Detroit Pistons: How the veteran additions will help Cade Cunningham
Both the veterans from the Knicks are more or less on expiring deals, but they could be the types of players the Detroit Pistons want to keep around, as they could be a big help to Cade Cunningham.
Noel is going to give Cunningham a better lob threat than he had all of last season. Noel doesn’t spread the floor or do much on offense other than dunk, but he will give Cade an outlet in the middle when things get dicey.
Noel sets hard screens that should benefit the entire Pistons’ offense, but his biggest benefit to Cade will be on the defensive end.
Noel will provide a backstop on defense when the guards get beat on the perimeter. The Pistons lacked rim protection last season and Noel has consistently been one of the best shot blockers in the NBA over his career.
He may only play 20-25 minutes per night, but he will block 1.5 shots in that time and provide some insurance to the guards on defense when they get beaten. You can take more risks on the perimeter when you know there is a guy there defending the rim, so expect Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey to be aggressive on the perimeter when Noel is in the game.
As a guy who hit over 40 percent of his 3-point shots over the last two seasons, Burks is immediately going to be Detroit’s best long-range shooter, which will help Cade Cunningham right away.
Let’s face it, the Pistons didn’t have much of a 3-point threat last season, as Cory Joseph and Isaiah Livers (who played 19 games) were their best shooters from long range.
Burks will give Cade another weapon to kick out to when he draws in defenses, and having a guy out there who can shoot at a high clip will make teams think twice before they double Cunningham on his dribble penetration.
Cade loves to draw defenses into his mid-range game before either using a hesitation move to get all of the way to rim or to set up open teammates. So many times last season Cade kicked out to those teammates only to have them brick the 3-point shot.
A lot more of those are going to turn into assists this season, so expect Cade to have more room to operate and a few more assists per game next season thanks to the addition of Alec Burks.
Burks is going to play a big role on the Pistons next season and could surprise some people. I think he’ll be the veteran who most helps Cade Cunningham get to the next level.