Cade Cunningham has fixed one problem but not the other

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images) /

Cade Cunningham got off to a terrible start for the Detroit Pistons. After injuring his ankle in the preseason, it took him a while to get his legs under him.

This led to some historically bad shooting and a whole lot of turnovers, but as the season has progressed, Cade has just kept getting better.

He’s been much more consistent of late, especially shooting the ball, and has reminded all of those nervous fans just why he was the #1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

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He’s been especially good over his last 18 games, averaging 17.9 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebonds, but more importantly, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and a blistering 39.6 percent from 3-point range on a high volume of attempts.

That brought him up to just under 40 percent FG% on the season and 32.1 from 3-point range, so he is definitely trending in the right direction when it comes to shooting. If you take out those first four games, when he was awful, and you have a very good rookie season brewing for Cade Cunningham.

But what about the turnovers?

Cade Cunningham still turning the ball over too much for the Detroit Pistons

Cade Cunningham is averaging 3.6 turnovers per game for the Detroit Pistons on the season, which is 7th-worst in the NBA.

Things haven’t gotten any better over that 18-game stretch, when he has averaged 3.7 turnovers, getting marginally worse.

But are we too worried about this? My opinion is yes we are.

High usage usually leads to turnovers

Here are the six players who average more turnovers per game than Cade Cunningham:

  • Kevin Porter Jr.
  • Trae Young
  • Paul George
  • Russell Westbrook
  • Luka Doncic
  • James Harden

The “All-Turnover” team is pretty damn good, and what they all have in common is that they are doing most of the ball handling for their respective teams. While Doncic and Young lead the way with 35.2 and 33.7 percent usage rates, respectively, Westbrook and Harden are just above Cade, with 27.4 and 26.7 percent to Cunningham’s 25.7 percent usage rate.

Add the fact that Cade Cunningham is a rookie point guard on a bad team, and these turnovers don’t seem so bad, as I hardly think anyone is complaining about Luka, Trae, George or Harden (they are definitely complaining about Westbrook in LA).

Yes, Cade needs to clean this part of his game up, but he’s in some good company when it comes to players who do a lot for their teams but commit too many turnovers.

Cunningham is a high I.Q. player who is getting better and more efficient every game, so I have no doubt that we won’t be talking about this as much next season and even less the season after that until it is a thing of the past altogether.

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