Do Pistons change draft strategy after Cunningham plays well with Mobley?

Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots over Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots over Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Cade Cunningham certainly showed he can play with an athletic center who is a major lob threat in the RIsing Stars Challenge. Does this change the Detroit Pistons strategy when it comes to the NBA Draft?

While Cade Cunningham shined in the Rising Stars Challenge, he was named Most Valuable Player after all, many Pistons fans were also interested in how he fit playing with Cavaliers center Evan Mobley.

The answer: Like a glove.

Mobley is tall, athletic, has good hands and a high basketball IQ for a rookie. When he was open for the lob, Cunningham found him.

Except for a couple of games with newly acquired Marvin Bagley III, Cunningham had not played with a center like Mobley before. The Pistons centers have either been under-sized (Isaiah Stewart), really undersized (Trey Lyles) or a perimeter player (Kelly Olynyk).

Detroit general manager Troy Weaver even said at his post-trade deadline press conference that having athleticism at the center position was a fault he had not addressed, until the Bagley trade.

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Remember, Detroit had a low-post scoring threat at center they got rid of in Mason Plumlee. No, he did not sky for dunks, but he could score down low if given the ball. In the off-season, Plumlee was traded to Charlotte and the Pistons then signed Olynyk. One of the reasons for these moves was, this would open the lane for Cunningham (and others), so they could operate in the lane.

Basically, Detroit did not want a big guy to get in Cunningham’s way. Anyone who watched the two games they played together, saw that Mobley in no way deterred Cunningham’s effectiveness. If anything, he helped give him another option to work with.

This will now make the Pistons draft strategy a little more interesting.

Three of the top players in the draft are Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, Duke power forward Paolo Banchero and Auburn power forward Jabari Smith, all could be excellent targets for Cunningham’s passes on lobs.

Now that Cunningham has shown not only can he play with an athletic big man, but thrive (he was MVP playing with Mobley after all), is Detroit more inclined to go for a similar type of player in the draft, maybe by-pass a guard like Jaden Ivey of Purdue?

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And does this also mean that the Pistons try a little harder to bring back Bagley next year, since he is a Mobley-type (just not as good, at least so far).

Even though it was just a fun exhibition, Cade Cunningham showed in the Rising Stars Challenge he can play with different style of players than he has with the Pistons. Which is a good thing.