He won the Rising Stars Game MVP on Friday:
Cade is the Rising Stars game MVP 🤩 pic.twitter.com/73ihgQnQx3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 19, 2022
In the new tournament-style Rising Stars contest, Cunningham shined against his fellow rookies and the NBA’s sophomores as well.
Here is how he performed in the two Rising Stars games on Friday night as a part of Team Barry:
- Semifinal Win (50-48, Team Barry): 13 points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal, and two blocks
- Final Win (25-20, Team Barry): five points, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal
The rookies fell just short, as Evan Mobley hit an impressive half-court shot on his first attempt.
Although Cunningham was not an All-Star this year, he got the opportunity to be a part of two of the three nights of All-Star weekend.
Next year, he may be an All-Star though.
So, let us dive a bit deeper into how Cunningham is playing like the No. 1 pick.
Cunningham’s First 44 NBA Games
For the first time since 1970, the Pistons had the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, and they became the first team ever to take an Oklahoma State player first overall.
Cunningham was that player, and unfortunately, he has dealt with some injuries, so it has been tough for him to get out there and get consistent playing time each week.
However, he still has the following ranks among rookies:
- first in points per game (15.7)
- second in assists per game (5.2)
- second in steals per game (1.3)
- second in free throw percentage (.856)
- top six in both rebounds and blocks per game (5.5; 0.66)
At the All-Star break, the Pistons, unfortunately, have the second-worst record in the league.
They are also tied for having the fewest wins among NBA teams this year.
Detroit and Orlando have just 13 victories thus far.
Of course, Cunningham is not at fault for the Pistons’ struggles.
The Pistons have a -10 average point differential this year, which is the worst mark in the league.
On the bright side, in the final game before the break, Cunningham helped the Pistons to 112-111 victory over the Boston Celtics, who had been riding a nine-game winning streak.
The Future is Bright for Cunningham
Although the Pistons may not have a lot of wins in their sight, they could be in for another high draft pick.
Another high pick can be added to their current young talent, which was showcased on Friday night:
Pistons performances at Rising Stars
Cade Cunningham: 18 pts, 9 ast, 7 reb (MVP)
Saddiq Bey: 21 pts (Led all scorers)
Isaiah Stewart: 10 pts, 10 reb pic.twitter.com/Kkvch0BrsD
— Jim Costa (@JimCosta_) February 19, 2022
Detroit has not had an above .500 record since 2015-16, so it will not be easy for Cunningham to experience much success soon.
Also, the Rookie of the Year trophy will not be easy to achieve for him.
Although Cunningham has strong numbers among rookies, his team’s performance hurts his chances at the award.
The Dwane Casey-led Pistons are letting Cunningham begin his development, and the hope is that this is just the beginning for the 20-year-old point guard.
Let us just hope that Detroit’s post-All-Star Game record improves when Cunningham scores a lot of points.
Prior to February 20, the Pistons are just 1-9 when he scores more than 20 points.NEXT: Why Is Bol Bol Struggling In The NBA?