For the Detroit Pistons to become a real contender in the Eastern Conference, they need Cade Cunningham to become a star, it’s that simple.
There is evidence that is about to happen, as Cade has looked amazing in action against Team USA this summer, has put on some muscle and appears healthy after having surgery on his shin that cost him most of last season.
Cade Cunningham has often been compared to Luka Doncic, mostly because of their size and cerebral style at the point guard position. Both guys can be the center of an offense, score, distribute and grab rebounds using their size and strength.
Cade was even used in the Luka role as Team USA prepared for the FIBA World Cup, and by all accounts, he did a good impersonation.
A lot of things would have to go right for Cade to evolve into a Luka-level player next season, but new head coach Monty Williams can optimize his chances by putting him in lineups that will lean on his strengths.
The Detroit Pistons lineup that could unlock Cade Cunningham
We’ve talked a lot about possible lineups and Monty Williams will have options, as the Pistons have more depth than they’ve had so far in Cade Cunningham’s short career.
Williams might take some inspiration from how Dallas has used Luka Doncic, which is mainly surrounding him with solid 3-point shooters who spread the floor and let him do his thing. Dallas has finished 6th, 2nd, 7th , 6th and 3rd, respectively, in 3-point shots made per game in Doncic’s first five seasons in the league.
Cade Cunningham has never enjoyed that kind of shooting around him, but could next season as the Detroit Pistons feature quality long-range shooters in Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, Monte Morris, Joe Harris and Isaiah Livers.
Williams could put Cade on the floor with three shooters and a lob threat, which could truly unlock all he is capable of as a scorer and facilitator. These are shooters that NBA teams have to close out on, which should spread the floor for Cade and open up the mid-range, where he is deadly.
I can’t wait to see the Detroit Pistons unleash some lineups like this one:
- Cade Cunningham
- Alec Burks
- Bojan Bogdanovic
- Isaiah Livers
- Jalen Duren
You can also swap in Monte Morris and Joe Harris, but I like this particular configuration, as it gives the Pistons size at every position, shooting in four spots and a big lob threat in the middle in Duren.
The Pistons could run pick-and-roll with Cade and Duren, who are developing chemistry already, with three shooters spreading the floor and forcing defenses to stay honest. We’ve never seen Cade in a lineup like this, nor what he can do in the half-court when defenses have to close out on shooting threats.
This isn’t likely ever going to be the starting five, but Cade Cunningham finally has a roster around him that can help unlock the best of his abilities.
Expect a monster year from Cade.