The long awaited debut of a franchise-changing started out in storybook fashion for Cade Cunningham. He sank his first two 3s and his Detroit Pistons jumped out to a 10-point first-quarter lead. But once Cunningham and Killian Hayes left for the bench, Detroit’s offense fell apart and never really recovered in a 76-72 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The game started with some miscommunication between Cade Cunningham and Sekou Doumbouya on a p&r coverage leading to an easy deuce for Thunder. But after losing another bucket, Detroit have changed its point guards duties from Cade to Killian Hayes, and the good guys started to roll. With his trademarked cut, Sekou scored first Motown points.
Then Cade chipped in with two triples and the Pistons were on a 12-0 run. The reserve added an 8-0 run in the second part of the frame and the result stood at 26-14 for Detroit.
Then Pistons fans would have been well enough to turn the game off. Oklahoma started the second quarter on its own run and took the lead with 4:40 left to play in the half. After couple of lead changes, another OKC run gave it couple of buckets lead that persisted till the end of the game.
The lead reached double digits at the end of the third frame, but Detroit fought back by turning up its D in the last period to cut it to four points, and the final result was 72-76 Thunder.
The game showed that it might take time till Cade will be able to impose his will on the court with the ball in his hands. It’s not only the 5 turnovers he committed mostly on passes (and mostly to a stone-handed Tyler Cook). It’s also his difficulty to create separation. Jalen Green was way in front of him in this regard in his first game for Rockets. The goal for the remainder of summer league is for him to show in the next games that it was just a question of catching up with his conditioning, understanding the flow of the game at the new level, learning his new role (alongside Killian as team’s 1a and 1b point guards) and eating better (he looks much skinner than in OSU last year).
The No. 1 overall pick left a better impression on the other end, though. Yes, there were some of the typical communication errors as part of a new defensive scheme with new teammates. But that was because Pistons defense as a whole was marked with throughout lack of comprehension. But when Cade was on his own on D, he looked quite smooth.
Ok down with this OKC game, let’s now see what Cade and the Guys bring on Tuesday against Green and Rockets.