By Adam Thompson | | 9 mins
NBA Draft Odds No. 1 Pick: Who Pistons Are Favored To Take
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The Detroit Pistons own the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Pistons, who went 20-52 in the 2020-21 NBA season, won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, leapfrogging the Houston Rockets (17-55), who had the best chance to land the top selection.
On the surface, there appears to be little NBA betting drama as to who the Pistons will select. Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, a 6-foot-8 point guard/shooting guard hybrid, is the overwhelming pick among oddsmakers with top sportsbooks to have his name called first by NBA commissioner Adam Silver on July 29.
2021 NBA Draft No. 1 Overall Pick Odds
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Why Cade Cunningham?
Cunningham has the size of Ben Simmons but with a shot-making, shot-creating, point-guard-mentality overall game that has been compared to Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum. That’s high praise, and a skillset that would make any NBA general manager excited.
Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his one college season, but he was consistently double-teamed as a point guard. Cunningham should have more room to flourish in the NBA.
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The Pistons already have a point guard after drafting Killian Hayes in the first round last year. Cunningham can be a second playmaker, good enough to be a shooting guard when Hayes is on the court and capable of running the show when he’s not. On a team void of playmakers, Cunningham will stand out immediately.
The Case For Anyone Else
Cunningham is the massive favorite at betting sites, but does that mean there isn’t a case for anyone else in the draft? Not necessarily.
Perhaps Cunningham doesn’t have the best workouts leading up to the draft. There’s also consideration that the Pistons have greater needs – and that is true. While Detroit could be content at point guard (Hayes) and power forward (Jerami Grant), the other three starting spots are wide open, with SG Wayne Ellington, SF Saddiq Bey and C Mason Plumlee currently holding the fort.
Evan Mobley may be the second-best NBA futures option to go No. 1. Mobley, the 7-foot center out of USC, has a skillset similar to James Wiseman, who went No. 2 last year to the Warriors.
But Mobley is considered more polished with a better offensive game and a quickness that allowed him to defend every spot on the floor.
Jalen Green is another intriguing case. Green was a superstar in high school, getting compared to the legendary Kobe Bryant, before eschewing college to play on the inaugural G League Ignite prospects team. He averaged 17.9 ppg this season on 46% shooting in the developmental league.
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Jonathan Kuminga, a 6-6 wing, was the No. 1 high school prospect as a junior, then reclassified to join the G League early. He averaged 15.8 ppg but on 38.7% shooting including 24% on 3-pointers.
Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga was a star and leader as the Bulldogs’ 6-3 PG but surely Cunningham will be the first PG taken. Australian Josh Giddey is considered the top international prospect, but if the Pistons are going to pick a 6-8 PG, it’s going to be Cunningham.
No. 1 Pick Prediction
There are several players in the 2021 NBA Draft who have the potential to be Day 1 starters. But Cade Cunningham has the makeup to be much more. Not only does he have the skillset, he has the face-of-the-franchise potential worth a No. 1 overall pick. Let’s not overthink this one – Cunningham is as close to a can’t miss product as there is in the field. Barring something wildly unforeseen, he is going to be the No. 1 pick. Take Cunningham at -800 before those NBA betting odds rise even higher.