Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill and Yahoo Sports NBA Draft analyst Krysten Peek break down the night - from the number one pick to some questionable decisions.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Hey, this is Vincent Goodwill, here with Yahoo Sports. I'm here with Kristyn Peek. Krysten, winners and losers of tonight's 2021 NBA Draft. We're going to start with the winners. Who is your big winner so far tonight?
KRYSTEN PEEK: My big winner for the night is the Houston Rockets. You know, they had three picks coming in. They managed to get four, all in the first round. And let's start off with who they picked first, Jalen Green, the 6'6'' shooting guard out of Fresno who played for the G League Ignite team. I think he has the biggest upside in this draft class, and he's a dynamic scorer and is an underrated passer. So you started with him, and then you go and you get Usman Garuba, a 6'8'' forward out of Spain, great size, very fluid in the open court, who has a comfortable mid-range game. And then the Rockets did the most amazing thing out of the whole draft. The very next pick, they went and they go get Jalen Green's best friend Josh Christopher. The two of them have been playing basketball together since they were sophomores in high school. They were teamates on USA basketball, and they have great chemistry. So if you're looking to rebuild from the ground up, and you want players that want to play together and want to be there, that was the smartest move of the draft. And then, of course, let's not forget, they added 6-foot-10 center Alperen Sengün, who is an NBA analytics dream, with the numbers he puts up. So Houston is the big winner for me.
VINCENT GOODWILL: I mean, it's funny how we go from Houston having James Harden and Russell Westbrook in their backcourt to now, basically, starting immediately from scratch. My big winner, Krysten, and this is not a regional bias, considering where I am, but the team with the first pick, the Detroit Pistons. They didn't trade it. They wound up selecting Cade Cunningham. While I agree with you about Jalen Green maybe having the biggest runway, the longest runway, I do like the fact that Cade Cunningham will walk into the NBA as a pro-ready player. And I do think, when you're talking about players, especially, KP, guys who have never been strong athletes, they've never been strong athletes. They've always had to sort of overcompensate for what they've lacked, playing against more athletic players, so I don't think it's going to be as negative of an adjustment as people think. Those are the two winners.
KRYSTEN PEEK: If I'm gonna pick a loser, it's gotta be the Oklahoma City Thunder, just in the sense where they had so many draft picks. They took a gamble with Josh Giddey at number six, and he's a young Australian player who led the NBL and triple-doubles and is a phenomenal passer. He's not what I have a problem with. Like, I'm all about the upside. Tre Mann, later in the draft, they picked him in the 20s, and he was so inconsistent at Florida this year. I'm not sure what sort of NBA player he's gonna be. And then, in the second round, they go and they get Jeremy Robinson-Earl, who has a ton of upside, but, again, is another player who isn't nearly as athletic as other players that were on the board. And so it was just underwhelming for me. So, for that reason, that's why the Oklahoma City Thunder are my loser.
VINCENT GOODWILL: My big loser is also in the Western Conference. My big loser, KP, is also a team that used to be a contender, key word "used to be" a contender, the three-time champion Golden State Warriors. Remember, they came into this draft with seven and 14, and we were thinking, I don't know about you, KP, I was thinking, you know what, this team is going to package seven and 14, get a veteran, maybe get a star. And selecting Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, I don't have a problem with those two young players. I agree, I think those two young players will be good in time. But you've got to tell me that Stephen Curry is approaching his mid-30s, and now you're adding two more babies to this veteran Golden State team. You're telling Draymond Green he's going to have to babysit two more young players on this roster, in addition to Klay Thompson coming back. So it's not necessarily, Krysten, the players that they picked. It was the strategy itself. You had seven and 14. You could have had a little more movement, as far as getting an established player to try to keep up with the Lakers, and the Clippers, and the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference, and it's gonna get a lot tougher next year, and Golden State did not make things easier for themselves.