Cade Cunningham has been widely considered as the top prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft, but it’s not as clear cut for the Detroit Pistons.
In previous years, there has been a consensus top player to go No. 1 overall, with the most recent example being Zion Williamson in 2019.
Based on some of the chatter I heard over the course of this season, there was enough love for Cade Cunningham atop the draft that he felt easy to pencil in, regardless of who won the lottery. That no longer appears to be the case. In addition to Cunningham, league sources expect USC’s Evan Mobley and G League Ignite’s Jalen Green to receive serious consideration from the Pistons’ front office, led by general manager Troy Weaver. The strong sense I’ve gotten is that Detroit will explore all its options before committing one way or another, and that the decision on who to take is far from a done deal.
Pistons general manager Troy Weaver is regarded by his peers as a “freethinker” and known to do what he believes, rather than follow consensus thought.
Weaver didn’t initially commit to Cunningham after the lottery, saying that the team would look into multiple players in the pre-draft process and also wouldn’t rule out even trading the pick.
“We have to look at improving this team by any means necessary,” Weaver told reporters during his post-lottery media availability.
Weaver is also a believer in the value of big men in today’s NBA and was said to be “bullish” on James Wiseman in last year’s draft.
That thinking has some around the league believing that Mobley will get a serious look with the No. 1 pick.
Others believe that Green, a high-upside scorer, would be an ideal fit for the team’s roster.
Time will tell what the Pistons ultimately decide to do, but “many in the know have cautioned to expect the unexpected,” according to Woo.
Along with the No. 1 overall pick, the Pistons have three other selections (Nos. 37, 42, 52) in this summer’s draft and are one of five teams that currently have at least four picks, joining the Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.