The 2021 NBA Draft is not expected to begin for several hours. However, it appears that the Detroit Pistons have already decided who they will take with the first pick. NBA insider Adam Wojnarowski has reported that the Pistons have their eyes set on Oklahoma State University basketball star Cade Cunningham.
"The Detroit Pistons have landed on a decision to select Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NBA Draft," he tweeted.
Entering the 2021 NBA Draft, fans and reporters had suspected that Cunningham would be the first player taken off the board. In his lone season at Oklahoma State University, Cunningham guided the Cowboys to an NCAA Tournament berth while averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Cunningham adds to a young Pistons' core that includes Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey, both of whom made the 2020-2021 NBA All-Rookie Team.
Off of the court, Cunningham is in a great position to become a star as well. Earlier this week, he locked in a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike. Like many young basketball players, he's been a fan of the brand since he was a child.
"More than anything, they show that athletes are more than just athletes," he told ESPN.
"They really put the right message out for people to see. That was important to me. I felt like it was a perfect match for me."
Cunningham is not stopping there. He has also locked in endorsement deals with energy drink companies, plant-based food brands and cryptocurrency businesses.
"I definitely have been putting thought into it. I'm not playing basketball just for fun anymore," he said.
"It's a business now, and that's the blessing of it. I'm happy that I've gotten to get to this point where I can make money doing what I'm doing. Marketing myself, I want to be fully authentic with who I am. I don't want to take any marketing deals that don't match who I am."
The 2021 NBA Draft is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET tonight in New York, New York.
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