Fans of the Detroit Pistons suffered through a miserable campaign last year, watching their team win just 20 out of 72 games. Only the Houston Rockets had a worse overall record than the Pistons, but it was Detroit who landed the coveted first overall pick during the NBA Draft Lottery.
When the Pistons were announced as the winners of the lottery and the possessors of the first overall selection of the 2021 NBA Draft, it was already quite obvious who they would be taking. Cade Cunningham out of Oklahoma State was the easy choice, with both fans and players excited to have the youngster join the organization.
However, the buzz generated by the arrival of Cunningham has simmered in recent days when it was revealed that the point guard had rolled his ankle early in training camp and would be out of action for some time. When the injury initially happened on Friday it didn’t seem to be very serious, but it could be worse than originally expected.
“Healthwise, just like any other training camp, you’re going to have nicks and bruises and turned ankles, but nothing is at all serious – zero,” Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey said Friday, via the Detroit News. “Cade has a turned ankle. It’s very mild, but we’re going to be cautious, just to make sure that he recovers before next week.”
However, on Monday Casey clarified to reporters that the 20-year-old does not have a timeline for his return yet as the team is taking a cautious approach.
The rookie also suffered an ankle injury last year with Oklahoma State when he accidentally stepped on Baylor’s Davion Mitchell’s foot during a game on March 4th. However, for the most part he was a reliable starter for the school and injuries were not much of a concern.
Cunningham only spent one season playing at Oklahoma State before declaring for the NBA Draft, but he was named a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, which is presented annually to the best men’s and women’s college basketball players. He was also named a first-team All-American.
Pistons fans will be biting their nails in the hope that Cunningham will be back sooner rather than later as they know the future of the organization rests on his shoulders. Detroit have made the playoffs just twice in the last 12 years and supporters are desperate to see the team get back to winning ways.
As a result of their struggles though, Detroit has assembled a young and talented squad that could become an elite force in the NBA within the next few years. They will need a healthy Cunningham though, which is why the team seems to be taking a cautious approach with his recovery.
The Pistons begin their 2021-22 regular season on October 20th with a game at home against the Chicago Bulls. Little Caesars Arena will be packed in anticipation that Cunningham will be making his NBA debut, but it remains to be seen if that will still be the case.