The Detroit Pistons are building their future around point guard Cade Cunningham and for good reason.
The former number one pick struggled out of the gate last season (mostly because of a bum ankle) but really turned it on, joining Michael Jordan on a list for individual games, as well as stats for the month of March as a rookie, when Cade joined MJ and Oscar Robertson as the only rookies in NBA history who averaged 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds for a whole month.
Recently, CBS released their list of top point guards in the NBA and there were 22 players included. Here is the entire list from bottom to top:
- De’Aaron Fox
- Jalen Brunson
- Tyrese Haliburton
- Tyrese Maxey
- Marcus Smart
- CJ McCollum
- Cade Cunningham
- LaMelo Ball
- Ben Simmons
- Darius Garland
- Fred VanVleet
- Darius Garland
- Jamal Murray
- Kyrie Irving
- Jrue Holiday
- James Harden
- Chris Paul
- Trae Young
- Damian Lillard
- Ja Morant
- Luka Doncic
- Stephen Curry
Cade Cunningham ended up 16th out of 22 point guards in the rankings. I am sure this enraged some fans of the Detroit Pistons, but is this ranking fair for right now?
Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham in the point guard rankings
It’s hard to argue with the first nine guys, as they are all established superstars in the NBA whose teams have won. This list is going to look a LOT different in a few years when guys like James Harden, Chris Paul and Damian Lillard are starting to wind down their careers, but for now it makes sense.
After the top nine is where the arguments start, as Jamal Murray missed all of last season, so it was pretty bold to put him 10th. He did average 21 points and just under five assists and five rebounds per game in his last full season, but Cade was just under that in points as a rookie and beat him in both rebounds and assists.
Garland and VanVleet were All-Stars last season so it’s hard to argue against them, though I would take Cade over either of them when it comes to potential, but this wasn’t about potential, it was about right now. Speaking of All-Stars, where is Dejounte Murray? I’d easily take him over the last five guys on this list.
I’d probably put LaMelo higher given what he has already done, and CJ McCollum is not really a point guard. Ben Simmons might not be anymore either, though admittedly he is one of the more difficult players in the league to categorize by position.
Even though I think Cunningham is going to be better than a lot of guys on this list eventually, these rankings are about the present, not the future, so I think his position is fair, for now, especially after he was so inefficient at the beginning of last season.
We’ll revisit this after next season, as Cade has been putting in the hours in the weight room and is going to come back ready to make a huge leap.