Central Notes: Pistons, Cavs, Pacers, Bulls

Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham has long been considered the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, and the most likely outcome is that the Pistons will select him. However, we shouldn’t set that pick in stone yet, says Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, who said he got texts from multiple sources after the lottery saying that Detroit is thought to be very high on G League Ignite wing Jalen Green.

James L. Edwards III of The Athletic conveys a similar sentiment, citing sources who say that Green and USC big man Evan Mobley will get “heavy consideration” from the Pistons for the No. 1 pick. General manager Troy Weaver stated following the lottery win that the team will likely look at five players with that selection.

Rumors of the Pistons’ interest in Green or Mobley doesn’t mean the team won’t end up simply drafting Cunningham. But it’s a reminder that the pick isn’t necessarily considered a foregone conclusion like some past No. 1 selections have been. If they like Green or Mobley enough, perhaps the Pistons would even mull the possibility of shaking up the draft by trading down a spot or two.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Although they didn’t nab the first overall pick like their division rivals, the Cavaliers are in a great spot at No. 3, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Fedor contends there’s essentially no wrong answer with that pick, which could be used to draft a franchise cornerstone or possibly to trade for a star. “If that’s the direction that we want to go with that ammunition, we can certainly get in some (trade) conversations,” GM Koby Altman said. “But we really do like this draft.”
  • In the wake of reports that he has been hired to coach the Pacers, Rick Carlisle offered the following quote to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link): It’s a team of skilled, unselfish guys that play hard. It’s always possible that moves could be made before the season, but I think (president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard) and I are both very excited about getting the roster healthy and seeing what this team can be.”
  • Despite their lack of luck on lottery night, the Bulls believe in the foundation of their roster, says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. We rounded up several more Bulls-related notes on Wednesday.
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