Cade Cunningham, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound guard, was the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, and he came into the league with some pretty high expectations.
But in two pro seasons, he hasn’t quite lived up to the hype.
Going into his third season, Cunningham has a big goal, but it doesn’t have anything to do with his individual production.
He says that in addition to taking a leap, he wants the Pistons to “get closer to being a championship caliber team.”
"I want to take a leap for next year and get closer to being a championship caliber team."
Cade Cunningham on his goals for the Detroit Pistons next year.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 21, 2023
The Pistons haven’t come even close to being a championship-caliber team since around 2008, which was the last time they reached the Eastern Conference Finals with the remnants of the squad that won them the NBA title in 2004.
Since then, they haven’t even won a playoff series and have reached the playoffs only three times.
Cunningham has averaged 17.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists a game in his first two seasons, but he has shot only 41.6 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3-point range.
The Oklahoma State University product has also been turnover-prone, averaging 3.7 takeaways a game as a rookie and 3.3 per contest last season.
Detroit is years away from becoming a contender again — they’re a very young team, and they have a lack of true standout players who could carry them to that upper echelon.
But the bright side of being a non-playoff team right now is that there will be little pressure or scrutiny on Cunningham, which will make it easier for him to develop gradually at his own pace.NEXT: Jaden Ivey Talks Expectations For Cade Cunningham Next Season