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Pistons’ Rising Star: On The Verge Of A Lucrative Extension

Cade Cunningham and the Pistons are on the verge of an extension.

The Detroit Pistons are poised to offer Cade Cunningham a lucrative rookie extension this summer. Despite missing 70 games in his sophomore season, Cunningham returned triumphantly. In 62 games last season, he averaged 22.7 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds with shooting splits of 44/35/86%. His overall shooting and playmaking showed marked improvement. Although the Pistons endured their worst regular season in franchise history, Cunningham remains a cornerstone in their rebuilding efforts.

With the 2025 salary cap in mind, Cunningham is projected to sign a 5-year, $225 million extension. Critics of this potential deal point to his 32-106 record as a Piston, arguing against such a substantial investment. Nevertheless, the extension appears imminent, whether it happens this summer or next. Does Cade Cunningham merit this massive payday? Is he truly a franchise player? Let’s explore these questions in depth.

Pistons’ Rising Star: On The Verge Of A Lucrative Extension

Numbers Don’t Always Equal Wins

In Cade Cunningham’s three seasons in Detroit, he has played in 138 games, averaging 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists on 43/33/85% shooting. During these games, the Pistons are 32-106, including a 9-53 record this season. In the 101 games Cunningham has missed, the Pistons are 22-86, with a 5-15 record this season. No matter how you analyze it, the Pistons struggle whether Cunningham is on the floor.

In the 62 games that Cunningham played this season, the Pistons’ point differential is -579 (-9.3 difference), while their point differential with him off the floor in the 20 games is -168 (-8.4 difference). Interestingly, the Pistons are the same scoring team without Cunningham as when he plays (109 points). They also turn the ball over more with him on the floor (15.3 to 12.5 turnovers). These stats highlight areas for improvement and emphasize Cunningham’s talent and potential as a franchise player.

Pistons Cade Cunningham is a Star in the Making

To see Cade’s potential as a franchise cornerstone, consider his last three games of the 23-24 season. He averaged 33.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.6 steals on 47/47/90% shooting. While 2.7 turnovers per game might be concerning, it’s expected when handling the ball frequently, especially in crucial moments.

This season, Cunningham has had two games with over 40 points, 18 games with 30 or more points, and 42 games with 20 or more points. Additionally, he recorded sixteen games with ten or more assists and 39 games with five or more. Ranking seventh in assist percentage (35.9), 13th in usage percentage (30.8), and top-25 in field goal attempts (832). However, turnovers (3.4) are an area for improvement for Cunningham to take that next step.

Pistons Cade Cunningham Can Be the Next SGA

Watching Cade Cunningham play, one sees similarities with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both excel in the mid-range, are solid rebounders, and are exceptional playmakers. For Cunningham to elevate his game, he must improve his offensive and defensive aggression, emulating Gilgeous-Alexander’s prowess. Shai was tied for first in the NBA in steals per game (2.0) and ranked second in free-throw attempts (649) and first in makes (567).

As Shai has done with players like Jalen Williams and Luguentz Dort, Cade must instill confidence in his teammates. Cunningham has the potential to elevate players such as Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart, and Ausar Thompson, unlocking their full potential and transforming the Pistons into a competitive team.

The Last Word

Extending Cade Cunningham’s contract with the Detroit Pistons now rather than later is a strategic move that aligns with the team’s long-term goals. Despite the Pistons’ struggles in recent seasons, Cunningham has emerged as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for their rebuilding efforts. His impressive performance, marked by stats and flashes of brilliance, shows potential for him to become a franchise player. The Pistons secure Cunningham’s extension, investing in his future and solidifying his commitment to his development and team trajectory.


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