Who would you rather have right now? Ranking the last five NBA Draft No. 1 picks

If you put the last five No. 1 picks in the NBA Draft into one class, which one would get taken first?

San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
3 of 5

3. Cade Cunningham, No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft

Coming out of Oklahoma State, Cunningham was considered to be the "safe" pick for first overall. While he didn't necessarily excel at any one thing, there were no glaring weaknesses to his game. He was a good athlete, had good size for a guard/wing hybrid at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, and could pass, shoot, handle, rebound, and defend.

Over his first two NBA seasons (though his second was cut to 12 games due to a leg injury), the weakest aspect of Cunningham's skillset has been his shooting. His 42 percent from the field and 31 percent 3-point marks are both subpar, though they aren't bad to the point where it's a problem, just an area where he'll need to improve in order to take the next step.

Through seven games in 2023-24, Cunningham is making progress as he's returning from injury, shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc on 6.7 attempts per game, both of which would be career-highs by a significant margin. He's also scoring 23.1 points per game while adding 3.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists. His rebounds are down from his career averages, while his turnovers (5.6) are up. These numbers should even out over a larger sample size, hopefully along with Cunningham's current 3-point improvement.

Cunningham is the leader of a very talented young roster in Detroit, and there are playoff aspirations in year one of the Monty Williams era. Cunningham's continued development will be key in meeting those expectations. Perhaps he doesn't have the ceiling of others on this list, but Cunningham is a high-quality all-around player, and the Pistons are very happy to have him.