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2021 NBA Draft: Detroit Pistons select Cade Cunningham with No. 1 pick

Former Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham, shown March 1, 2021, averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season for the Cowboys. Photo Courtesy of Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics
Former Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham, shown March 1, 2021, averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season for the Cowboys. Photo Courtesy of Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics

July 29 (UPI) -- The Detroit Pistons selected Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 overall pick to open the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"It's still crazy to be in the moment," Cunningham said after being drafted. "Words can't really explain the emotions. ... Everybody is so happy, my family is all here. To be able to celebrate this moment with them, it's a blessing.

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

Cunningham, a 6-foot-8 guard from Dallas, will be tasked with trying to lead the Pistons back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has reached the postseason just three times in the past 12 seasons, but the franchise hasn't won a playoff game since reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008.

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The Pistons, hoping to reverse that trend, won last month's NBA Draft Lottery and secured the top overall pick for the first time since 1970. That year, the team chose future Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier from St. Bonaventure.

The 19-year-old Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists over 27 games for the Cowboys last season. He attended Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., before his lone season at Oklahoma State.

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Cunningham was a consensus first-team All-American and earned 2020-21 Big 12 Player of the Year honors as a freshman.

With the No. 2 overall pick, the Houston Rockets selected Jalen Green, the explosive guard who was part of the inaugural G League Ignite team last year.

Green averaged 17.9 points and shot 36.5% from 3-point range for the Ignite inside the G League's bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. He will join young Rockets stars Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood under head coach Stephen Silas in Houston.

At No. 3, the Cleveland Cavaliers took USC center Evan Mobley. The Toronto Raptors then selected Florida State small forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth pick.

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The Orlando Magic grabbed Gonzaga star guard Jalen Suggs with the No. 5 overall selection. The Oklahoma City Thunder followed Orlando by drafting Australian guard Josh Giddey at No. 6.

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