Young Detroit Pistons getting big props from NBA stars

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images) /

If you only look at the records, you’d think this was just another lousy Detroit Pistons team destined for the bottom of the standings.

But despite their 2-7 start, there is a different vibe around this team in Detroit. They are getting a star turn from Cade Cunningham, Jalen Duren has made a leap, as has Isaiah Stewart. The two rookies, Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser, are already making a big impact and even Killian Hayes has shown signs that he might finally turn things around.

Detroit has played most of the season without their most important veterans, as Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris and Isaiah Livers have yet to play and Alec Burks has been out the last five games and counting. Add in a mysterious illness for Jaden Ivey and you have a team that is without six rotation players, a challenge few teams could overcome.

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There are a ton of “Ifs” in sports, but “IF” the Pistons had some of these players, I don’t think they would be 2-7, but as my friend Sneaky Pete used to say, “If flies didn’t have wings, they’d be called walks.”

Even though the wins haven’t piled up yet (they will), the league and many of its stars (past and present) have taken notice of what is being built in Detroit.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett love what the Detroit Pistons are building

Let’s start with some general comments from former NBA superstars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on a recent episode of The Ticket and The Truth, who think the Pistons are not only a fun and exciting team to watch, but that they could potentially take over the league if they can keep this young core together.

It’s good to hear two legends excited about what the Detroit Pistons are doing, and they really only scratched the surface with Cade Cunningham and Jalen Duren without saying much about Ausar Thompson, who is one of the most exciting rookies in the league.

Chris Paul on playing against Cade Cunningham and Marcus Sasser, who he knew as kids

Future Hall-of-Famer Chris Paul talked a little about playing against Cade Cunningham, who he thinks is going to be a great player for a long time, as well as Marcus Sasser, who he has known since he was a kid.

Paul also gave a shoutout to coach Monty Williams and assistant Jarrett Jack, who he thinks are the perfect coaches to mentor Cade, and he should know, as Williams was a big part of Paul’s evolution and he used to play with Jack.

Stephen Curry offers an assessment of Cade Cunningham

It’s always fascinating insight to hear NBA players talk about what it is like to play against a particular guy. Stephen Curry started off with “He’s tough” and then offered a firsthand assessment of Cade Cunningham’s game:

Fans have made a ton of Cade’s turnovers this season, but Curry is right, he has the ability to control the game, adjust to the opponent and when he gets some more help around him, those turnover numbers will come down.

Draymond Green thinks the Detroit Pistons have a real one in Ausar Thompson

I’ll end with Draymond Green, who had some nice things to say about Ausar Thompson and his twin Amen:

It doesn’t take a multiple-time NBA champion to know that the Thompsons are special, you just have to watch them play for a few minutes. Not only does their athleticism jump off the screen, but they play smart basketball, make savvy plays and generally don’t look like 20-year-olds who just came out of Overtime Elite a few months ago.

The results haven’t been there in the win column, but the Pistons have a strong young foundation in Detroit and the rest of the league is starting to pay attention.

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