Pistons select Cunningham with No. 1 pick

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham was taken as pick No.1 by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA draft.
Camera IconOklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham was taken as pick No.1 by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA draft. Credit: AP

The Detroit Pistons have selected Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham with the top pick of the 2021 NBA draft.

Cunningham, 19, was named the Big 12 Player of the Year after his one season with the Cowboys and joins a Pistons squad that picked three players in the first round of last year's draft.

He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists with a game that allowed him to hit from three-point range, score off the dribble or find teammates out of traps.

Cunningham - the first player in Oklahoma State history to be picked No.1 overall - joins a Pistons franchise that has won 20 games for two straight seasons and hasn't finished better than .500 for five straight years.

The Texas native said he could not have achieved his dreams without the support of his parents and two-year-old daughter Riley, whom he kissed on the cheek after his name was called by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

"I know my name was the first name called but I didn't do this by myself. I have a No.1 pick family," said an emotional Cunningham.

"She's my biggest motivation," he said of Riley. "She's taught me way more than I could ever teach her, but I think this is a good step for me.

"Detroit, I'm all the way in. Let's do it!"

The Houston Rockets selected Jalen Green with the second overall pick.

Green joins a team that is rebuilding after sinking to an NBA-worst 17-55 last season after James Harden forced a trade to Brooklyn to end a streak of eight consecutive playoff trips.

Green is Houston's first first-round pick since the Rockets selected Sam Dekker with the 18th pick in 2015 and their highest pick since they took Yao Ming first overall in 2002.

Desperate to add an All-Star-calibre player to rocket them back to contention, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected USC centre Evan Mobley with the No.3 overall pick.

The 20-year-old Mobley will join young guards Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and forward Isaac Okoro to give Cleveland a foundation to build from.

The Cavs have been in disarray since LeBron James left as a free agent after the 2018 season.

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