The Cade Cunningham vs. Jalen Green rivalry begins
We vs. Me. Those are my early thoughts on the Pistons Cade Cunningham vs. the Houston Rockets Jalen Green. We always love one vs. two.
And hopefully, this turns into Magic vs. Bird. Over the years, both improved their game and their relationship with their teams.
It is way too early to determine who will own the NBA. These are Summer League games, not championship games. Nor are these playoff games. They are not even regular-season games.
We vs. Me.
Jalen Green is more Kobe Bryant, a cold-blooded assassin who is more likely to drop 50 points on you during a cold night in January.
Cunningham is more Magic Johnson, a thoughtful player more likely to drop a triple-double on a cold night in January.
Green is the “me” factor.
Cunningham is the “we” factor.
You see it even in an innocent question asked of both men before the game. Green said he most wanted to play against Ja Morant during the regular season. In other words, he wanted to see how he matched up individually with a great player and friend.
Cunningham said he most wanted to play against the Milwaukee Bucks. In other words. he wants to see how his team stacks up against the best team in the NBA.
We vs. Me.
Cunningham did not want to walk solo when he thought he’d become a Piston. He walked among the people, taking in a Tigers game. He studied the city of Detroit and watched game film of potential teammates. Green’s mission grew to be better than Cade, whom Detroit picked before him in this year’s draft.
We vs. Me.
I asked one of my NBA scout friends, who I call “Brother Walt,” who he’d select with the number one pick.
“You can go either way,” he said. “It depends on what you like.”
Cunningham may not be the better player. But he is the better fit for Detroit.
The Pistons win championships with teamwork, not with individual might.
Remember, it was the “Bad Boys,” not the Bad Boy. It was the “Going to Work” gang, not the Going to Work Man.
Remember this. A Motorcade is never one vehicle motoring down the street. It is several.
We vs. Me.
Green is Godzilla destroying the entire city with his bare hands.
Cunningham is King Kong. He can kill men with his bare hands, but he is also trying to save the damsel in distress.
The No. 1 pick of the 2021 draft, Cunningham, met the No. 2 pick in a meaningless Summer League game Tuesday night, which meant the world hoisted fans in Detroit and Houston. The Pistons lost in a blowout, 111-91, which doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
We fans focused on was the performance of Cunningham (20 points, four rebounds, and two assists) and Green (25 points, five rebounds, and three assists). These numbers do not matter either. We know both men can play.
“I know what the hype was around the game, but we have bigger goals to try to reach and bigger fish to fry,” Cunningham told the media after the game. “This is a Summer League game; we’ve got to try to stay focused on how we can be the best that we can be for the regular season.”
The rivalry between these two is the beginning of a decades-old debate.