2021 NBA Draft – Detroit Pistons make it official, take Cade Cunningham with the # 1 total choose within the NBA Draft

8:10 p.m. ET

  • Tim BontempsESPN

The Detroit Pistons opened the 2021 NBA draft Thursday night by capturing Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham, a 6-foot-8 security guard from Dallas, is now being asked to try to get the Pistons back into the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has reached the postseason three times in the past 12 seasons, but has not won a single playoff game for the sixth consecutive year in the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth consecutive year.

The Pistons will hope this can finally change after, with a bit of luck, last month they received the best overall pick in the NBA draft lottery for the first time since 1970. That year, Detroit designed a future Hall of Famer at the St. Bonaventure Center Bob Lanier.

The 2021 NBA draft is underway with Cade Cunningham becoming number 1 after Detroit. Draftcast: Analysis, picks as they happen

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The Pistons will be thrilled to get close to the same result this time around as Cunningham joins a squad that includes some formidable players from last year’s draft in striker Saddiq Bey and center Isaiah Stewart, as well as last year’s free agent Jerami Grant. who is currently playing with Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

While Cunningham’s pick was officially drafted, action started much earlier on Thursday, with multiple trades being closed or close to closing.

One of them was from the Pistons themselves, as announced by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Detroit would supply the Center Mason Plumlee along with the No. 37 overall pick for the No. 57 selection to the Charlotte Hornets. The Philadelphia 76ers, on the other hand, paid cash to purchase the number 53 from the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Brooklyn Nets sent Landry Shamet to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the number 29 pick and guard Jevon Carter.

All of these deals, however, were dwarfed by what Wojnarowski reported, who would send former Washington Wizards MVP Russell Westbrook to his hometown of Los Angeles Lakers for a package with striker Kyle Kuzma, guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Center to get reflections on Montrezl Harrell and Draft Pick.

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