Ranking the top-10 NBA rookies and sophomores: Where is Cade Cunningham?

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons speaks with Saddiq Bey (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The last two NBA Drafts have produced talent that represents the future of the league, including Saddiq Bey and Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons.

Both drafts had a great combination of high-end talent and depth, and some of these rookies and sophomores are already threatening to make All-Star teams, which bodes well for the future of the NBA.

With some of the older stars in the latter stages of their careers, the NBA is in good hands as these young stars try to supplant them.

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It wasn’t easy to rank the top-10 rookies and sophomores in the NBA, and I am sure there are some debatable choices. I should also add that I am a die-hard Detroit Pistons fan, so am obviously biased.

I think there were a lot of other players that have arguments to be on here and you could talk me into several guys. I also don’t think these positions are anything but temporary, as players like Cade Cunningham will certainly climb the list at some stage of their careers, maybe even by the end of the season.

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, here is my ranking of the top-10 rookies in sophomores in the NBA as of right now.

Top-10 rookies and sophomores in the NBA

#10: Herbert Jones- New Orleans Pelicans

I know a lot of fans wouldn’t have Herb Jones on their list, and if you only look at his 8.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists, it makes sense.

But Jones is probably the best defender in this group, a guy who can literally guard anyone on the other team, and takes on the best opponent night after night even though he is a rookie.

He is averaging 1.4 steals per game to lead all rookies and adds a block as well. He’s shooting nearly 40 percent from long range and looks like the second coming of Draymond Green.

I value defense and Jones has an argument to make the All-Defense team as a rookie, impressive for a guy who went in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft.

#9: Saddiq Bey- Detroit Pistons

HOMER ALERT!  Just like Herb Jones, a lot of fans would overlook Saddiq Bey because he is on a team that hasn’t won many games. But after a slow start, Bey has been fantastic in his sophomore campaign after making 1st-team All-Rookie last season.

Bey is averaging 15 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists and has expanded his game on both ends, getting to the rack more often and defending power forwards on defense.

He’s played himself into a foundational piece for the Detroit Pistons and has improved even though he has taken on a much-larger role in season two. I’d love to see those shooting percentages tick up and think they will get there by the end of the season.

If the Detroit Pistons do end up trading Jerami Grant, it will be because they think Bey is ready to be the guy at power forward.