The Detroit Pistons were one of the worst teams in the NBA during the 2020-2021 season, but being so terrible may have paid off. The Pistons won the NBA Draft Lottery and selected Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham with the first pick. Cunningham is being touted as one of the premier talents that has come into the league in recent years and he gives the Pistons a franchise cornerstone to build around now.
The Pistons were a really young team last season and are set to be even younger during the 2021-2022 campaign. Cunningham is the headliner, but he was not the only player that the Pistons drafted who could make an impact. Many questions exist about this year’s squad and we’ve got you covered with our Fact or Fiction series. It features the boldest and biggest claims being made about Detroit and offers you the answer with a decisive fact or fiction.
Make sure to check out all of our other Fact or Fiction articles.
Cade Cunningham will Win the 2021-2022 Rookie of the Year Award
The Pistons have not had a rookie take home the award since Grant Hill did so after the 1994-1995 season. That is a long time for a franchise to go without having a winner for the award, but that could change after this season. Cunningham is coming into the season with a ton of hype and expectations around him. He is an exceptional passer and can score in many ways, which makes him such a fascinating player. Cunningham is just as talented as last year’s rookie of the year, LaMelo Ball, and is probably a better shooter than Ball is at this point.
The thing that could hold Cunningham back is the team’s record and his teammates. It is not uncommon for the rookie of the year team’s to have a poor record, but it could be held against Cunningham because he is supposed to be the kind of player that can elevate his team. There is not another super-talented player on the Pistons and Cunningham’s stats could suffer as a result. However, Cunningham remains as the clear front-runner to win the award.
Verdict: Fact, Cade Cunningham will be the 2021-2022 Rookie of the Year
The Pistons Have an Elite, Young Core
The Pistons have a lot of young players that they hope can contribute to their new-age core. The last two drafts have seen the Pistons select talented players. At the end of last season, those young guys were getting tons of playing time, while showing some flashes.
The player that Detroit fans might be most excited about is center Isaiah Stewart. Stewart was a rebounding machine when given the opportunity, but does need to make strides on the offensive end. Forward Saddiq Bey showed glimpses of being a productive two-way player and dominated at this year’s NBA Summer League.
For young guards Killian Hayes and Saben Lee, it was a bit more up and down. Their opportunities might be more limited with the arrival of Cunningham. As talented as they might be, none of these guys, including Cunningham, have proven themselves to be elite players. When comparing the Pistons’ core to another elite young unit, like the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit’s is not as good.
Verdict: Fiction, the Pistons do not have an elite, young core
The Pistons will Win 30 Games
After being one of the worst teams in the league last season and only winning 20 games, the Pistons are hoping that they can exceed that win total this upcoming season. If that happens, it’s largely going to depend on if Cunningham is as good as advertised and if the other young players like Stewart and Bey take steps forward. It could be a rough start to the season for the Pistons because of how young they are.
With all of that being said, it would be a stretch to say that the Pistons are going to win 30 games. That does not mean that they can’t be competitive, but actually winning games is not going to be the theme in Detroit this season. This is a team that is bound for the lottery yet again, but they do have some nice pieces and a potentially bright future ahead of them.
Verdict: Fiction, the Pistons will not win 30 games
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