Detroit Pistons and the 2021 NBA draft: Everything you need to know

Detroit Free Press

It’s the Detroit Pistons‘ night, and everyone is watching.

Finally, the long-awaited 2021 NBA draft is here, and the Pistons will be adding a potential franchise changing-talent to the roster. They enter Thursday with the No. 1 pick — they last picked No. 1 overall in 1970, taking St. Bonaventure center Bob Lanier — and it would be a stunning move if they did anything other than draft Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham. General manager Troy Weaver also has three second-round picks at his disposal as he enters his second year at the helm, and showed last year not to count out a big surprise on draft night.

There will be wild rumors, surprise trades involving veteran players and picks and more.

And free agency “negotiations” begin Monday at 6 p.m., just four days after the draft, though moves can’t become official until Aug. 6.

Our Pistons beat writer Omari Sankofa II has been chronicling the team and NBA all year round, so make sure to follow him on Twitter: @omarisankofa.

Let’s get you prepped for the big week ahead with some of the key stories:

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Best reads

So who’s the pick? Weaver didn’t spill the beans just hours before the big da

Winning the June lottery is already paying off big-time for the Pistons off the court.

Drafting Cade Cunningham is the consensus decision at No. 1, but his professed excitement and love for Detroit makes this a slam dunk, no-brainer.

Don’t expect upheaval like last year, but Troy Reaper has the tools to navigate and create some cap space despite the roster crunch.

Trading back into the first round wouldn’t be a huge surprise, as the Pistons have ammo with three 2021 second-round picks and some interesting veterans. Here are three trades they could swing.

Addressing three roster needs in the second round and which players fit those openings.

The Pistons have five free agents, four restricted so we predict who stays and who goes, and their contract value.

You have questions, Omari has answers in his latest mailbag, tackling all sorts of juicy story lines in this free-flowing conversational breakdown.

Detroit’s Big Four have a checkered past with previous No. 1 picks. A look at the city’s hits and misses with the top pick.

2021 NBA draft

When: Thursday.

Time: 8 p.m.

TV/streaming: ABC, ESPN, ESPN app,, ESPN+.

Pistons’ picks: 1, 37, 42, 52.

Top 10 picks: 1. Detroit. 2. Houston. 3. Cleveland. 4. Toronto. 5. Orlando. 6. Oklahoma City. 7. Golden State (from Minnesota). 8. Orlando (from Chicago). 9. Sacramento. 10. Memphis (from New Orleans).

Find the entire 60-pick draft order.

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