Rookie Cade Cunningham missed Detroit’s first four games of the 2021-22 season but since making his debut against Orlando on October 30, he has been showing glimpses of why the Pistons selected him No. 1 overall in this year’s draft.
Cunningham recorded a career-high 18 points against Philadelphia on Nov. 4 and followed that up with a team-high 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.
One particular Net was duly impressed with Cunningham’s start to the season.
“I love Cade’s game,” said Kevin Durant post-game. “I think he’s gonna be a tough, tough cover for a long, long time. He battled some injuries to start but to come out here and play aggressive tonight, he hit some big shots for them. I’m happy for him, looking forward to seeing his career.”
Cunningham also finished with four rebounds and two assists in the 96-90 loss to Brooklyn.
Given his delayed start to the season after sustaining a sprained right ankle in training camp, Cunningham has gotten off to a slow start in his NBA career, and his shooting percentages reflect that. He’s converting just 23.2 percent of his field goal attempts, but the Pistons as a team only have one rotation player averaging above 50 percent in big man Isaiah Stewart.
Cunningham and Durant also went at each other on the court a little with the rookie not scared to take right up to the two-time Finals MVP.
Cunnigham’s performance also earned him the praise of his teammates with Saddiq Bey complimenting the rookie’s poise.
“He is not afraid to take shots in those big moments,” he said. “It’s going to be good for us in the future.”
Cunningham has flashed his potential, enough to put the rest of the league on notice.
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