Pistons: Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey will be next elite defensive backcourt

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

Detroit Pistons: Building an elite defense around the guards

It’s simple. The Detroit Pistons win championships with elite defense. In fact, the Pistons have never won a championship without defense being their primary identity.

As it stands now, the Pistons have some of the most exciting young prospects in the league. A 20-year-old creator who put up rookie-year numbers that are up there with the legends. A wing who scored 51 points in a game in just his second season. Even arguably the most exciting offensive player in college basketball last season.

What if I told you all of that is null-and-void unless the Pistons grow into an elite defensive team?

In this era, I believe it starts and ends with the newly formed Pistons’ backcourt.

Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey have the potential to be one of the better young backcourts in the NBA.

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Just looked at individually, both players have the measurables and attitudes to be real defensive stoppers. When you pair the two, it’s hard to not get even more excited for the future.

Cade is the best two-way player on the team and he made it clear last season that he can defend multiple positions with ease. He is 6-foot-6, 220 pounds and has a 7-foot wingspan, which becomes clear when watching him play.

He is a great communicator, and has elite awareness and rotation ability. It’s rare to see a defensive possession where Cade is not up pressuring someone or getting his hands on a loose ball. He was second in the rookie class in steals, just behind the best defensive player in the draft, Herb Jones.

Cade rises to the challenge and is not afraid of any match-up. There are not any glaring weaknesses, but there is one thing that has been trouble.

Cade is quick, but his willingness to attack on defense came leave his susceptible to getting beat off the dribble by smaller, faster players. This sometimes led to foul trouble, most notably early in his rookie season.