The disappearance of Cade Cunningham’s 3-point shot

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

I think it is fair to say that it’s been an up and down rookie season for Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons.

He started in a historic shooting slump after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason and it took some time for Cade to find his groove.

Once he did, Cunningham started rolling, peaking with a few monster games in which he claimed the top spot on the Rookie Ladder and a place on an elite list with Michael Jordan.

Then Cade got hurt again, missed five games and had to start the whole process over, which submarined his chances of winning Rookie of the Year, though he could still nab the award with a strong finish.

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Cunningham has been spectacular at times on both ends but has also been inconsistent at times (as all rookies are) especially when it comes to his 3-point shooting.

Cade Cunningham’s 3-point shot

Cunningham came into the NBA firing, as he launched over seven 3-point attempts per game over his first 23 games in the league.

He hit 32 percent of them, which is certainly not great, but is solid for a rookie shooting that high a volume.

Over the last 25 games, Cunningham’s approach has changed, as he is not shooting as many from long range and lately hasn’t been shooting many at all.

Cade’s attempts have dropped to 4.9 per game over the last 25 games and Cunningham has hit just 30 percent of them.

Part of this is by design, as Cade has clearly been trying to get to the rim and into the mid-range more frequently, as he has advantages there and can pretty much get good looks at will.

Cunningham has gotten a lot more efficient on two-pointers, which is why he is scoring more points now while shooting fewer 3-pointers.

Ultimately, I do think Cade Cunningham will shoot and make more 3-point shots in the future, but his game may be better suited for that 4-6 attempt zone he is in right now and not the 7+ he was launching early in the season.

Cade is smart enough to adjust his game on the fly and take what the defense is giving him, and right now he’s eating in the mid-range and not shooting as many 3’s, shooting just six of them over the last two games.

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