The Detroit Pistons got a fantastic rookie season from Cade Cunningham but there is clearly much more to come.
Cade averaged 17.4 points last season and is part of an elite group of active players who averaged at least that with five assists and five rebounds as a rookie.
Cade Cunningham has shown that he is an all-around player who can affect the game in many ways, but I do think he has a whole other level to reach as a scorer.
Here are two reasons that we will see his scoring average go way up in his second season.
Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham getting stronger
Cade Cunningham has reportedly put on some muscle this summer, which will hopefully help him stay healthy and be better equipped to handle the rigors of an NBA season.
This will also help him improve his 3-point percentage, as Cunningham left a lot of long-range shots short last season, especially early on when he was still recovering from an ankle injury.
More strength in the legs, means more lift on 3-point shots, which should help him improve on his 31 percent average from his rookie season. Considering he launches more than five attempts per game from long-range, upping that percentage could lead to an extra 5-6 points per game.
Cade Cunningham is going to get more calls
One thing was certain last season: Cade Cunningham didn’t get many foul calls.
This is true of most rookies, but Cunningham really didn’t get favorable whistles, especially for a guy who had the ball in his hands that much and spent a lot of his time operating in the lane.
Cade got just 2.6 free-throw attempts per game last season, which is one of the lowest averages in the league for guys who had a better than 25 percent usage rating.
Cunningham got so frustrated at times that he spent a lot of time arguing with the refs, which may not have helped his case much and even led to one fo the worst ejections I’ve ever seen.
Learning how to talk to the refs is an art form, as you see veterans like Chris Paul talk WAY more to the refs than Cade ever did, but somehow manage to avoid getting T’d up. Cunningham is a smart player, and I expect him to not only be better at using his body to get calls, but also better at lobbying the referees for whistles, which should equal a few more free throw attempts per game. He shot 84.5 percent from the line, so getting there is going to be crucial for Cade in year two.
Stronger legs and more calls should boost Cunningham’s scoring average well over 20 points per game next season and put him in the mix for his first All-Star appearance.