NBA Draft: Cade Cunningham Pistons’ Likely No. 1; Wagner A Top-10 Choice?

Written By Drew Ellis on July 23, 2021 - Last Updated on December 8, 2023
2021 NBA Draft Pistons Cunningham July 2021

The 2021 NBA Draft is now just one week away, and the Detroit Pistons own the No. 1 pick. Many signs point to a clear choice.

Will the Pistons throw a curveball to start the draft? Will they trade the pick? What other storylines should in-state basketball fans keep an eye on?

We’ve got you covered.

Cade Cunningham a consensus top pick

Well before the NBA Draft Lottery took place, Cade Cunningham had been well-established as the top prospect in this year’s draft.

The closer we get to the draft, that hasn’t changed.

Cunningham is the overwhelming favorite to be selected No. 1 overall next Thursday.

Here’s a look at the ranging odds from various Michigan online sports betting outlets:

With Cunningham seemingly locked into that No. 1 position, the next shortest odds see Jalen Green (+1000 to +1500), Evan Mobley (+1500 to +2200) and Jalen Suggs (+2000 to +2500) as the next in line.

Will Pistons actually select No. 1?

Odds are available for draft position for a number of players, but there aren’t odds as to who will actually end up picking No. 1.

The Pistons won the lottery for the first time in franchise history last month. Most indications are Detroit will indeed take Cunningham with the No. 1 pick.

However, ESPN published an article looking at some potential trades Detroit could be offered for that top selection.

Most offers come from teams inside the top 10, including getting Houston’s No. 2 selection and their No. 24 pick, along with their original 2022 first-round pick returned to them.

Another option has Golden State sending No. 7, No. 14, a 2022 pick and James Wiseman to Detroit for No. 1, No. 37, Rodney McGruder and Jahlil Okafor.

Although some of the trades are intriguing, they would seem to only prolong the Pistons’ rebuilding efforts.

Detroit recently held a workout of Cunningham, and he then attended a Detroit Tigers game. Fans broke out in a chant of ‘We Want Cade,’ letting the Pistons know their intentions.

Michigan’s Franz Wagner in the top 10?

Aside from the drama with the No. 1 pick, basketball fans in the mitten have some college players to focus on during the draft.

Michigan’s Franz Wagner appears to be the top option from an in-state D1 program.

The 6’9” small forward left the Michigan Wolverines following his sophomore season, where he averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

ESPN projects Wagner as the 10th-best player available in the 2021 NBA Draft. Oddsmakers see him as a top-10 pick as well.

DraftKings has Wagner at -145 to be a top-10 pick, while his Over/Under for draft position is 9.5 from both DraftKings and BetMGM.

In their latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated has Wagner going No. 9 to the Sacramento Kings.

Franz’ brother Moritz Wagner was taken No. 25 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Second-round NBA Draft potential in Michigan, too

The second round of Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft could feature some notable names that won’t have Pistons connections.

Michigan State’s Aaron Henry, Michigan’s Isaiah Livers and Ohio’s Jason Preston all could hear their names called.

Henry is listed with an over/under of 43.5 for his draft position. Preston is listed at 41.5, while Livers is further back at 52.5.

Preston is a 6-foot-4 point guard who left Ohio after his junior season, where he led the Bobcats to the NCAA Tournament and a first-round upset of Virginia. He averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game this past season.

Preston is a former blogger at PistonPowered, a fan site that covers the team. As chronicled by The Athletic (subscription), Preston was a Pistons fan growing up, just like his Jamaican mother.

SI has Preston going No. 34 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Henry left MSU after his junior season. The 6-6 guard was streaky with his play at times, but was still the leader for the Spartans. He averaged 15.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in 2020-21.

SI projects Henry to go No. 48 overall to the Atlanta Hawks.

Livers was a 6-7 forward for Michigan who elected to return for his senior season and helped guide the Wolverines to the Elite Eight. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.0 rebounds this past season while shooting 43.1% from the arc. All of those were career-highs for Livers.

Just making the cut from SI, they project Livers to be taken No. 59 overall to the Brooklyn Nets.

FanDuel promotion gives you $10 back on NBA Draft bets

FanDuel Sportsbook has added a promotion for the NBA Draft.

To take part, players must opt-in and place $25 of total wagers on the draft (best have to be -200 odds or longer, such as +150).

Upon settlement, players receive $10 in site credit back, whether the bets win or not.

Photo by Sue Ogrocki/AP
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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