It’s hard not to see the potential in the Detroit Pistons’ current squad. They have one of the most promising youngsters in the NBA today, and the addition of first-round pick Cade Cunningham could just take this team over the edge next season. The stamps should be one of the teams to be seen in 2021-22, and today we have three far too early and rather bold predictions about what the upcoming campaign holds for Detroit.
Cade Bags Rookie of the Year
All eyes will be on Cade Cunningham and he will be placed under the microscope from day 1. Such is the curse of being the first choice in the draft with the future of an entire franchise resting on his young shoulders.
Does Cade Cunningham have what it takes to be the best player in his rookie class? Absolutely. Will he be able to prove the same in his debut season and win the coveted Rookie of the Year award? I think.
To begin with, let’s take a quick look at Cunningham’s credentials. Last season as a rookie in Oklahoma State, the 6-foot-8 guard was average 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals, while also hitting 2.3 triples down per. Fight on a clip of 40.0 percent. Cade was a consensus American, and he also won 12 Big Beginners and 12 Big Players of the Year.
In the Las Vegas Summer League, Cunningham lined up 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He looked like the first overall choice the stamps put their money on, and Detroit could reap the benefits of their investment in the near future.
Right now is bookmakers has Cunningham as the favorite to pose for the Rookie of the Year title, as something takes away from the audacity of this “bold” prediction. In this regard, however, you should also note that there are a handful of other names that are not too far behind in the odds. Cunningham (+250) barely knocked out Houston Rockets‘Jalen Green (+300) and we expect these two to be neck and neck all season in the ROY race. Green certainly believes that he should have been the first choice over Cade, so Rockets stud will definitely play with one chip on his shoulder.
You can also not count the dark horses in the race, with Orlando Magic’s Jalen Suggs (+750), Toronto Raptors‘Scottie Barnes (+800) and Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers (+800) round out the Top 5 favorites for the ROY title.
Despite the fierce competition, however, my money is still on Cade Cunningham winning the Rookie of the Year 2020-21 award.
Jerami Grant gets All-Star Nod
Jerami Grant had an absolute breakout year last season with the Stamps. Detroit sprayed the cash on the 6-foot-8 forward last summer, closing him out for a three-year, $ 60 million deal. Some felt it was too much of a price to pay for a player who had not yet established himself in the league. Grant, however, cleared all doubt after what was no less than a huge campaign for him in 2020-21.
Grant was so good last season that he ended up being one of the biggest snubs for the All-Star squad. The 27-year-old was, on average, a career-best 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 blocks, while also connecting 2.1 three-pointers per. Fight (also a career high). Grant also finished second in last season’s most improved play.
As the attention shifts over to Cade Cunningham (from both spectators as well as opposing teams), it is very possible that Grant is able to lift his game to another level this season. Detroit’s high-profile rookie will likely focus on most nights, but Grant may appear to be Piston’s true star. The former Syracuse standout is at his best age right now and he was able to produce his best season yet in 2021-22. If all of this turns into something, it wouldn’t be surprising if Grant makes his All-Star debut in Cleveland in February.
Stamps makes the playoffs
We’ve reserved our bravest footage eventually: the Pistons win enough games in the East to earn a spot in the 2022 NBA Finals. This certainly sounds unlikely given how Detroit’s current roster feels like a year or two away from being a legitimate threat in the conference. However, we’ve seen crazier things in the past, and maybe Cade Cunningham makes a LaMelo Ball and carries his team to the brink of somewhere after the season. If Jerami Grant actually becomes an All-Star, he may be the one taking this team over the edge.
Detroit may emerge as one of the biggest surprise packages early in the season, and that could lead to a shift in front office strategy. If they realize they actually have a shot in the playoffs, then maybe they could make a few moves in the middle of the season to help this case. The addition of one or two tested veterans who will also meet some of their needs can certainly work to their advantage if the opportunity arises.
In this dream scenario, the Stamps are likely to fight for eighth and final place in the postseason via the play-in tournament. They could shock the basketball world by winning their way to the eighth seed, where they are likely to face a team like Brooklyn Nets or the Milwaukee Bucks. A first-round disruption seems too daunting for Detroit at this point, so we’ll settle for an off-season spot.
The Stamps have a five-year roadmap planned, so there really is no rush for this team to win now. Then again, who says they can not?
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