2021 NBA Re-Draft: Cade Cunningham remains the No. 1 pick in re-draft

Rookie Wire took a look at the 2021 class and re-drafted the players based on what we know after one season.

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.

2021 NBA Draft: 10 bold predictions from the preseason revisited

Rookie Wire made 10 bold predictions for the 2021-22 rookie class and made a vow to come back and see how we did.

Rookie Wire offered 10 bold predictions for the 2021-22 rookie class last October and made a vow at the time to come back after the season and see just how we did.

Well, it is that time to look back and review the results.

Our annual revisit of these bold predictions is our favorite time of the year. It typically just consists of us trying to convince basketball fans why we made the picks and why they should have come true, but ultimately didn’t.

Upon further review, this year proved to be no different.

Several predictions fell well short of expectations but to be fair, we were pretty close on a few. We just ask that you don’t alert the authorities at Freezing Cold Takes about the ones we missed badly on.

Here are the latest results with the verdict from each prediction.

2021 NBA draft class: Final rookie stat leaders for the 2021-22 season

Rookie Wire took a look back at which first-year players were among the leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists and more.

With the 2021-22 regular season wrapped up, observers of the NBA can now take a look back at the year that was and evaluate how each player performed, including the rookie class.

The group played at a high level throughout the season with several individuals emerging as potential future All-Stars. As a result, the Rookie of the Year voting is expected to be highly competitive with as many as five players in the running to win.

Rookie Wire took a look back at how the class performed and which players were among the leaders in key statistical categories, including scoring, rebounding and assists.

Note: Stat leaders are according to NBA.com.

Paolo Banchero dropped 22 points amidst cramping issues in Duke debut

Banchero needed an IV in the second half but still managed to score 22 points in his debut as Duke defeated Kentucky.

Trevor Keels produced a team-high 25 points, Paolo Banchero battled through cramping issues but still managed to score 22 points on Tuesday to lead the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils to a win over the 10th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

Banchero left the contest briefly in the second half to receive treatment, and was among four Blue Devils players to deal with cramps. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Banchero, along with Wendell Moore Jr., received IVs inside of the locker room.

The cramping, Banchero said, was the first of its kind.

I’ve never cramped that early in a game. I have cramped before. It’s not really a problem for me. I gotta figure out why that was. I thought I was pretty hydrated. It wasn’t fun but it is what it is. You gotta adjust and Trev and the rest of the team stepped up and we were able to pull it out.

The first look at Banchero with the Blue Devils only further ignited the immense hype surrounding him. He showed precisely why he is considered to be a potential No. 1 overall pick next year in the NBA draft, and dazzled during his time on the court.

Banchero connected on 7-of-11 shot attempts from the field, going 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. He had his mid-range shot working, often creating space with his patented jab-step move, while he was also able to finish strong at the rim.

The effort was further highlighted in a primetime win over Kentucky.

Seeing that clock hit zero with us with more points than them was a relief. We wanted to get this win, especially for Coach in the first game. It was a big game for us coming in. We felt like we had a chance to make a statement with this game and come out and play well.

While Banchero put up a strong effort in his debut, Keels stole the show after emerging as the leading shot-creator for the Blue Devils throughout the game. He is considered to be a mid-to-late first-round pick next year but could improve that stock with more performances like on Tuesday.

His 25 points were tied for the third-most in a debut under Coach K.

With Banchero and Keels leading the way this season, along with A.J. Griffin and Mark Williams, Duke will likely be one of the top teams in the country this season. They certainly showed just how powerful they can be against the Wildcats.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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2021 NBA Draft: A complete tracker of every rookie shoe deal

Rookie Wire took a look at the players that have signed endorsement contracts with apparel companies ahead of the 2021-22 season.

With the start of the 2021-22 season approaching, at least a quarter of players drafted in July have inked shoe endorsement contracts with prospective apparel companies.

The endorsement deals are headlined by Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham signing with Nike. The No. 1 overall pick signed what is believed to be the highest-earning shoe deal among all rookie players this year.

Prospects last season signed fewer endorsement contracts with brands due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, apparel companies worked fast this year to sign some of the top prospects with Nike and Adidas doing the majority of the work.

Rookie Wire took a look at those players that have signed endorsement contracts to this point and which companies they will be joining ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Note: The tracker will be updated as new deals are announced

‘It’s surreal’: Cade Cunningham honored to be compared to Grant Hill

The No. 1 overall pick views it as an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Hill.

No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham on Friday was honored by some comparisons he has drawn to Hall of Famer and former Detroit Pistons legend Grant Hill.

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said during the pre-draft process that he understands the comparisons to Hill. The two players are each similar in size and height and both play mostly the same type of style given their versatility.

In addition to Hill, some even believe Cunningham has the upside of Luka Doncic, and others view him as the most complete player entering the NBA since LeBron James. Just to even be mentioned along those players is an honor for Cunningham.

Hearing my name in sentences with guys like that, it’s surreal knowing that they are legends and some of the best guys to ever play the game. I think it gives me more confidence to know that Troy Weaver is the guy that knows basketball, so, for him to put a name like that besides my name, it gives me the confidence to know that I can get to that point and that’s something I can achieve at that level. I’m blessed to be in this position. I’m happy that the Pistons took me with this pick and I’m excited to contribute to what they got going on as much as I can.

Cunningham, who will turn 20 in September, averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 27 games with the Cowboys. He became the first player in program history to be named to the Associated Press All-American First Team.

Of course, the lofty comparisons to Hill and others certainly mean Cunningham has immense potential in the NBA. He still has plenty of room to grow to reach that level, but the Pistons could have themselves a perennial All-Star on their hands.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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2021 NBA Summer League: Complete roster tracker for each team

Rookie Wire took a look at every NBA team and where their rosters stand ahead of summer league.

Now that the NBA draft has wrapped up, teams and players will now turn to free agency and the start of summer league next week across three different cities.

Of course, the Las Vegas Summer League features all 30 teams and will run Aug. 8-17 on the campus of UNLV. Teams will each play five games apiece during the 10-day, 75-game schedule with contests broadcast on ESPN or NBA TV.

Four teams — Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and two Jazz squads — will compete in the Salt Lake City Summer League Aug. 3-6. In addition, the California Classic will run Aug. 3-4 and feature the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat.

With dozens of notable players going undrafted, those individuals will now work to sign with teams or join summer league rosters in an attempt to earn contracts. Immediately following the draft, several players began joining teams with summer league next week.

Rookie Wire took a look at each team and where their rosters stand ahead of summer league based on announcements or reporting. We will continue to update the rosters as information becomes available.

Note: Rosters include drafted players, though that does not guarantee every draftee will play. Each player listed includes their previous team or school.

2021 NBA Draft grades and analysis for all 60 picks

With the NBA draft in the books, Rookie Wire went through and graded all 60 picks.

The NBA draft is officially in the books as 60 prospects heard their names called by teams after a long and grueling process between workouts, interviews and other training.

Of course, the evening had some twists and turns with teams executing trades and other related moves. The draft saw some players taken in their projected range, while others went higher or lower than initially expected to make for one entertaining event.

After the NBA held the draft virtually last year, the festivities returned to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and allowed for some incredible moments. From players’ suits to some wholesome family moments, it was nice to see things return to some form of normalcy.

Now that we’ve had some time to evaluate the picks and trades from Thursday, Rookie Wire went through and graded all 60 picks in the NBA draft.

Magic pick Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs with No. 5 overall pick

Suggs will head to Orlando and join an organization in the beginning stages of a rebuild.

The Orlando Magic selected guard Jalen Suggs from Gonzaga University with the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Suggs was named a consensus second-team All-American after averaging 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals in 30 games. He helped lead the Zags to the national title game after draining the game-winning shot over UCLA in the Final Four.

The selection of Suggs was rather surprising since many had him going to the Toronto Raptors with the fourth pick. Suggs will instead head to Orlando and join an organization in the beginning stages of a rebuild after trading several of its veteran players last season.

Suggs has been highly touted as a potential franchise-changing type of prospect given his skillset as a point guard and ability to lead his team. He is also regarded as one of the most competitive players in the draft class, one that could help the Magic reach the next level.

The 6-foot-4 standout this week warned teams that they will regret passing on him. He cited his ability on the court and success at every level to this point as reasons why he should be taken high in the draft. He also said he won’t forget those teams that skipped over him.

Certainly, the Magic heeded his warning earlier this week.

Suggs believes there isn’t one weakness in his game that teams can pick apart and is eager to prove those wrong that passed on him. His addition to the Magic that, while a bit surprising, should prove to be one that is talked about for years to come.

Suggs is confident in his abilities and firmly believes as though he will emerge as one of the best players from this class. Certainly, the Magic are willing to bet on him.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Raptors take Florida State guard Scottie Barnes with No. 4 pick

Barnes improved his stock over the past month and climbed up draft boards to eventually be taken with the fourth pick by Toronto.

On Thursday, the Toronto Raptors selected guard Scottie Barnes from Florida State University with the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Barnes, who was named the ACC Freshman of the Year, averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 assists, four rebounds and 1.5 steals in 24 games with the Seminoles. He has drawn comparisons to Draymond Green given his ability on defense and willingness to do the little things on the court.

The 6-foot-8 standout turned in a strong pre-draft process during workouts and interviews with teams. He greatly improved his draft stock over the past month and climbed up boards to eventually be taken with the fourth pick by Toronto.

Barnes emerged as a very good playmaker with FSU and had plenty of flashy passes throughout the season. He considers himself a point guard, but he believes he can play every position on the floor in certain situations given his skillset.

The selection of Barnes caught some by surprise but it is clear the Raptors got themselves a high competitor and a player capable of impacting games on both ends of the floor.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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