Cade Cunningham Rookie of the Year watch: Another Pistons’ record

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons are playing their best basketball of the season and helping to strengthen the Rookie of the Year case for Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham has been on a tear lately, beating both Evan Mobley and the Cavaliers and Scottie Barnes and the Raptors in recent games.

Cade is now 5-1 on the season against the other two frontrunners for Rookie of the Year and the Pistons have actually been the best team of the three over the last 10 games.

Both the Cavaliers and Raptors are slumping, which may have voters turn their attention back to Cade Cunningham for Rookie of the Year.

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Before we get to the numbers, Cade added another broken record to his resume last night, becoming the first Piston to reach 800 points, 250 rebounds and 250 assists in his first 50 career games.

So how are the three Rookie of the Year frontrunners performing down the stretch? The numbers are starting to trend in Cade Cunningham’s favor.

Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham’s case for Rookie of the Year

Scottie Barnes

Season: 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists

Last 5 games: 16.6 points, 9 rebounds, 2.8 assists

Barnes’ recent play earned him the Rookie of the Month for February, but Cade and the Pistons have owned them this season. Cade also has a much larger role than Barnes, who is a secondary player on a good team, while Cunningham leads his team in usage and is their go-to scorer and facilitator.

Evan Mobley

Season: 14.5 points, 8 rebounds, 2.5 assists

Last 5 games: 11.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists

Mobley and the Cavs have been slumping of late and have dropped down to the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference after being in the top-4 for most of the season. It could be worse for the Cavs, as they are lucky both the Raptors and Nets are losing at the same time or they might drop further.

Mobley’s strongest case has always been his defensive impact and the fact that the Cavaliers are a likely playoff team. If team success is part of the measure, then Mobley will probably win, but Cade has won the head-to-head matchups and all the same things about usage and role apply to Mobley’s case as well.

Cade Cunningham

Season: 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists

Last 5 games: 21.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists

If Cade Cunningham keeps up this current streak, I think he has a good chance of swiping the Rookie of the Year award. He is not only leading the three in scoring on the season, but over the last five games is putting up All-Star level numbers, while continuing to be the guy the Pistons turn to in the clutch.

He has looked like the best of the three in the head-to-head matchups, and if you want to talk about a guy who affects winning, just check out the Pistons’ record without Cade.

They are just 1-13 in games in which he did not play, and is the key cog of the entire team. If the Pistons keep playing with Cade putting up these types of numbers, I think the award is his.

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