Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham had a crazy burden as rookie

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Cade Cunningham had and up and down rookie season for the Detroit Pistons, but blew up after the All-Star break, putting up numbers that put him in elite company.

He’s placed himself amongst the NBA’s untouchables, and it’s clear the Pistons’ future will be built around his talents.

Cade finished just 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting, and I am certainly not going to debate that issue again, but when you look back at last season, it’s clear that not all things were equal, as Cade was asked to carry a larger burden on both ends than any rookie in the league.

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That statement was quantified by the numbers, which show that he not only had to carry his team on the offensive end, but was also responsible for defending the other team’s best player a lot of the time.

Detroit Pistons: A graphic look at Cade Cunningham’s burden

This graphic gives us a visual of just how large Cade’s responsibilities were as a rookie for the Detroit Pistons.

The higher you are on the graph, the more times you were defending an elite talent on the other team. The farther right you are on the graph means the larger responsibility you had on offense.

When you look at all of the rookies from last season what stands out?

Cade Cunningham is not only above the line for defending “studs” night after night, but had the most offensive responsibility of any rookie in the league and it’s not even close.

Compare that to guys like Josh Giddey (hidden on defense), Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley (low usage on offense) and it’s easy to argue that Cade Cunningham had the most complete rookie season in the NBA.

In fact, Jalen Green was probably the closest when you factor in both offensive and defensive responsibilities.

It does make some sense, as both of these guys are guards who were on bad teams, but I found it interesting how much Cade Cunningham stood out on this chart.

Hopefully some of that burden will be eased by the addition of Jaden Ivey, who can create and score and also take on some of the tough defensive assignments on the perimeter.

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