It’s no secret that the Detroit Pistons need a star turn from Cade Cunningham if they want to significantly improve this season.
That starts with staying healthy, as Cade has already given us tantalizing glimpses of what he can do on the court, but he has to be there for it to matter.
The Pistons tanked without him last season in the hopes of landing Cade another #1 pick as a running mate, but they dropped to 5th and ended up with Ausar Thompson instead of Victor Wembanyama.
I’m all-in on Ausar Thompson, but it’s hard not to wonder what Cade Cunningham would have looked like playing with Victor Wembanyama.
Even though they won’t be teammates (*sigh*), Cade Cunningham is still on Victor Wembanyama’s radar this season.
Victor Wembanyama predicts an award for Cade Cunningham
In a recent segment for NBA2K, Shaquille O’Neal, Josh Giddey and Victor Wembanyama were asked to give predictions for the NBA awards this season. A few of them stood out to me: Shaq choosing Dallas to win the title. Wembanyama choosing himself for Rookie of the Year and then naming Cade Cunningham as his prediction for Most Improved Player:
Fanduel is currently giving Cunningham the 4th-best odds (+1500) for the award behind Mikal Bridges (+1000), Tyrese Maxey (+1100) and Jordan Poole (+1400). The Pistons have a chance to make a bigger leap as a team than any of the squads those players are on, and if they do, it will likely be because Cunningham took a star turn.
But it first starts with being on the court so that he can start to build the chemistry necessary to win in the NBA at a high level. If Monty Williams can get a 17-win team anywhere near the play-in tournament, then you might see some individual awards for his players.
At those odds, Cade Cunningham is a solid bet, as he was averaging around 20/6/6 last season before getting hurt (albeit in few games and with poor efficiency), so achieving those numbers through an entire season would likely put him in the running for MIP.
Wembanyama and Cunningham will hopefully get their first head-to-head against each other on January 10th in Little Caesar’s Arena.