DETROIT – It’s not even been a month since rookie goaltender Cade Cunningham donned the Detroit Pistons uniform. But the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft is already making history.
In Monday night’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, Arlington, TX. native scored a career-high 25 points, while racking up eight rebounds and distributing 8 assists. He shot 50% from the field, making 10 of his 20 attempts in total. He had five shots from distance to cap off his best offensive night of the season so far.
With his career night out, the Pistons rookie has joined a pretty elite company, not only within the Pistons franchise but the league as well.
According to ESPN statistics and information, Cunningham joined Grant Hill (4x) and Dave Bing (1x) as the Pistons’ only rookies with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a game in franchise history. He’s also the Pistons’ first rookie with 25 points and five or more rebounds, assists and three points in a game in team history.
He joins Steph Curry (2x), Trae Young and Jason Kidd as the only rookies in NBA history with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and five trebles in a game, by StatMuse.
At 20 years and 51 days, he also became the youngest player in NBA history to score at least 25 points, have eight rebounds, eight assists and five three-pointers in a game. He is followed by LeBron James (20 years, 100 days), Trae Young (20 years, 163 days) and Luka Doncic (20 years, 248 days).
It’s no surprise that Cunningham quickly adapted to the NBA. Pistons head coach Dwane Casey praised Cunningham on his high basketball IQ and said that would be the reason he moved quickly to the NBA.
“It just says who he is,” Casey said ahead of Monday’s game. “Once he gets the experience you will see more consistency over the four quarters. But the DNA he has, the timing is never too great for him. He relishes the moment more than anything else.
In his first three games, Cunningham needed to get rid of the rust after missing the entire preseason and the first four games of the regular season. Even through them, his constant improvement stood out.
The most recent five games have shown that Cunningham has the skills to be successful in the league. As of November 5, Cunningham has averaged 16.2 points on 43.8% shots from the field.
His shooting also resumed as he found his shot and his sense of the game. He succeeds 40.5% of his shots from long distance with 7.4 attempts per game.
“Now we feel more and more comfortable with our system and who we are with,” Cunningham said. “Now I think it’s just time to grow up and get better with it. I feel like in the Toronto game we had pretty good flow in our attack. We moved the ball well. , and I think it is now a question of being constant.
As a rookie to one of the league’s youngest teams, Casey has warned there will be ups and downs this season. Part of those lows include limiting turnovers as he continues to understand how defenses attack his game.
“With every game I feel like I’m adding something to the hard drive and something to my game,” Cunningham said. “I’ve learned so much about myself as a person and about myself as a player since I came to the NBA. It’s promising for me, at least, to stay confident and believe in myself for the future.
In his first eight games, Cunningham averages 3.6 turnovers in the game, which ranks him 12th in the league. He sits behind some of the best players in the league including Russell Westbrook (5.3), James Harden (4.6) and Paul George (4.3).
But there’s a lot more good that has come with Cunningham’s return, including his ability to perform when the pressure is really on. He continues to show that the Pistons can count on him, especially as the team becomes more and more competitive.
“It’s cool. Seeing the same things, always seeing me take it to the next level,” Cunningham said. “I did it in high school and seeing it translated in college was cool. Being in the NBA is now a dream. come true More than anything winning games is the goal Anyway I can to help us do that is what I try to do.