Cade Cunningham had a career high last night in the Detroit Pistons’ loss and showed pretty much everything we wanted to see.
He was aggressive taking the ball to the hoop and scored effortlessly from the paint. He also pulled up for mid-range jumpers, hit some catch-and-shoot 3-point shots, as well as one off the bounce, demonstrating how he is going to be a superstar in this league.
Cade also flashed his biggest weakness, which is that he turns the ball over too much, coughing it up six times, mostly on plays that he needs to eliminate from his game at the NBA level.
This is common for rookie point guards as they try to adjust to the speed of the NBA, where open windows close quickly.
Cunningham has shown that he can affect games and make winning plays in a number of ways, but how does he compare to other star point guards at this point in their careers?
Cade Cunningham is averaging 13.8 points, 4.6 assists and 6.6 rebounds through 21 games while shooting 27.4 from 3-point range on 117 attempts. He is 20-years-old.
He has only played in 16 of those games, so this won’t be a direct comparison, as all three of these point guards played in all of the first 21 games of their rookie season.
But we can get an idea of how these three stars started and where Cade Cunningham will eventually end up.
How does LaMelo Ball compare to Cade Cunningham?
The first star point guard is LaMelo Ball, last year’s Rookie of the Year. He and Cade have similar games, as they can both fill up a stat sheet and affect the game in many ways.
I’d say Cade is a slightly better shooter and much better defender than LaMelo and that Melo is a better passer, but they do have a lot of similarities as big point guards without blazing speed or high-flying athleticism.
Here are LaMelo’s stats through his first 21 games:
- 15 points
- 6.3 assists
- 6.3 rebounds
- 30% from 3-point range on 91 attempts
Even though he has played five fewer games, Cade has attempted 26 more 3-pointers than LaMelo had at this stage. Both struggled to shoot consistently in their first 21 games but impacted their team in other ways.
The Hornets are 13-10 in LaMelo’s second season and have one of the top offenses in the NBA. Could the Pistons make a similar leap in Cade’s second year?