BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WLNS) – The surprise element for the Detroit Pistons and the No. 1 overall pick going into Thursday night’s 2021 NBA Draft was thrown out the window at around 3 p.m. in the afternoon once it was reported they would be selecting Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news and low and behold that’s what happened at the Barclays Center at 8 o’clock when the Pistons were on the clock.
It’s been a long time since Detroit has had the luxury of picking at No. 1 overall and the last time they did in 1970 they drafted Hall of Fame big man Bob Lanier. That was 51 years ago.
So, Cunningham can now say he is a part of history. However, it’s not the only history the dynamic 6-foot-8 guard is hoping to make in Detroit.
“I’m so excited to have this hat on right now,” said Cunningham. “It’s still pretty surreal to me. You know I know how much responsibility comes with being the No. 1 pick. I know how much responsibility the city will put on the guy that they take No. 1, but you know I’m more than excited to take on those tasks and you know try to deliver to the city of Detroit.”
In the second round the Pistons decided to go with two players from the Big Ten Conference and one of them is going to be continuing his pro career in his home state of Michigan. Former Wolverine Isaiah Livers, who also played his high school ball in Kalamazoo, was drafted at No. 42 overall. Then at No. 52 Weaver went with the national player of the year in Iowa’s Luka Garza.
Additionally, Michigan’s Franz Wagner didn’t have to wait very long to hear his name at the Barclays Center. The Wolverines’ versatile wing was selected by the Orlando Magic at No. 8 which means he’s going to be reunited with someone he knows quite well. His older brother, Moritz Wagner, also plays for the Magic. However, Franz will have the bragging rights. He is now the Wolverines’ highest draft pick since Nick Stauskas in 2014.