Detroit Pistons Select Cade Cunningham with No. 1 Draft Pick, Add U-M’s Isaiah Livers

The Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State University last night as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
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Cade Cunningham, selected by the Detroit Pistons with the number 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. // Courtesy of Oklahoma State University Athletics
Cade Cunningham, selected by the Detroit Pistons with the number 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. // Courtesy of Oklahoma State University Athletics

The Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State University last night as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Believed by many to be a surefire star in the league, Cunningham won Freshman of the Year and Big 12 Player of the Year honors at OSU last season.

The team also added University of Michigan small forward Isaiah Livers with the 42nd pick and Iowa University center Luka Garza — who earned unanimous 2020-21 National Player of the Year honors — with the 52ndpick. The team also acquired the draft rights to Balsa Koprivica from the Charlotte Hornets

“This was a very exciting night for our franchise, our fans, and the city,” says Tom Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons. “We made great progress adding four talented young men. They are all high-character individuals that fit the culture and championship mentality we are creating.”

Cunningham is a 6-foot 8-inch, 220-pound point guard who averaged 20.1 point, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and nearly a block per game in his 27 games with Oklahoma State. He was also honored with All-Big 12 First Team, All-Freshman First Team, and All-Newcomer Team selections and was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, which independently awards the top college basketball player of the year.

“I had the opportunity to spend time with Cade before the draft,” says Gores. “I could tell immediately that he’s not just an elite prospect, he’s an elite leader who will take our franchise to another level.”

Livers is a 6-foot 7-inch, 230-pound small forward who played four years at Michigan, earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors his senior season and was a top-five finalist for the 2020-21 Julius Erving Award, which honors the best small forward in college basketball.

The teams 52nd overall pick is the most decorated college player of the group, totaling 24.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks in a senior season that saw him selected as the unanimous National Player of the Year. He was a two time All-America First Team selection and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year.

Along with these selections, the Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has agreed in principle to acquire the draft rights to Balsa Koprivica from the Charlotte Hornets and trade the draft rights of JT Thor as part of a larger deal that is expected to be finalized after the moratorium ends on August 6.

Selected with the 57th pick out of Florida State in tonight’s draft, Koprivica averaged 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 19.5 minutes through 24 games during the 2020-21 season. Over his two-year career at Florida State, Koprivica averaged 6.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 14.6 minutes in 51 career games.

“I want to congratulate Troy and our team in the front office,” says Gores. “They did an outstanding job preparing for the draft. They have done an incredible job over the past year establishing and restoring our culture. I’m also excited for Dwane (Casey) and his coaching staff to build on the momentum of growth and development that has been established.”

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