Pre-season exhibition games provide fans with an early look at the competition for the upcoming season, and the Detroit Pistons are a team to watch with their young stars, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. A productive off-season has given Detroit Pistons fans something to, look forward to and Dwane Casey and his coaching staff could position the young squad for playoff contention.
Consecutive top-five lottery selections in the NBA draft have helped the Pistons gain traction in the developing Eastern Conference. Cunningham and Ivey give the team talented and youthful guards who are expected to carry the Pistons into the next stages of the rebuild. They also provide the Pistons a chance to clinch a playoff berth. That said, which of the Detroit Pistons’ guards has the highest ceiling?
Cade Cunningham is on track to have an explosive season for the Detroit Pistons.
In 2021, Detroit spent their first overall pick on Cunningham, an explosive Oklahoma State guard, with hopes of elevating their roster. Cunningham’s collegiate career helped the twenty-one-year-old stand out among his peers, with his 20.1 points and 3.5 assists per game gaining the attention of NBA scouts. A consistent three-point shot added more value to his draft stock.
His 40% three-point average showed that Cunningham could impact the team immediately – especially if asked to score points. Cunningham showed glimpses of greatness during his rookie campaign. His 17.4 points per game were accompanied by 5.6 assists – impressive numbers for a rising star. However, an unimpressive 23-59 record last season will be motivation for Cunningham and his teammates, and limiting his turnovers will be a focus for No. 2’s sophomore season.
While Cunningham dedicated his off-season to bulking up, the Pistons searched for the last piece of their frontcourt. With the fifth pick in the draft, Detroit selected Jaden Ivey, a shifty playmaker from Purdue. An impressive collegiate resume made Ivey an early steal. His first-team Big Ten All-Freshmen and All-Big Ten accolades spoke for themselves. In 2021, Ivey averaged 17.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game and demonstrated his athletic ability to finish in the paint.
The newly formed backcourt will give this squad a much-needed spark, and Detroit has sunken to the bottom of the Eastern Conference in recent years and is desperate for a resurgence. When Detriot takes the court this season, the team will feed off of their guards’ intensity, and Ivey and Cunningham can lead this team to exciting new places.
Cunningham’s experience will help Ivey find his groove on the hardwood
While Detroit’s backcourt lacks experience, as the season progresses, Coach Casey and his staff can rely on their sophomore guard to help their rookie guard adjust to the game’s pace. When Ivey gets comfortable on the floor, his scoring ability will blossom and his ability to finish at the rim makes the rookie a threat in an open lane. Also, movement on offense will present Cunningham with open shots, adding more three-pointers to his career total.
Two years at Purdue will assist Ivey’s transition to the NBA. If the rookie can gain some wisdom from a teammate with experience, why not take advantage of it?
Overall, Cunningham and Ivey should benefit from playing alongside each other. Better yet, the Detroit Pistons will get a much-needed spark from their newly installed backcourt.