Folks, Cade Cunningham Is The Real Deal
The Detroit Pistons (and their fans) are suffering through another losing season (21-56 as of this writing). It will be their 11th losing season in the last 13 years. They haven't won a playoff game (forget winning a series, winning just one game of a series) since 2008.
The team thought Andre Drummond would become the cornerstone of the franchise when they drafted him in 2012. But his poor performance in the playoffs and the perception (real or not) that he didn't play hard all the time soured everybody on him.
But now they have a cornerstone they can build on. And he's last summer's number 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham. He's only played in 61 of the team's 77 games this season due to various injuries and a bout with COVID-19. But he's been terrific. He's averaging 17.6 points/game, as well as 5.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists/game.
He's also stepped up against the best players in the NBA. Earlier this week against the Brooklyn Nets on the road, he kept the Pistons in the game with his 34 points. That performance drew raves from MVP candidate Kevin Durant (who had 41 points in the same game) saying:
“When you’ve got a 6’7″ point guard, I mean s***, that’s a good start….somebody who can wreck a whole defensive game plan with his size, his talent, his skill…. so that’s a great start. Then you go down the line and see Saddiq Bey, Marvin Bagley, Jerami Grant and Isaiah Stewart, I mean, they have length and toughness down the line, and a coaching staff that’s going to get the best out of their players, I could see this team being something, a force to be reckoned with in the future.”
Then on Thursday, Cunningham led the Pistons to an 102-94 upset win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Cade scored 27 points, dished out 6 assists, and had 4 steals.
That closed out a great month for Cade. He averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 7 assists. That made him the first rookie since Michael Jordan in 1984-85 to put those kind of numbers up in a calendar month.
The Pistons still aren't very good. They need some more talent, they struggle in the fourth quarter closing games, and their defense is lacking for long stretches.
But there is hope for the future, as the Pistons have found their cornerstone. And his name is Cade Cunningham.