Rookie Cade Cunningham came into the NBA with a lofty goal: restoring some semblance of greatness and dignity to a once-proud Detroit Pistons franchise.
So far, things have not gone according to plan.
With 58 games in the books, Detroit is 13-45 and sits 14th in the Eastern Conference. At this point, Cunningham has lost five times as many games just this year as he did last season at Oklahoma.
That wears on you.
This week, at the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, Cunningham expressed his frustration with how things have gone thus far.
— NBA (@NBA) February 18, 2022
“It’s been a tough experience so far,” he said.
“Losing this many games, a lot of us haven’t lost this many games before in our life. So that’s definitely been tough.”
So far this year Cunningham is averaging 15.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game. While he has definitely been stellar in bursts, there is a fair case to be made that he is actually having the fourth best season of his rookie class.
Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors and Josh Giddey of the Oklahoma City Thunder have all objectively put together more impressive campaigns.
There’s a reason why one Pistons legend opted to give a particularly brutal assessment of Cunningham recently. There are still legit doubts over his potential impact on a franchise-level.
The tweets speak for themselves. https://t.co/5shoQKynQF
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 21, 2022
That said, Cunningham is fresh off winning MVP honors at the revamped Rising Stars Challenge this past weekend. Can he use the momentum from that to finish the 2021-22 NBA season off in particularly strong fashion?
Time will tell.