Tuesday, November 30 2021

Cade Cunningham showed countless times in college at Oklahoma State the ability to take over games late and lead the Cowboys, and the No. 1 overall pick is already doing that with the Detroit Pistons.

Cunningham leads all rookies in fourth-quarter scoring with five points, easily his best average of any period. He also ranks near the top of the league in clutch-time scoring, averaging three points when the Pistons are either ahead or trailing by five points in the final five minutes.

In his latest effort, Cunningham produced four of his 16 total points in the fourth quarter on Wednesday in a win over the Indiana Pacers. Detroit outscored Indiana by eight points in the final frame to pick up its fourth win of the season.

Cunningham, in just nine games, is showing poise beyond his years in late-game situations, which is impressive for a player that missed most of training camp.

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey still believes Cunningham has much to learn but is getting better each game.

I think he is learning what to do in those situations. He still has a lot to learn because he even had some plays tonight down the stretch that you wouldn’t advise. He is learning. It is a great experience for him. With him being a primary ballhandler right now, and seeing blitzes, reading those situations are all learning experiences.

We can go through it in practice, talk about it and show video, but until you go against a 7-footer in (Myles) Turner and (Domantas) Sabonis and blitzes you, it’s a different story. He is coming through and it’s great work for him. He is just going to continue to get better and better and learn as he goes along and that’s what he’s doing.

Cunningham endured a rough start over his first two games, but is beginning to round into form. He is averaging 16 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals on 43.2% shooting from the field over his last five games. Unsurprisingly, the Pistons are 3-2 over that stretch.

Casey and the Pistons cautioned anyone that would listen that Cunningham would need time to knock off the rust after missing most of training camp. It appears as though the 20-year-old has done just that and is starting to show signs of why he was a consensus No. 1 pick.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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