The Pistons won an average of 21 games over the past three seasons, failing to reach the playoffs and extending the franchise’s 11-year playoff win drought to 14 years. Last season, Oklahoma State product Cade Cunningham reignited the sleeping fans of Detroit. Drafted No. 1 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cunningham averaged 17.5 points, 5.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game, rejuvenating the city and bringing fresh energy to the franchise.
The guard broke multiple “the youngest ever” records, including becoming the sixth player in NBA history with at least the same total points, assists, and rebounds through the first 64 games of their career as LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Luka Doncic, Oscar Robertson and Alvan Adams.
Following a historic season, Cunningham looks to continue to build his legacy in Detroit. The 6′ 6″ sophomore added 10-15 pounds of muscle this offseason.
“I didn’t recognize him,” Coach Dwane Casey said per CBS news. “He’s done a really good job with his body”.
“He looks like a different dude, and that physicality will help him,” Casey added.
Cunningham is committed to winning, and he’s hoping his increased strength will help him decrease his turnovers and maintain a high level of play throughout the season.
“We have a lot more depth this year,” Cunningham said. “I think it’s realistic to say we’ll have a bunch of locked-in guys that are playing to win. If we do that, the wins will take care of itself.”
The Pistons are seeking redemption this year. Alongside Cunningham, they’ve added Purdue star Jaden Ivey, Memphis center Jalen Duren, and recently acquired sharp-shooter Bojan Bogdanovic. The Pistons open their season on Oct. 19 against the Orlando Magic.