The Detroit Pistons are building their team around former #1 pick Cade Cunningham, but so far the "restoration" looks like an empty lot full of discarded furniture.
Cunningham has not had a good team around him and is leading a bunch of young players who have yet to learn how to win in the NBA. The Pistons only had one player (Cade) ranked in The Ringer's recent top-100 player rankings, so it's hard to evaluate Cunningham, as he is a playmaker surrounded by guys other teams don't have to guard.
It's fair to criticize parts of Cade's game, but also fair to point out that he's played just 96 games on a team whose roster has been a mess the entire time, culminating with this year's historic losing.
In addition to ranking the top-100 players, The Ringer also did their annual trade value article and Cade was once again the only Piston featured, though Jaden Ivey did get a mention in the "Toughest Ommissions" category.
If you aren't familiar, the trade value rankings take everything from age, salary and performance into account, so it's not just about who is the best right now, it's also about who presents value for money. So producers on rookie deals might be higher than guys making big bucks, even if the second player is an All-Star.
Cade Cunningham came in 46th overall, which made me wonder if the Pistons would actually trade him for any of the players ahead of him on the list. This is all just hypothetical, as the Pistons aren't trading Cunningham, but the question is whether they would if any of these other guys became available.
Would the Pistons trade Cade Cunningham for any of these players?
Here are some of the players listed ahead of Cade that caught my eye:
-Chet Holmgren (45): Tough call. The Pistons would definitley consider it. Most fans outside of Detroit would see this as a no brainer even though Holmgren has only played 19 games.
-OG Anunoby (44): No way. He's a good player but if you replaced Cade with OG this year's team wouldn't win a single game.
-Brandon Ingram (43): I love BI, but don't think the Pistons would consider trading Cade for him. He's injured too much, already on a big deal and hasn't won much.
-Aaron Gordon (42): No chance. We've seen what a team led by Gordon looks like.
-Desmond Bane (41): The Pistons could have him, but chose to pass on him three times in the 2020 Draft. Would they trade Cade for him? No. Bane is very good but he's already 25 and is what he is. He might be a better scorer than Cade now, but that's about it and he's already on a massive deal.
-Lamelo Ball (35): Would be a lateral move. I would have said absolutely not last season, but now? I'm not so sure.
-Walker Kessler (31): Wow. No chance, but it shows you how the rest of the NBA world views Cade compared to come of his contemporaries. Are we all just hopeless homers?
-Franz Wagner (30): Tough call, which I can't believe I just wrote. I wouldn't do it, but that's based on ceiling, not production so far.
-Jalen Williams (29): It would be nice if the Pistons ever hit on a guy like this in the draft. I wouldn't trade Cade for him, but it's hard to argue that Cade is the better player at this point in their careers.
-Darius Garland (26): An undersized, shoot-first guard is ahead of Cade Cunningham, which should worry us.
-Josh Giddey (22): I imagine his trade value has plummetted given recent events.
-Jalen Brunson (21): The Pistons probably could have had him, but decided he was "too small" while they are running Jaden Ivey and Marcus Sasser out there.
-Evan Mobley (16): Would you do it? Another tough call, but I'd probably pass.
At one point, I wouldn't have even considered trading Cade Cunningham for anything less than a bonafide superstar, but now you would at least consider some of these players, which is really more of an indictment of where the Pistons are than an attack on Cunningham, who has not been put in a position to be his best self.