Detroit Pistons: 1 week from NBA Draft, all signs point to Cade

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham (2) during of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham (2) during of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

We’re just one week from the NBA Draft, and there’s little mystery about what the Pistons will be doing -- but what about the other three picks the team owns?


Hey, Pistons fans! Welcome back to another Pivot newsletter. The NBA Finals are done and we’re officially in draft season. Congrats to the Milwaukee Bucks, who the Pistons once had a lead on at halftime of a playoff game a few years ago, on winning their first NBA title in 50 years.

I’m happy for the Bucks. The way Giannis Antetokounmpo played down the stretch in the finals, putting the entire team and city on his back, and refusing the lose -- it was inspiring to watch. And former Piston forward Khris Middleton winning a ring was nice, too. All around, it was a great finals -- and I think we’ve got some great young talent emerging as the next set of dynasty-level stars. And now, the offseason.


👀 One week from draft night

In the last newsletter, I warned you about NBA lying season -- the Pistons and expected top pick Cade Cunningham were at the center of the rumor mill. Things have cooled off a bit since then.

Cade was spotted at Comerica Park earlier this week, prompting “We Want Cade” chants from Tigers fans. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Cunningham, along with Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs, two other projected top-5 picks, were participating in private workouts with Detroit.

Here’s the key -- Cunningham is not planning on attending any other workouts with any other teams. Get out that Pistons hat, friends. Cade is probably not allowed to leave the city.

Cunningham, who will be 20 when the NBA season starts this fall, is from Arlington, Texas. He’s a 6′8″ point guard who averaged 20 points per game and shot 40% from the three point line in his one year with Oklahoma State last season.

Cunningham is only the fourth Big 12 player to win Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 Freshman of the Year, joining Kevin Durant (maybe you’ve heard of him), Marcus Smart and Michael Beasley.

Cunningham led the U.S. team to gold in the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, leading all scorers in the championship game with 21 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds.

Read more: NBA Draft: What to know about Cade Cunningham, likely No. 1 pick for Pistons

Through a flurry of trades over the last couple of years, the Pistons also have THREE second-round picks in this draft. Ironically, none of the picks are even their own. The Pistons dealt away their own second-round pick, but have acquired three others during Troy Weaver’s whirlwind of roster moves. (Honestly, it’s mind boggling -- read about how this happened here)

Detroit owns the 37th, 42nd and 52nd overall picks, all from trades.

So what will they do with all these picks? The most obvious answer here is -- they should/could/probably will use them as trade chips. Pistons GM Troy Weaver was the biggest wheeler and dealer of the draft last year, and with three second-round picks at his disposal, it would be shocking if he didn’t flip some of them into another pick or player.

Things are going to move quickly in the next couple of weeks -- the NBA Draft is July 29, and then free agency negotiating season begins on Aug. 2. The Pistons should have a few dollars to play with, but I highly doubt Troy is breaking out the checkbook this year.

The Pistons will have to decide on some of its own pending free agents, including second-year point guard Saben Lee, Dennis Smith Jr. and Hamidou Diallo, both acquired by trade last season, and guard Frank Jackson, who shot the ball really well to end last season.


🏀 Shoot your shot

Thanks for reading the Pistons Pivot Newsletter. Feel free to reach out with any comments or ideas you have about the team -- or just to say hello. Until next time,

- Ken Haddad (Contact me: Email | Twitter)

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About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.