The Detroit Pistons have a lot of questions to answer between now and next offseason and the biggest one may be around their young backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
Detroit drafted the two to be the backcourt of the future and they have looked the part at times, especially individually, but there are questions about their long-term fit as a duo.
Neither of them are good defenders or 3-point shooters yet, which could certainly change over time, but as for now, they are two mediocre defenders (at best) who do their best work with the ball in their hands going toward the rim.
In a league currently dominated by spacing and 3-point shooting, this could be problematic, especially if neither of them ever becomes better than average from long-range.
The Pistons have won as many games with Cade Cunningham this season as without him, which brought up the question of whether the Pistons play a more unselfish, team-oriented style with Cade on the bench.
But the bigger questions are whether Cade and Ivey are a good fit and what to do about it if they prove not to be.
Are Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey the future backcourt for the Detroit Pistons?
There is some evidence that both players perform better when the other is not on the court.
In 33 games with Cade Cunningham this season, Jaden Ivey is averaging 12.8 points, 3.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from the floor.
His numbers jump up to 19.8 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds without Cade, though his FG percentage drops to 42 percent.
Cade's numbers don't change nearly as much and there isn't as much to go by, as he has only played four games this season without Jaden Ivey. In those four games, Cade averaged 25.3 points, 6.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds and in the 33 games with Ivey Cade drops to 22.5 points, 7.5 assists and four rebounds on almost identical FG percentage of just over 43 percent.
Based on this small sample size, it appears Ivey is hampered somewhat when Cade is on the floor, which you would expect, as Cunningham is the primary ball handler and going to take more shots. Ivey will get more shots with him out, but he hits fewer of them overall.
There isn't anything conclusive here one way or another, except that Ivey gets more shots and assists when Cade is out, which makes sense.
We also have the fact that Ivey spent a good chunk of the beginning of the season coming off the bench, which accounts for some of the dropoff, as he was starting in all nine games Cade was out and getting more minutes than he was early in the season when Cunningham was healthy.
The Detroit Pistons need to figure this out, as both players are very good but there are questions about their overall fit. If Detroit gets the sense this can't work, it makes one of them (likely Ivey) more expendable in a trade and may be the best way for Detroit to better balance their roster with less of their scoring coming from guards who are not great long-range shooters.