When the Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham as the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, it was only the second time in franchise history that they got this opportunity. The first and only other time was in 1970 when they selected one of their all-time greats, Bob Lanier. 

Cunningham’s selection, though not surprising, comes with huge expectations from all Piston Stakeholders, “MotorCade,” as teammates affectionately call him, is expected to be the face of the franchise and the main person to lead the charge for a turnaround in the fortunes of the team.

He is already living up to expectations; he was the second-best scorer for the team in his rookie season, averaging 17.4 PPG, with only Jerami Grant (19.2) scoring more. He was also second in assists (5.6) and third in defensive rebounds (4.6). He was also in the top 3 for rookie of the year and should have won, but that is for another debate. Cunningham achieved these numbers despite having a slow start to the season due to a nagging injury. This shows us that the kid is special and, without a doubt, will be one of the biggest stars in the NBA sooner than we think. I will give some reasons why I am confident this will happen.

One thing that differentiates a superstar from a good player is the ability to remain calm under pressure and perform at their best. Players like Michael Jordan and Lebron James have excelled in these situations, cementing their legacies as all-time greats. MotorCade is already displaying this unique trait; he tends to play his best basketball at clutch moments and is not intimidated by superstar players. An example of Cunningham showing his calm demeanor down the stretch was in a game against the Bucks in January 2022; he calmly drilled a late 3-pointer over Giannis Antetokounmpo and shortly after grabbed a stunning rebound from his own miss and drilled it! Cunningham was top 5 in clutch points in the 2021-22 NBA regular season, which again shows that this kid has the backbone to deliver when it matters.

Cade Cunningham also has one of the highest basketball IQs in the NBA. His ability to read the game and see plays before they happen, his competitive intensity, physical gifts, and poise are hallmarks of a superstar in the making. In his own words, “I feel I have all the tools to be successful; it is just a matter of being consistent.” Importantly, Cunningham also has the confidence to be great and plays a fearless, exciting brand of basketball that appeals to spectators, sponsors, and anyone who loves the game. His style of play makes him extremely marketable, another prerequisite to being a superstar in the NBA.


There are some exciting days ahead for the Detroit Pistons as long as Cade Cunningham remains in town! All the stars seem to be aligning for Cunningham to take his position as the face of Detroit; he is already the best player on the team and has the support of all his team members and back office team. The Pistons are comfortable with him as the leader, and we look forward to him taking the team to places they have not been since 2008 (winning a playoff series). This might not happen this season, but it will surely in the near future as Cunningham gains some more experience playing with the team and building a culture of success.

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