Cade Cunningham was informed he will be drafted first overall in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night, per multiple reports.
Cunningham, a shooting guard from Oklahoma State, played one season in Stillwater and was one of the top-rated recruits in the Class of 2020 before leading the Cowboys to the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
The Pistons last drafted No. 1 overall in 1970 and picked Bob Lanier.
Cunningham is 6-foot-8 with a nearly 7-foot wingspan and at just 19 years old, gives Detroit a building block with a versatile skill set.
The team’s leading scorer — 20.1 points per game — last season, he averaged 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 27 games at Oklahoma State, but also averaged 4.0 turnovers.
The Pistons drafted a point guard in the lottery in 2020, but the No. 7 overall pick Killian Hayes tore the labrum in his hip in January. He’s rehabbing and general manager Troy Weaver said Wednesday he expected Hayes to contribute in 2021-22.
Pistons Haunted By Blake Griffin Contract
Detroit’s rebuild is complicated by nearly $34 million in dead cap money for the 2021-22 season. The majority of that space goes to Blake Griffin, whose scheduled $29.8 million base salary for the upcoming season counts against the Pistons.
Even so, Weaver said the Pistons would be actively involved in the free agency period starting Monday.
The team’s highest-paid player is forward Jerami Grant, who is heading into the second year of a three-year $60 million deal signed last November.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)