Detroit Pistons: Predictions for individual awards
Defensive Player of the Year – Cade Cunningham
Cade Cunningham led the Pistons in Defensive Win Shares, and steals, and was third in blocks last season. Listed at 6’6”, he can reliably guard four positions, which means any given night he will be tasked with locking down the league’s best players. “Well what about Giannis, Embiid, and LeBron?” you may be asking. Well, can anyone else shut them down? Nope, so why are we expecting Cade to do it?
He won’t win Defensive Player of the NBA next year, but he might sneak in with All-Defensive honors. When he was drafted, he was one of the best two-way players I’ve seen get drafted, so it only stands to reason his improvement will be astounding. The building blocks are there.
Last year, he was second among rookies in steals, behind only Herb Jones, who played out of his mind. He was sixth in blocks, so given that he will be healthy, bigger, stronger, and have a better support cast this upcoming season, he should really shine on the defensive end of the floor.