Although it has only been 9 games, Cade Cunningham has already been looking special. In his first four games, Cunningham wasn’t able to shoot above 42 percent from the field. Since then, however, Cade has found his rhythm, and has been showcasing his growth. Currently, the Pistons guard is averaging 21.7 points 6.1 rebounds and 6.4 assists shooting 44% from the field. If he were to keep these averages all season, Cade would join an elite group. According to StatMuse, only 4 players in NBA history have averaged 20-6-6 before the age of 22. Those players are Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Luka Doncic, and Lamelo Ball. Translation? Cade Cunningham isn’t just going to be a star, but rather, is coming into star form right now.
Players to have a 20/6/6 season before turning 22:
Pistons competing with best of the league thanks to Cade Cunningham
Coming into the season injury depleted, it was already going to be difficult for the Pistons to compete. It would take high caliber play from all of their starters, but in particular, they would need one player to take charge. In his first couple of games, Cunningham was setting his teammates up, but not taking as many shots himself. A lot of his attempts were coming at the rim, or beyond the arc. But when the Atlanta Hawks came to the LCA, Cade hit a different gear. In their two matchups against Atlanta, Cunningham notched 61 points, with only one made three between two games.
The Pistons guard is doing a lot of his work in the mid range, shooting 52 percent in the area. Although Cade is effective at the rim as well, the biggest problem is when he is getting contested by bigs at the rim. He’s been blocked 15 times in the paint already, whereas he’s only been blocked 3 times from the midrange. With the added muscle that Cade Cunningham added this summer, he is able to get to his spots far easier.
And with new weapons like Bojan Bogdanovic and Jaden Ivey in the starting lineup, there’s more threats for Cade to pass to when driving to the basket. Every possible action Cade takes is a threat to opposing defenses, and he has been guarded like a top star in the league since his first games in Detroit. He’s starting to produce top star type numbers in games against top stars as well.
Pistons hit the lottery with Cade, ready to be competitive
The difference between an All Star and a superstar in the NBA comes down to who can make their teammates better. Lots of players can have great individual performances, but only the greats lift those around them. Cade Cunningham has shown the potential to be one of those greats. The Pistons point guard has nearly had multiple triple doubles, and is setting up offense with his scoring and his passing. In addition, Cade is active on the defensive boards, as well as being one of the best defenders the Pistons have. He has become the clear leader on both ends of the court, and as he has improved, the team has only gotten better as well.
Cunningham has helped Bojan Bogdanovic get open looks from three. And as a result, Bogdanovic has been one of the best shooters from beyond the arc this season. And his new running mate in the back court Jaden Ivey has benefitted from Cade’s playmaking as well. With Ivey not having to play with the ball at all times, he’s free to cut to the basket, and get easy opportunities at each spot of the court. And with Cade being a serious threat to score, keeps defenders honest on both members of the back court. They help take pressure off of each other, and have the chance to be special.
If Cade Cunningham keeps at this pace, he’s not only in the running to be an all star this season, but for many reasons to come. The Pistons have a franchsie player on their hands, and can be a potential MVP candidate one day.