Pistons Open to Trading No. 1 Pick in 2021 NBA Draft Amid Cade Cunningham Rumors

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2021

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham (2)advances the ball during an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

After winning the 2021 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, the Detroit Pistons are open to trading the No. 1 overall pick. 

According to Rod Beard of the Detroit News, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said Wednesday that trading the top pick is "an option."

Per The Athletic's James Edwards III, Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham is the likely pick for Detroit if it stands pat, although G League Ignite guard Jalen Green and USC center Evan Mobley are under "strong consideration" by the Pistons as well.

Cunningham was considered the odds-on favorite to go first overall in the 2021 draft throughout the 2020-21 season, and he did little to change that perception.

In 27 games for the Cowboys, Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals, while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.

CBS Sports @CBSSports

Cade Cunningham spinning and scoring 🌪 https://t.co/PtuvKz4XmL

The 6'8" native of Arlington, Texas, showed off his versatility and ability to impact games as a scorer and distributor from the point guard position, making him a natural fit for the NBA.

Detroit selected point guard Killian Hayes with the No. 7 overall pick in last year's draft, but he has a long way to go offensively after averaging just 6.8 points per game as a rookie and shooting only 35.3 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc.

If the Pistons want someone who is more of a complement to Hayes than a potential replacement, Green might make more sense as the pick.

The talented shooting guard was among the best players in the G League this past season, averaging 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 three-pointers made and 1.5 steals per game in 15 contests, while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from deep.

Selecting Mobley would add to a stable of bigs that already includes Isaiah Stewart, Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee.

Mobley was dominant during his one season at USC, as the 7-footer put up 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. He also shot 57.8 percent from the field.

If the Pistons do trade out of the No. 1 slot, they would likely be trading the pick to someone who wants Cunningham. Detroit would then perhaps put itself in position to take Green or Mobley.

The last time the No. 1 overall pick was traded was in 2017 when the Boston Celtics traded down from first to third with the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly took guard Markelle Fultz, while Boston selected forward Jayson Tatum.

Fultz lasted two injury-plagued seasons with the Sixers before getting traded to the Orlando Magic, while Tatum is a two-time All-Star, a member of the 2021 United States Olympic team and one of the best young forwards in the sport.

There is enough talent at the top of the draft for Detroit to consider trading down, although doing so and watching Cunningham become an elite guard would be a tough pill to swallow for a team with just two playoff appearances and no series wins over the past 13 seasons.


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