The Detroit Pistons didn’t win many games last season but Cade Cunningham announced himself to the NBA, putting together a stellar rookie season that probably deserved more attention.
Cunningham put him himself in an elite trio of active players, as only he, LeBron James and Luka Doncic averaged at least 17 points, five assists and five rebounds as rookies amongst players currently in the NBA.
The biggest knock against Cade Cunningham was his inefficiency, as he shot just 41.6 percent from the field overall and just 31.4 percent from long range for the Detroit Pistons.
His overall efficiency ticked up in the 20 games after the All-Star break, when Cade shot over 45 percent from the field and stopped launching so many 3-point shots.
Cade was not among the league’s elite shooters, but with added muscle, better teammates and more experience, he could certainly get there, but will he ever crack the most exclusive shooting club?
Detroit Pistons: Will Cade Cunningham crack the 50-40-90 club?
The 50-40-90 club is the most exclusive group of shooters in NBA history, and a group Cade Cunningham hopes to join at some point in his career.
If you are not familiar, it refers to anyone who shoots at least 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
Only nine players in NBA history have ever achieved this feat, though a couple of guys have done it more than once:
- Larry Bird (x2)
- Mark Price
- Reggie Miller
- Steve Nash (x4)
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Kevin Durant
- Stephen Curry
- Malcolm Brogdon
- Kyrie Irving
The first thing that stands out is that Steve Nash made the club an incredible four times, and even though he won multiple MVPs, might still be a tad underrated as a player, as most people don’t rank him among the all-time greats of the NBA.
I was also surprised that Stephen Curry, widely considered the greatest shooter of all time, has only done it once, as has Kevin Durant, another of the league’s deadliest shooters.
Kyrie’s was a bit of a spoof, as he only played 54 games that season, and Malcolm Brogdon would also surprise most people, though he only played 64 games that season, second-fewest of any player on the list.
Could Cade Cunningham get there at some point? Looking at his rookie stats, he was pretty far off, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get there, as Nash was in his 9th season in the NBA before he ever shot better than 50 percent overall from the floor.
I think Cade will get close to that next season based on his numbers down the stretch, as well as the fact that he should have more help around him which will lead to more open shots. He was also hampered by an ankle injury and got off to a horrific start to the season that brought down his overall numbers, something he can hopefully avoid in the future.
It’s very possible that he will get 2/3rds of the way there next season, as I could see him flirting with 50 percent from the field and 90 percent from the line. I think the 3-point percentage will definitely go up, as it took a big chunk of the early season for Cunningham to get his legs under him after missing most of the preseason with an ankle injury, but getting to 40 percent won’t be easy.
I do think Cade Cunningham is the type of player who could crack the NBA’s most exclusive shooting club at some point in his career and put himself among some of the league’s best all-time shooters.