Detroit Pistons select Cade Cunningham first overall in 2021 NBA draft

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Ultimately, the most straightforward option for the Detroit Pistons also proved to be the best.

The Pistons selected Oklahoma State standout Cade Cunningham with the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft Thursday night. Cunningham was widely considered to be the best prospect in a stacked draft, being a do-it-all 6-foot-8 point guard with elite shooting and vision. And he will become the face of a franchise that hasn't won a playoff game since 2008, but is trending upward after a promising rebuild season.

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Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season while shooting 40% from 3. He was one of the best clutch scorers in all of college basketball, and draft analysts see few holes in his offensive game.

While addressing the media last Friday, Cunningham made it clear that Detroit was his preferred destination. General manager Troy Weaver, vice chairman Arn Tellem and head coach Dwane Casey had a good meeting with Cunningham in New York on Wednesday evening, per sources.

"I love Detroit," Cunningham said last week. "I’ve already been listening to Detroit music and things like that, way before the draft lottery, any of that stuff. I was already hip to the culture in Detroit. It’s a city that has a lot of things going on and I feel like getting the sports team rolling again would be huge for the city. Detroit fits me, that’s the main thing I’m going to try to do is step in and embody the swag that people from Detroit walk with, the people from Michigan in general. They have an underdog, go-get-what-you-want feel to them and I like that about the city. If I am able to go in there and be the number one pick, I’m going to try to carry that same swag in how I walk on the court and make the most out of it and wear the red, white and blue for sure."

Cunningham is the first number one pick in franchise history since Bob Lanier in 1970.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons select Cade Cunningham 1st in 2021 NBA draft

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