Ben Wallace Breaks Detroit Pistons' 36-Year NBA Draft Lottery Curse

The Detroit Pistons will be the first team to pick in the NBA Draft for the first time in half a century after winning the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night.

It marked the first time since the Draft Lottery was introduced in 1985 that the Pistons have secured the No. 1 pick.

While the outcome was down to a combination of pure luck and Detroit being one of the worst three teams in the NBA last season, former Pistons great Ben Wallace deserved all the credit in the eyes of Twitter.

Big Ben, who was named into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last month, was selected by the Pistons to be their representative in the lottery drawing, which aired on ESPN.

As one of the worst three teams last season, along with the Houston Rockets and the Orlando Magic, the Pistons had a 14 percent chance of landing the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Detroit did indeed claim the top spot, followed by the Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, with the Magic rounding up the top-five.

It did not take long for Wallace's appearance during the Draft Lottery to become instant meme material, with the four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year singled out as the reason for the Pistons landing the number-one pick.

Ben Wallace will make sure this happens.

— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) June 23, 2021

Ben Wallace goated

— Colton Pouncy (@colton_pouncy) June 23, 2021

"What pick in the #NBADraft did the Detroit Pistons get tonight?"

Ben Wallace: pic.twitter.com/BXuc4cxSAl

— Backcourt Violation (@backcourtv) June 23, 2021

Speaking to the Detroit Free Press ahead of the lottery, Detroit general manager Troy Weaver said Wallace, who won the 2004 NBA title with the Pistons, was the perfect man to represent the franchise.

"He epitomizes everything that we want to represent in this organization," he said. "He's a symbol for our players to look to. He represents the city in a first-class manner."

Weaver's choice proved to be an inspired one, as the Pistons landed the first overall pick for the first time since they drafted Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier out of St. Bonaventure in 1970.

As always, Ben Wallace was the correct answer for the Pistons.

— Dave Hogg ✨ (@stareagle) June 23, 2021

We need to retire Ben Wallace’s number again.

— Tony Dombrowski (@tonydombrowski) June 23, 2021

This year's first overall pick will be the first time the Pistons have picked in the top five since selecting Darko Milicic second overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, and only their third since 1994, when they drafted Grant Hill with the third overall pick.

Last year, the Pistons picked three players in the first round, selecting Killian Hayes with the seventh pick and then drafting Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey with the 16th and 19th overall picks respectively.

Bar a major surprise, Detroit is expected to use the pick to select Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, who is widely predicted to be the No. 1 overall pick at the NBA Draft on July 29. On Tuesday, ESPN reported the Pistons are the only team Cunningham plans to visit before the draft.

Weaver, however, remained non-committal.

"Obviously we get to add another wing player to the restoration process," he told the broadcaster.

"We're excited to be in this position. But it means that we've got a lot of work to do, and we're going to be diligent about it. But it always helps to be able to add the No. 1 pick."

The rest of the top 10 picks include the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Golden State Warriors and the Magic—which will receive the Minnesota Timberwolves' selection and the Chicago Bulls' picks respectively—the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and the Warriors—with their own selection—completed the 14 lottery picks.

Former Detroit Pistons player Ben Wallace
Former Detroit Pistons star Ben Wallace attends the game between the Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks at Little Caesars Arena on January 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Cassy Athena/Getty Images