What each Pistons player must improve to make a leap next season

Detroit Pistons v Dallas Mavericks
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Since the Detroit Pistons have been technically into their offseason for a few weeks now, it’s likely about time the players begin to schedule out their summer, meet with the front office, and decide which areas they need to improve. Here’s what I think each Pistons player should focus on this offseason. 

Cade Cunningham: Improving on defense

This season went one of two ways for Cade Cunningham fans. Either you were a Cade believer all along and this past season deepened your belief in the face of the franchise, or Cade proved his health isn’t much of an issue, and his skill set is even better than originally expected. Either way, almost everyone came out of the season in agreement that Cade Cunningham is who we must build around. I wrote last week about priorities for the Detroit front office last week, and signing Cade to a max is item number two.

That’s not to say Cade has nothing to improve on, however. Specifically, Cade should spend his offseason working on his ball handling, decision making, and defense. At one point, Cade was one of the most turnover prevalent players in the NBA. Improving his ball-handling will help this, but a good amount of his turnovers were due to questionable decisions and passes. As the season progressed, he made less ill-advised passes but he must continue to limit these.

Additionally, Cade has to tap into the defensive potential we saw from his rookie season. He had shown above average defense, and while no one can blame him for getting away from this last season, he needs to buckle down on the defensive end this summer and put his length and athleticism to good use next season. 

Jaden Ivey: 3-point shooting and defense

Jaden Ivey has polarized Detroit fans for the past two seasons. He seemed to thrive during his rookie year when Cade was sidelined with his shin injury. This past season, however, when Cade returned, Jaden’s fit next to the star point guard came into question. Jaden continued to do an excellent job at getting to the rim and free throw line, but the two areas in which Ivey must improve this offseason is his shooting and defense. 

In order to truly pair next to Cade, Ivey must be an above average knock-down shooter. We saw the potential for a month this season when Jaden was connecting around 40 percent from deep. After that, however, Ivey regressed, his percentages fell to the 20’s, and his hot streak proved to be just that. Ivey absolutely has to be a 38 percent three point shooter in order for this backcourt to work to its potential. Consistency is key for Ivey this offseason. 

Just like Cade, Ivey’s defense has to be a priority this summer as well. Unlike Cade, who has shown defensive potential, Ivey has never been even average on that end. Again, to offset his less than perfect pairing next to Cade, Ivey has to become even an average defender. He has the athletic ability, it’s just his decision making and comprehension he needs to improve on.