Cade Cunningham makes Summer League debut
You can forgive fans of the Detroit Pistons for being eager to see their number one overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft Cade Cunningham on the court. NBA analysts and reporters have been discussing and hyping Cunningham’s potential for months now, which is why so many eyes were on his MGM Resorts NBA Summer League debut on Sunday night.
While Cunningham missed his first two shots on the evening, he managed to put up 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I think we got a lot from this game that we can learn from, and I think that’s the main thing you want coming out of your first game,” said Cunningham following his debut, via NBA.com. “So now we’re just gonna try to keep on building off of it.”
The Pistons ultimately lost the contest 76-72, but the result didn’t matter as much as the product on the court and the development of Cunningham. The 19-year-old’s first points of the game came off a three-pointer, one of two he made on the night.
“Both of them felt good,” Cunningham said of his three-point shots. “I wanted to step into the game confident, ready to shoot, ready to play. To see the first two go down is a good feeling. But now it’s just building off that. I don’t know if I hit another one after that. There’s something you can learn from always.”
While he did hit two three-point shots, he was just two-for-seven from long-range on the evening. While Cunningham is looking to improve on his shooting, he also made it clear that the ultimate goal is to help the team win rather than just bolster his own stats.
“I know what the perspective of my teammates would be having the No. 1 pick come in,” Cunningham explained. “So I don’t want to come in and be a guy that’s trying to be all about me and take all of that space up. I want to respect their space. They’re trying to build on their games. Saddiq is coming off first-team All-Rookie. So I want him to add on that and try to elevate himself. For me, it’s just to come in and try to make plays and be the best teammate and try to make the best impact that I can on this team.”
Despite the loss, it was a positive first night of action for Cunningham who is eager to get his professional career started. It will be interesting to watch how his play progresses throughout his rookie season.
“It was fun being able to put an NBA jersey on [for the] first time. Obviously, we wanted a win out of this,” Cunningham said, via NBA.com. “More than anything we’re on the same page, mentally on where we want this team to be. Now, it’s about having a better feel for each other. We haven’t played a lot together, but we have so much time to build this and grow from it. We’re not gonna hang our heads off just one game.”