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Pistons vs. Timberwolves preview: Anthony Edwards vs. (maybe) Cade Cunningham

We may or may not see the past two No. 1 picks in this matchup as Cade Cunningham deals with a hip pointer

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A Detroit Pistons-Minnesota Timberwolves early-February matchup generally isn’t going to be a game you circle on your calendar, and this ultimately still might not be much of a game if Cade Cunningham is unable to play after suffering a hip pointer against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.

In theory, this will be a fun matchup between two young teams and the last two No. 1 overall picks in Anthony Edwards and Cade Cunningham. Both teams hope that these players will change their future for the better, and the early returns on that are promising.

If Cade Cunningham does not play, then a lot of the intrigue of this matchup goes away.

Game Vitals

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +7

Analysis

As mentioned above, Cunningham may or may not play tonight due to injury. He is currently listed as a game time decision.

However, Edwards will be playing and he is looking the part of a No. 1 pick in his second year in the league. He is currently averaging 22.3 points, 5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 steals on 44/36/81 shooting splits. He has the potential to be a big time scorer and he has played a huge role in the Timberwolves being in the thick of the playoff race in the West.

You know what Karl Anthony-Towns can provide, and he is once again doing it all again this season. He once again leads the team in scoring with 24.4 points per game and is having a 50/40/80 shooting season.

The biggest reason for the Timberwolves playing better this season has been an improvement on defense. They are currently 13th in the league in defensive rating with a defensive rating of 109.4.

The Timberwolves have had talent on offense as evidenced by the two players mentioned above, but becoming an above average defensive team has allowed them to get into the playoff hunt.

They have a lot of young players that have improved. Guys like Jarred Vanderbilt, Jaden McDaniels, and Naz Reid have all improved and add some defensive versatility to the lineup.

The Timberwolves might be a bit ahead of schedule with a pretty young roster, but they are in desperate need of a season like this so people can stop trying to trade Karl Anthony-Towns every chance they get.

On the Pistons end, it will be interesting to see what Dwane Casey does if Cade Cunningham does not play. Killian Hayes has been coming off the bench the last few games and looks more comfortable doing it. Does Dwane Casey keep the lineup the same and start somebody like Frank Jackson in place of Cade? Or does he put Hayes back into the starting lineup.

Minnesota has been rumored a bit at one point to be interested in Jerami Grant in a potential trade, so this could be a bit of an audition for him. He looked solid in his return from thumb surgery on Tuesday and should only get better as he continue to work back into basketball shape.

The Pistons finally had their full lineup healthy on Tuesday after dealing with injuries for one of the main rotation members at one point throughout the whole season so far, and now Cade Cunningham is hurt and might not play.

I am not sure how much better a healthy Pistons team would be, but I imagine they would have at least a few more wins.

Projected Lineups

Minnesota Timberwolves (26-25)

Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Jarred Vanderbilt, Karl Anthony-Towns

Detroit Pistons (12-38)

Cory Joseph, Frank Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

Do you expect an exciting trade deadline or a quiet trade deadline?