Detroit Pistons: A conversation with Cannen Cunningham

From left, Ashton Bennings, Kaylyn Cunningham, Detroit Pistons draft pick Cade Cunningham, Riley Cunningham, Carrie Cunningham, Cannen Cunningham and Keith Cunningham (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
From left, Ashton Bennings, Kaylyn Cunningham, Detroit Pistons draft pick Cade Cunningham, Riley Cunningham, Carrie Cunningham, Cannen Cunningham and Keith Cunningham (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have a strong history of guard play, and with the first pick in the 2021 NBA Draft they added to that by selecting Cade Cunningham. Many people have played a role in Cade’s sports career, none more important than his siblings Cannen and Kaylyn.

I talked one on one with his brother Cannen about Cade’s offseason preparation, being coached by Larry Brown, when he knew Cade was special, and several other things, providing exclusive insight on one of the NBA’s most promising young players.

Cannen didn’t hold back in this interview and he was very candid sharing his experiences and knowledge with us.

Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham’s offseason preparation and regimen

Cade Cunningham’s offseason has been focused on strengthening his body and shooting. Cannen said “We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel” referring to his offseason regimen, “he’s been weight training.” Cade’s frame shows the results. He’s picked up around fifteen pounds and his shoulders look wider, which will help him finish around the basket and defend larger players.

I asked if Cade not winning Rookie of The Year is motivating him? Cannen quickly replied “yeah but Cade’s not working any harder because he didn’t win, he already works” then went on to say “it’s not about rookie of the year, Cade wants to be a All-Star not just that All-NBA” meaning he’s working towards those goals regardless. He’s determined the fans of Detroit will see first hand how hard work pays off. My suggestion is to get your popcorn ready.

Jaden Ivey seems to be the backcourt player next to Cade for the foreseeable future and he’ll benefit from Cade’s shooting. Cade’s been working on that consistently, Cannen stated “late last season he got away from shooting… shooting is something we are working on, him and Ivey can both create off the dribble and pass” this is a recipe for success.

When did you know Cade was special? 

There is always a moment watching a young kid turn into a NBA prospect that you realize he’s different. Cade’s family could tell early on that he was head and shoulders above his peers. Cannen had this to say, “Cade would learn watching us, things to do, sometimes not to do” this allowed him to add what worked for him. Few players have the kind of presence Cade Cunningham had as a rookie and he has clearly learned from those around him from a young age.

As a professional athlete it’s the unselfish mindset Cade has that makes him so special. I asked Cannen when did you know Cade was a special player he told me, “five years old, he would see me and our sister playing and wanted to play too… he was always better than all the kids his age at all the sports.” He then continued saying “it was early in high school, then the EYBL he exceeded the expectations we had for him and he probably had for himself too” Cannen said.

Far before he played at the prestigious Montverde Academy, he was Cade. When you have siblings who are competitors it creates competition. With the age gap of his brother (8.5 years his elder) he was able to watch and learn from older players while also playing against competition that was older and bigger.

Larry Brown 

Larry Brown was the puppet master behind the “Goin To Work” championship run. His Hall of Fame resume speaks for itself. One of his most notable accomplishments is being the only head coach to win titles at the collegiate level and in the NBA. He coached Cannen during his stint at Southern Methodist University.

Cannen has strong respect for him as a coach and as a man saying “My dad is who I look up to the most and it’s the same with Cade, but coach Brown is a father figure” speaking to his relationship with his former coach. He said “Coach Brown talked competition, and playing the right way” the very fabric of his coaching ideology.

Pistons’ newcomer Jalen Duren had the luxury of being coached up by Larry Brown courtesy of the Memphis Tigers. Another former Piston Rasheed Wallace was on the coaching staff helping Duren’s development as well. Larry Brown and Cannen still talk today, he said “I spoke with him (Larry Brown) he’s happy both of the picks are here” in reference to Ivey and Duren being Pistons. It’s safe to say Brown keeps a eye on the team he coached to back to back NBA Finals.

Bluntly Speaking

I can see this team being competitive, but it will take time to build a sustained winner with a roster this young.

The win total shouldn’t be the end all be all with fans. Cannen touched on this stating, “I don’t know how many wins they’ll get, but they’ll be exciting to watch” and I totally agree. This year is for growth and expect some growing pains along the way, but make no mistake this team is trending upwards.

dark. Next. Will the Pistons be better off without Jerami Grant?