Detroit won the NBA Draft lottery Tuesday after finishing with the second-worst record in the league (20-52) this season.
The Houston Rockets (17-55) will pick second overall, followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Pistons, Rockets and Magic each had 14 percent odds to earn the top pick, while the Thunder and Cavaliers had the next-best chance at 11.5 per cent.
The Pistons last had the first overall pick in 1970, when they selected Hall of Famer Bob Lanier.
It will be Detroit's highest selection since the Pistons infamously took Darko Milicic second overall in 2003 -- behind only LeBron James but ahead of future Hall of Famers Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Heading into the July 29 draft, most analysts have tipped Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State as the likely top pick.