Terrence Clark, 19, posthumously picked at NBA Draft: Cade Cunningham goes first to Pistons

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham was taken first overall by the Detroit Pistons at Thursday’s NBA Draft, but the star of the evening was Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke, who was posthumously selected by the league after dying in a car crash in April. 

Silver announced that Clarke honored Clarke at Brooklyn’s Barclays center on Thursday night before inviting his surviving family on stage. Clarke’s mother Osmine was visibly crying as she walked in from the crowd amid calls of ‘Terrence! Terrence!’

‘I want to take a moment to remind everyone that this would have been Terrence Clarke’s big night as well,’ tweeted Kentucky coach John Calipari about the Boston native. ‘Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, his mom, Osmine, and their family. I can only imagine how wide that smile of his would have been hearing his name called.’

NBA commissioner Adam Silver honors deceased Kentucky player Terrence Clarke during the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center

NBA commissioner Adam Silver honors deceased Kentucky player Terrence Clarke during the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center

NBA commissioner Adam Silver honors deceased Kentucky player Terrence Clarke during the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center

Silver escorts relatives of former Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke after a tribute to Clarke during the NBA basketball draft

Silver escorts relatives of former Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke after a tribute to Clarke during the NBA basketball draft

Silver escorts relatives of former Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke after a tribute to Clarke during the NBA basketball draft

Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number one overall pick by the Detroit Pistons

Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number one overall pick by the Detroit Pistons

Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number one overall pick by the Detroit Pistons

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, center, poses for a photo with players projected to be first round draft picks before the NBA basketball draft

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, center, poses for a photo with players projected to be first round draft picks before the NBA basketball draft

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, center, poses for a photo with players projected to be first round draft picks before the NBA basketball draft

FIRST-ROUND NBA DRAFT PICKS & PROJECTED ROOKIE SALARIES

1. Detroit Pistons – Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham ($8,131,200)

2. Houston Rockets – G League guard Jalen Green ($7,275,200)

3. Cleveland Cavaliers – USC center Evan Mobley ($6,533,300)

4. Toronto Raptors – Florida State forward Scottie Barnes ($5,890,300)

5. Orlando Magic – Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs ($5,334,100) 

6. Oklahoma City Thunder – Australian guard Josh Giddey ($4,844,700)

7. Golden State Warriors – G League forward Jonathan Kuminga ($4,422,600) 

8. Orlando Magic – Michigan forward Franz Wagner ($4,051,700)

9. Sacramento Kings – Baylor guard Davion Mitchell ($3,724,300) 

10. New Orleans Pelicans (pick reportedly expected to be traded to Memphis Grizzlies) – Stanford guard Ziaire Williams ($3,538,100)

11. Charlotte Hornets – Connecticut guard James Bouknight ($3,361,200) 

12. San Antonio Spurs – Alabama guard Joshua Primo ($3,193,200)

13. Indiana Pacers –  Oregon guard Chris Duarte ($3,033,500)

14. Golden State Warriors – Arkansas guard Moses Moody ($2,882,000) 

15. Washington Wizards – Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert ($2,737,600) 

16. Oklahoma City Thunder (pick reportedly expected to be traded to Houston Rockets) – Turkish center Alperen Sengun ($2,600,900)

17. Memphis Grizzlies (pick reportedly expected to be traded to New Orleans Pelicans) – Virginia forward Trey Murphy III ($2,470,700) 

18. Oklahoma City Thunder – Florida guard Tre Mann ($2,347,300) 

19. New York Knicks (pick reportedly expected to be traded to the Charlotte Hornets) – Texas forward Kai Jones ($2,241,600)

20. Atlanta Hawks – Duke forward Jalen Johnson ($2,151,800) 

21. New York Knicks (pick reportedly expected to be traded to Los Angeles Clippers) – Tennessee guard Keon Johnson ($2,065,700)

22. Los Angeles Lakers – Kentucky forward Isaiah Jackson ($1,983,200) 

First-year NBA salaries are predetermined by the NBA’s rookie salary scale

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There was also a tearful moment on Thursday when commissioner Adam Silver honored Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke, who died in a car crash in April while preparing for the draft. 'I want to take a moment to remind everyone that this would have been Terrence Clarke's big night as well,' tweeted Kentucky coach John Calipari. 'Not a day goes by that I don't think about him, his mom, Osmine, and their family. I can only imagine how wide that smile of his would have been hearing his name called'

There was also a tearful moment on Thursday when commissioner Adam Silver honored Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke, who died in a car crash in April while preparing for the draft. 'I want to take a moment to remind everyone that this would have been Terrence Clarke's big night as well,' tweeted Kentucky coach John Calipari. 'Not a day goes by that I don't think about him, his mom, Osmine, and their family. I can only imagine how wide that smile of his would have been hearing his name called'

There was also a tearful moment on Thursday when commissioner Adam Silver honored Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke, who died in a car crash in April while preparing for the draft. ‘I want to take a moment to remind everyone that this would have been Terrence Clarke’s big night as well,’ tweeted Kentucky coach John Calipari. ‘Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, his mom, Osmine, and their family. I can only imagine how wide that smile of his would have been hearing his name called’

As for the rest of the NBA Draft, Cunningham had been expected to go first overall to the Pistons. He was followed by the G League’s Jalen Green, who went second to the Houston Rockets, USC center Evan Mobley, who was picked third by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Florida State’s Scottie Barnes, who was taken fourth by the Toronto Raptors, and the fifth-overall pick by the Orlando Magic, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. 

In a surprise move, the Oklahoma City Thunder took Australia’s Josh Giddey with the sixth pick.

The 18-year-old Giddey, a 6-foot-8 guard from Melbourne, Australia, attended the NBA Global Academy in 2019-20 and played last season for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League. He was named the league’s rookie of the year after averaging 10.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and a league-best 7.6 assists per game. 

Should Giddey play for the Thunder next season, he’ll be the second teenager on the Thunder roster, joining Aleksej Pokusevski, who won’t turn 20 until December. The Thunder obtained Pokusevski, the 17th pick of the 2020 NBA draft, through a trade with Minnesota. 

Jalen Green is interviewed before the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday

Jalen Green is interviewed before the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday

Jalen Green is interviewed before the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday 

Cunningham had been expected to go first overall to the Pistons. The Oklahoma State one-and-done star could accomplish that goal Thursday night as the headliner of a class that includes scorers, playmakers and potentially elite defenders at the top. 'I've been saying for a long time,' Cunningham said, 'we have one of the best classes in a long time. And I'm really appreciative of the fact that we've all been pushing each other throughout us coming through high school and things like that'

Cunningham had been expected to go first overall to the Pistons. The Oklahoma State one-and-done star could accomplish that goal Thursday night as the headliner of a class that includes scorers, playmakers and potentially elite defenders at the top. 'I've been saying for a long time,' Cunningham said, 'we have one of the best classes in a long time. And I'm really appreciative of the fact that we've all been pushing each other throughout us coming through high school and things like that'

Cunningham had been expected to go first overall to the Pistons. The Oklahoma State one-and-done star could accomplish that goal Thursday night as the headliner of a class that includes scorers, playmakers and potentially elite defenders at the top. ‘I’ve been saying for a long time,’ Cunningham said, ‘we have one of the best classes in a long time. And I’m really appreciative of the fact that we’ve all been pushing each other throughout us coming through high school and things like that’

The draft is later than its traditional late-June slot for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the 2019-20 season. The 2021-22 season is scheduled to return to its normal schedule, with next year’s draft set for June again. 

Cunningham had been widely expected to be the first name called in New York, though Pistons general manager Troy Weaver wouldn’t reveal plans earlier this week and said the team would look at every scenario, including trades.

In a surprise move, the Oklahoma City Thunder took Australia's Josh Giddey sixth. The 18-year-old Giddey, a 6-foot-8 guard from Melbourne, Australia, attended the NBA Global Academy in 2019-20 and played last season for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia's National Basketball League. Should Giddey play for the Thunder next season, he'll be the second teenager on the Thunder roster, joining Aleksej Pokusevski, who won't turn 20 until December. The Thunder obtained Pokusevski, the 17th pick of the 2020 NBA draft, through a trade with Minnesota. The Thunder had two picks remaining in the first round - No. 16 and No. 18 - as well as three second-round picks

In a surprise move, the Oklahoma City Thunder took Australia's Josh Giddey sixth. The 18-year-old Giddey, a 6-foot-8 guard from Melbourne, Australia, attended the NBA Global Academy in 2019-20 and played last season for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia's National Basketball League. Should Giddey play for the Thunder next season, he'll be the second teenager on the Thunder roster, joining Aleksej Pokusevski, who won't turn 20 until December. The Thunder obtained Pokusevski, the 17th pick of the 2020 NBA draft, through a trade with Minnesota. The Thunder had two picks remaining in the first round - No. 16 and No. 18 - as well as three second-round picks

In a surprise move, the Oklahoma City Thunder took Australia’s Josh Giddey sixth. The 18-year-old Giddey, a 6-foot-8 guard from Melbourne, Australia, attended the NBA Global Academy in 2019-20 and played last season for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League. Should Giddey play for the Thunder next season, he’ll be the second teenager on the Thunder roster, joining Aleksej Pokusevski, who won’t turn 20 until December. The Thunder obtained Pokusevski, the 17th pick of the 2020 NBA draft, through a trade with Minnesota. The Thunder had two picks remaining in the first round – No. 16 and No. 18 – as well as three second-round picks

In the end, Detroit stuck with the 19-year-old mentioned as a potential top pick before ever stepping foot on the Oklahoma State campus.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound point guard from Arlington, Texas, lived up to expectations with his size and fluid game to become a first-team Associated Press All-American. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists with a game that allowed him to hit from 3-point range, score off the dribble or find teammates out of traps.

Cunningham attended the draft wearing a dark suit, shirt and tie with sparkles on his collars and cuffs. When the pick was announced, Cunningham kissed 2-year-old daughter Riley, sitting on his lap, hugged family members then took the stage alongside NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to don a blue Pistons hat.

Cunningham – the first player in Oklahoma State history to be picked No. 1 overall – joins a Pistons franchise that has won 20 games for two straight seasons and hasn’t finished better than .500 for five straight years.

Houston followed at No. 2 by grabbing preps-to-pros teenager Jalen Green, who bypassed college basketball to play in the G League. The 6-foot-6 Green averaged 17.9 points on 46% shooting 15 games, showing off high-flying dunks, a willingness to attack the rim and a promising shooting touch.

Cunningham and Green headline a class that included scorers, playmakers and potentially elite defenders at the top. That group included Southern California freshman big man Evan Mobley, Gonzaga freshman point guard Jalen Suggs and Florida State freshman forward Scottie Barnes.

Jalen Suggs hugs NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected fifth overall by Orlando

Jalen Suggs hugs NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected fifth overall by Orlando

Jalen Suggs hugs NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected fifth overall by Orlando

Jalen Suggs, who was picked fifth by the Orlando Magic on Thursday, delivered one of Match Madness' greatest moments ever with his half-court game-winning heave against UCLA

Jalen Suggs, who was picked fifth by the Orlando Magic on Thursday, delivered one of Match Madness' greatest moments ever with his half-court game-winning heave against UCLA

Jalen Suggs, who was picked fifth by the Orlando Magic on Thursday, delivered one of Match Madness’ greatest moments ever with his half-court game-winning heave against UCLA 

Green is Houston’s first first-round pick since the Rockets selected Sam Dekker with the 18th pick in 2015 and their highest pick since they took Yao Ming first overall in 2002.

The shooting guard comes to the Rockets after going straight from high school in California to the NBA G-League with the Ignite. The 6-foot-6, 186-pound Green averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game for the Ignite last season.

The 19-year-old was a McDonald’s All-American in 2020 after averaging 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and five assists a game as a high school senior at Prolific Prep.

Harden’s trade came after Houston shipped Russell Westbrook to Washington in December for John Wall and future draft picks.  

After Detroit took Cunningham first and went with Green, the Cavs nabbed the 20-year-old Mobley, a two-way talent who is just tapping into his potential.

Scottie Barnes (Florida State) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center

Scottie Barnes (Florida State) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center

Scottie Barnes (Florida State) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center

The 7-foot Mobley will join young guards Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and forward Isaac Okoro to give Cleveland a foundation to build from. The Cavs have been in disarray since LeBron James left as a free agent after the 2018 season.

There’s more reason for hope.

Shortly before the draft began, the Cavs agreed to acquire veteran point guard Ricky Rubio from Minnesota, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

Cleveland is sending small forward Taurean Prince, cash and a second-round pick in 2022 to the Timberwolves for the 30-year-old Rubio, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the NBA has to approve the swap.

The deal for Rubio came as he was in Tokyo playing for Spain’s Olympic team. He’ll give the Cavs a dependable backup at the point and a mentor for Garland and Sexton.

The Cavs felt as if they were in a no-lose situation with the third pick, the highest they’ve selected since taking Andrew Wiggins first overall in 2014 and then trading to him to Minnesota in the deal for Kevin Love.

They listened to numerous trade offers before holding on to the pick and taking Mobley, who led the Trojans to the Elite 8 last season. He averaged 16.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in his one college season and was named the Pac-12’s best player, top freshman and best defensive player.

Cleveland had a disappointing injury-riddled 2021 season, which ended with the Cavs losing 16 of their last 18 games to finish 22-50. They were never really in the playoff chase, but the team came away feeling good about the development of some of its young players.

Now they’ve got another one in Mobley, who has been compared to a young Chris Bosh.

James Bouknight steps off the stage after being selected 11th overall by the Charlotte Hornets

James Bouknight steps off the stage after being selected 11th overall by the Charlotte Hornets

James Bouknight steps off the stage after being selected 11th overall by the Charlotte Hornets

Chris Duarte, right, reacts after being selected as the 13th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers during the NBA draft, Thursday. Duarte, also a pitcher, can reportedly throw as fast as 90 mph

Chris Duarte, right, reacts after being selected as the 13th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers during the NBA draft, Thursday. Duarte, also a pitcher, can reportedly throw as fast as 90 mph

Chris Duarte, right, reacts after being selected as the 13th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers during the NBA draft, Thursday. Duarte, also a pitcher, can reportedly throw as fast as 90 mph

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