Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons had a slow start but finished his first season strong and should be ready for a breakout in year two.
Let’s face it, the 23-win Pistons didn’t exactly have a stellar supporting cast around him, which definitely contributed to his high turnovers, mediocre assist numbers and inefficient shooting.
Cade was double teamed practically every time he touched the ball, had no lob threats and a whole lot of teammates who could not knock down the open shots he created.
The supporting cast got an upgrade this offseason, and Cade Cunningham has a lot more options for kick-outs and lobs, which should lead to big numbers in his second season.
Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham’s kick-out options just got a whole lot better
Cade has gravity that sucks in defenders and leads to a lot of open shots. Unfortunately it didn’t matter last season, as the Pistons were next to last in 3-point percentage and really didn’t have anyone else who could could create off a kick-out.
Hopefully that is about to change.
Kick-out options last season: Cory Joseph, Frank Jackson, Josh Jackson, Hamidou Diallo, Saddiq Bey
This season: Isaiah Livers, Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks, Saddiq Bey, Hamidou Diallo
Even though the Pistons still need shooting, Cade will have much better shooters around him than last season. Cory freaking Joseph led the Pistons in 3-point shooting last season, hardly a guy that teams are going to worry about.
Joseph will hopefully be playing a lot more sparingly this season, and the Pistons have also jettisoned the Jackson duds, who were both terrible shooters last season.
They still have Bey, who should have a breakout year from behind the arc, and Hamidou Diallo, who likely won’t, but have added 40 percent 3-point shooters in Livers and Burks, as well as electric guard Jaden Ivey, whose shooting is still a question mark, but is a guy who can create himself or get open off the ball.
I expect Cade Cunningham’s assist numbers to tick up this season with more guys around him who can actually do something with the ball once they get it.
Cade Cunningham’s lob options
Talk about an upgrade! Cade and Killian Hayes had no emergency outlets last season, which did lead to a lot of turnovers when they got in the air and had nowhere to go with it. This upgrade should be huge for both of them.
Lob options last season: Trey Lyles, Luka Garza, Isaiah Stewart
This season: Marvin Bagley III, Jalen Duren, Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Stewart
This is night and day, as Cade had literally no one to throw a lob to last season outside of Hamidou Diallo.
Now he has guys who are known for it in Duren, Noel and Bagley III, which should help Cade notch a few more easy assists and cut down on the turnovers, as he can just throw it up to one of these guys when he gets into trouble.
Duren showed what he is going to bring on the very first play of Summer League, and I expect the Detroit Pistons to have a whole lot more dunks in the half court and transition with a huge upgrade of talent in the front court.
Cade Cunningham will have a much-better supporting cast next season and should lead to him putting up huge numbers.