Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, has established himself as an early candidate for this season’s Rookie of the Year award with his showing pre-draft and in the limited sample of professional basketball that he’s played.
However, the 19-year-old’s primary goal for the season highlights a key characteristic, one that was likely part of what swayed the Pistons to select him over other popular prospects, such as former G League Ignite guard Jalen Green.
In an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Cunningham allowed fans a look into his mind, as he discussed how his hope to build a special culture in the Pistons’ locker room outweighs his potential on-court accomplishments this season.
“I’m going to attack the game. I’m going to do what I do. But regardless, it’s a trophy. So I feel what I could build in that locker room will mean a lot more to me and worth a lot more than whatever hardware I can get. That’s just an individual award.”
Looking at both the tangible and intangible assets of the players they’ve brought in, the Pistons have done an admirable job amassing promising young players through both the draft and free agency.
However, the addition of Cade could be just the catalyst that the Pistons are looking for to kick their team into high gear. It will be interesting how the Texas native can lead this young roster as the season goes on.