The Pistons and an uncomfortable conversation about Cade Cunningham

Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons need to have some uncomfortable conversations this offseason, including one about their best player, Cade Cunningham.

This is part three of a series of uncomfortable conversations that started with Jalen Duren and Cunningham's backcourt sidekick Jaden Ivey.

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Cunningham has improved individually this season, but the team is still terrible, which brings up myriad questions about their franchise cornerstone.

Should the Detroit Pistons be building around Cade Cunningham?

I would answer this question by saying, "I have no idea" because they've yet to try it. Drafting guards and wings who can't shoot and adding them to two bigs who don't shoot is not the best way to complement Cunningham and everyone except for Troy Weaver can see that. Weaver has given Cunningham mismatched players who are well past their primes or who have yet to reach it.

Cunningham has the skill set to be "that guy" and is putting up All-Star numbers of 22.1 points, 7.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game on 44/35/86 shooting splits.

He hasn't been able to single-handedly will his team to victory, but few players can, and every superstar in the league has struggled to win until the right team was put around him, including Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

That being said, it's fair to ask if the Pistons should run such a Cade-centric offense or if there are better ways to use him. It's also fair to criticize his defense, though I would say that a player being asked to do as much as he is offensively should be cut some slack on the other end, though it's true he must improve.

Cade has also shown leadership this season, taking responsibility and accountability for his team's failures, though he was never put in a position to succeed.

Cade has the skill and he has the mentality, but one big question remains.

Can Cade Cunningham stay healthy?

This is the elephant in the room for Cunningham and this entire Pistons' roster, as only Jaden Ivey and Marcus Sasser have a chance to crack 70 games played this season.

Cunningham is sitting on 59 games played this season after missing all but 12 of last season and playing only 64 games as a rookie, so under the new rules, Cunningham has yet to play a season in which he'd be eligible for a post-season award based on games played.

Cunningham did play huge minutes with a high usage rate early in the season and didn't really start breaking down until recently, which may just be the team being cautious, but it has to be concerning when your best player has yet to start and finish a season.

The Detroit Pistons are only going to go as far as Cunningham takes them, which is why it is imperative to get him some help. But there are legit questions about building your team around a player who has yet to show he can stay healthy for a whole season, something Detroit must consider as they are reshuffling their roster this summer.