Who Cade Cunningham should replace on Team USA

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Cade Cunningham was reportedly invited to play for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, but decided to keep his focus on the Detroit Pistons, which is probably a relief to fans given that he is coming off a surgery that ended his 2022-23 season prematurely.

He played for the select team instead, doing his best Luka Doncic impersonation as he diced up Team USA in scrimmages.

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If Cunningham can get through the season healthy, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him on the Olympic team in 2024, as he fits the mold that Team USA is looking for in a guard.

It’s likely that Team USA will shake some things up and Cunningham could be one of the additions, but who should he replace?

Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham should replace Brandon Ingram on Team USA

Team USA has an embarrassment of riches, as their second unit is better than the starting lineup of most teams they will face. They’ve breezed through their opponents so far, adding another win today over Greece.

Brandon Ingram has been the odd man out so far, as the team has been led by Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards and surprisingly, Austin Reaves. Ingram has been the starter, but contributed little, scoring just seven points total so far.

Ingram expressed frustration with his role, as he tries to adjust being on a team where just about every guy is an alpha who thinks he’s the best player on the court.

Ingram is not a selfish player, but he needs the ball in his hands to be effective, and that’s not happening right now as Team USA is spreading it around. A guy like Cade Cunningham is a much-better fit with this group, as he lives to spread the ball and set up teammates.

He also offers physicality at the guard spot, and a player Team USA can use to mimic Luka Doncic, who will be one of their primary opponents in international play.

Ingram is more of an isolation player who likes to get to his spots and shoot over people, while Cunningham is the kind of player who will keep the ball moving and share the love, which is generally more effective when you have so many dominant players on the floor.

Cunningham can also be inserted into just about any lineup, as he is just as effective off the ball as on it.

It will probably just come down to who stays healthy this season, and there is still time for Ingram to turn it around and be the leading scorer from Team USA. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see Cunningham on the Team USA roster soon.

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