On Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Pistons guard Cade Cunningham would miss the rest of the season with shin surgery. In the middle of a rebuild with a promising group of young players, Cunningham’s absence has multiple implications for a youthful team on the rise.
The 21-year-old last played on Nov. 9 against the Celtics before being sidelined with shin soreness. He had averaged nearly 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game while shooting 41.5% from the field, nearly 28% from three, and 83% from the free-throw line.
With the Pistons’ leading facilitator sidelined, it will be up to several players to fill the void and step up.
Cade Cunningham to Miss Rest of 2022-23 Season
Veteran wing Bojan Bogdanovic is having a resurgent year at 33 years old, averaging 21 points per game on 50-43-89 splits. Rookie guard Jaden Ivey will also have to shoulder some of the load. He is currently putting up 15 points, four rebounds and four assists per game on 40-30-72 splits; his workload as a ball handler will only increase with Cunningham out. Finally, despite his inconsistencies, point guard Killian Hayes will also need to up his game if the Pistons want a fighting chance against the competition. The 6’4” Frenchman is putting up eight points and five assists a game on 37-32-85 splits and has remained largely inconsistent throughout the year. His resurgence will be critical if the Pistons’ guard rotation wants to remain afloat.
Speaking of Bogdanovic, rumors have swirled over the swingman’s future given Detroit’s youth movement. Reports from Motor City most recently indicated that he will be staying put, even though other teams (e.g. the Lakers) are monitoring the situation.
“The Lakers have discussed sending a protected 1st round pick, as well as salary like a Patrick Beverley, to the Pistons for Bojan Bogdanovic… The holdup in that deal is that the Pistons really value Bojan.”
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 13, 2022
Cunningham’s injury may have given GM Troy Weaver more incentive to keep him around, so expect rumors to quiet down unless a major shift happens near the deadline.
Looking to the Future
As for the rest of the Pistons’ schedule, it does not get any easier. Aside from the lowly Hornets, they face the Kings, Nets, Jazz, Sixers, and Hawks in the next six games. Looking further into the future, the Pistons are projected to have the second overall pick behind the Orlando Magic. Of course, that is subject to change, but the prospect of landing a top talent in a loaded 2023 draft class is still very much alive for Pistons fans.
While Cunningham recovers, fans will still get the opportunities to watch other young talents shine, and with plans of developing the young core and adding to it come June, Pistons supporters should remain unfazed for the rest of the regular season.