Wire

Golden State Warriors (via Minnesota): Jonathan Kuminga

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Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Jonathan Kuminga

Kuminga played sporadically with the Warriors but showed out in a limited role, averaging 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 70 appearances. He still managed to put up five 20-point outings to become the first teenager in team history to reach that mark.

There is no question, though, that playing alongside several Hall of Famers has helped Kuminga on and off the court, and that could pay off in a major way this season and beyond. He has the potential to be a bonafide scorer and a building block for the future in the Bay.

For more coverage on the Warriors, visit Warriors Wire

Orlando Magic (via Chicago): Herb Jones

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Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Franz Wagner

Jones, who was the 35th pick, emerged as a key player for the Pelicans last season and was a huge reason why they lasted six games versus the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. It is quite remarkable that he was still on the board at 35 last year.

He was named to the All-Rookie second team after averaging 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals. His 130 total steals ranked third among all players in the NBA while his 243 total deflections were fourth. He was the only player to have at least 120 steals and 50 blocks.

This point of the re-draft is when things open up a bit with several candidates for this spot.

However, what Jones can do defensively is a huge reason why he is ranked ahead of several lottery picks from a year ago. He still has room to grow offensively but his defensive skill set and anticipation are something to behold.

Sacramento Kings: Davion Mitchell

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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Davion Mitchell

Mitchell, known as “Off-Night,” showed just how talented he can be on defense. He often drew the assignment of guarding opposing teams’ top guards and held his own in most cases. He even turned the corner on offense as the season went on, averaging 14.1 points after the All-Star break.

Given his ability on defense, and improvement on offense, the Kings seem likely to take Mitchell again if they had a re-do. He has the most potential and best long-term outlook on the roster of the remaining options on the board at this point.

Memphis Grizzlies (via New Orleans):  Ziaire Williams

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Ziaire Williams

The selection of Williams was a bit surprising and met with some criticism, but he proved worthy of the pick. He saw time as a starter in stretches toward the end of the season, and averaged 9.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 31 games in that role.

Despite his uncertain role as a rookie, Williams flourished as the season progressed and looks to have a great outlook for next year and beyond. Banking on his long-term growth and development, the Grizzlies absolutely take Williams here in a re-draft.

Charlotte Hornets: Jalen Suggs

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: James Bouknight

Positioned 11th in this re-draft isn’t to say that Suggs can’t live up to being the fifth pick. He simply had a tough rookie season that was marred by injuries. However, he still showed plenty of potential and was a tremendous defender on the court.

True re-drafts need at least five years to gauge a firm opinion on a player and Suggs can certainly benefit from more game tape. The Magic are very high on his future and believe he can contribute at a high level on both ends of the court.

San Antonio Spurs: Chris Duarte

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Josh Primo

Duarte earned the last spot on the All-Rookie second team and likely could have finished higher had a toe injury not derailed his final two months of the season. Still, he proved a great scorer and finished sixth in that category among all rookies.

In this scenario, Duarte moves up one spot to the Spurs. Primo likely has the highest ceiling of the two players, but Duarte is more polished at this stage of his career and likely would have been able to play all year in the NBA; Primo spent time in the NBA G League.

Indiana Pacers: Alperen Sengun

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Chris Duarte

With Duarte off of the board, the Pacers pivot here and take Sengun.

Entering the NBA, he was fresh off of a strong run in Europe, in which he was named MVP of the Turkish League with Besiktas. He was touted as a versatile big man that had great instincts with the ball in his hands and that proved true last season in Houston.

His value with the Rockets looks to be on the rise with the departure of Christian Wood. He now projects to be a starter and should be in store for an even better sophomore campaign. Sengun could emerge as one of the best players from this class in only another season or two.

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Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody

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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Moses Moody

With several changes to this point, the Warriors manage to keep both of their original draft picks from last season. Like Jonathan Kuminga, Moody played sparingly throughout the season but impressed when he did get onto the court.

He saw a larger role with the team in early March until a shoulder injury knocked him out of the rotation. The uptick in minutes resulted in a career-high 30 points on March 7 against the Denver Nuggets as he offered a glimpse of what he can bring.

The Warriors have spoken very highly of Moody and believe he can play a large role with the team this season as they look to defend their title. It will serve as a great chance for Moody to prove himself.

For more coverage on the Warriors, visit Warriors Wire

Washington Wizards: Trey Murphy III

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Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Corey Kispert

Murphy moves up two spots from his original draft position and joins the Wizards in this re-draft exercise. He made great leaps on the court as the season progressed and emerged as a key player for a Pelicans team that took the Phoenix Suns to six games in the first round.

He was a great shooter from 3-point range and has the tools in place to be one of the best in the NBA; he set the Pelicans rookie record with seven 3s on March 11. He can also defend at a high level with his length and quickness. Murphy has a bright future ahead in New Orleans.

Houston Rockets (via Oklahoma City): Bones Hyland

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Alperen Sengun

Hyland, as the 26th pick, earned a place on the All-Rookie second team after a great run with the Nuggets. He averaged 12.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds after the All-Star break and served as a great scoring punch off the bench.

Perhaps most impressive, Hyland performed at a high level on a team that made the playoffs. They were bounced in the first round but with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back, the Nuggets have the tools in place to make a deep run. Hyland projects to be a big part of that.

New Orleans Pelicans (via Memphis): Tre Mann

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Trey Murphy III

Mann finished the season on an incredible run before a hamstring injury shut him down starting on March 28. He averaged 17 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 37.1% shooting from 3-point range over his final 17 games of the season.

Included in that run, Mann set numerous Thunder rookie records, including the most points scored in a game and the most points scored in a quarter. He also became the first rookie in history to hit seven consecutive 3s within a game.

The showing by Mann has him up one spot in the draft to the Pelicans at 17 in this re-do. With one season under his belt, Mann has the potential to become one of the top guards in this rookie class as the Thunder appear to have hit a home run on this pick.

Oklahoma City Thunder (via Miami): Ayo Dosunmu

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Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Tre Mann

Dosunmu moves up into the first round after a strong rookie campaign with the Bulls. He was named to the All-Rookie second team after averaging 8.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds on 37.6% shooting from 3-point range in 77 games.

The 38th pick stepped into the starting lineup once Lonzo Ball went down with his knee injury and showed some promise in that role. He can be electric at times on offense and was a strong defender, often matching up with the best players on opposing teams.

Chicago looks to have nailed this pick as Dosunmu would be a borderline lottery pick in a re-draft. With Ball expected to miss the start of the season, Dosunmu figures to be in store for another big year.

Charlotte Hornets (via New York): Isaiah Jackson

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Kai Jones

When Jackson can stay out of foul trouble, the 22nd pick can impact games in a variety of ways. He is a constant lob threat down low on offense, and has been tremendous on defense. In fact, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle once described his defensive ability as breathtaking.

Jackson only logged 36 appearances last season and still managed to show his future potential. With the Pacers looking ahead toward the future, playing time figures to be there for Jackson and it will be worth monitoring how he performs in a large role.

Atlanta Hawks: Quentin Grimes

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Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Jalen Johnson

Grimes had an up-and-down season and didn’t see much playing time until the end of December. He then had a great run in February before a dislocated kneecap sidelined him for nearly a month. Still, Grimes showed that he can be a great option off the bench for the Knicks.

The team is said to be very high on Grimes and reportedly declined to include him in trade conversations for Donovan Mitchell. While he hasn’t reached the level of being untouchable in trade talks for a three-time All-Star, Grimes looks to have a bright future ahead.

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Los Angeles Clippers (via New York): Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

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Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Keon Johnson

The Clippers ultimately opted to trade Keon Johnson to the Portland Trail Blazers to acquire Norman Powell and Robert Covington, two savvy veterans that can elevate them to the next level. So, it isn’t a lock that they would keep any rookie selected here.

But for the sake of this exercise, Robinson-Earl proved to be worthy of a first-round selection last season. As the 32nd pick, Robinson-Earl averaged 7.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and one assist in 49 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He brings tremendous toughness and flourished on defense and as a rebounder. The Thunder are still figuring out what exactly they have on their roster, but Robinson-Earl projects to be a player that will stick around given his level of production across the board.

Indiana Pacers (via Lakers): Josh Primo

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Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Isaiah Jackson

With Jackson off the board, Primo is a good option for the Pacers as an upside pick. He was the youngest player in the NBA last season and spent much of the year in the NBA G League but showed off his potential several times.

The Spurs think very highly of him and believe he can have a long career in the NBA after taking him 12th. They love his maturity at his age and the way he understands the game. He should be in store for a bigger sophomore campaign after showing signs last year.

Houston Rockets (via Portland): Josh Christopher

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Usman Garuba

Christopher showed promise last season on both sides of the ball and would likely remain in Houston in a re-draft. He has the ability to develop into a key player with the Rockets and showed that he fits into their long-term plans. Though, we should know a lot more about him this season.

Houston Rockets (via Milwaukee): Cam Thomas

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Josh Christopher

Thomas moves up from No. 27 in this re-draft given his scoring potential. He emerged as one of the top pure scorers in the class and showed that in a limited sample size. However, he will need to improve defensively to see the court on such a veteran-heavy squad.

New York Knicks (via Clippers): Corey Kispert

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Quentin Grimes

Kispert showed improvement last year as the season progressed and eventually became a full-time starter. He averaged 11.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists after the All-Star break and proved to be more than just a shooter. He will look to carry that momentum into his second year with the Wizards.

Denver Nuggets: Keon Johnson

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Bones Hyland

Johnson, the 21st pick by the Los Angeles Clippers, was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers and immediately saw a larger role. He was seldom used in L.A. on a title contender but saw a larger role in Portland and flourished there. The Trail Blazers figure to be better this season as Johnson will benefit by playing with Damian Lillard & Co.

Brooklyn Nets: Jose Alvarado

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Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Cam Thomas

Alvarado had a tremendous second half of the season as the Pelicans qualified for the playoffs and took the Phoenix Suns to six games in the first round. He became a fan favorite with his infectious energy and effort, especially on the defensive end of the floor. He indeed showed that he should have been drafted last year after emerging as a key player in New Orleans.

Philadelphia 76ers: Austin Reaves

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Jaden Springer

The Lakers, as LeBron James once said, got a gem in Reaves, who went undrafted last year. He averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 61 appearances, and even had a game-winner. Reaves proved to be worthy of a late first-round selection in a re-draft after emerging as a solid bench option for the Lakers.

Brooklyn Nets (via Phoenix): Usman Garuba

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Day’Ron Sharpe

Garuba had a tough rookie campaign and was limited to just 24 games after dealing with a wrist injury that needed surgery. However, he still projects to have a bright future after dazzling in Spain prior to moving over to the NBA. He can do quite a bit on the court and will look to bounce back this season.

Memphis Grizzlies (via Utah): James Bouknight

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Original pick: Santi Aldama

Bouknight, the 11th pick, had a tough rookie campaign. He didn’t see the court much last season and even spent some time in the NBA G League to work on his game. He was involved in a sideline altercation with then-head coach James Borrego and was also kicked out of a UConn game in February. It will be curious to see if his role will change with Steve Clifford back on the sidelines but Bouknight still has the potential to warrant a first-round selection.

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire



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