It has been 18 years since the Detroit Pistons last won an NBA title and 32 years since the team copped a back-to-back championship. Apart from having the No. 1 pick in Cade Cunningham in the last year’s draft, the Pistons have yet to present a strong case for being contenders once again. However, Pistons legend Rip Hamilton has high hopes that Cade could finally put Detroit back on the map.
Just stay patient
Unlike other NBA legends, Hamilton still follows his former team. He said he has “been keeping up with the squad,” and based on what he sees; the Pistons are “moving in the right direction.” Rip is convinced that Detroit did the right thing in landing a guard like Cunningham, which was in line with the team’s championship blueprint.
According to Hamilton, history proves that the Pistons often accomplish great things with a point guard in the frontline, but it might not come instantly, so Detroit fans just have to “stay patient” with Cunningham.
“I feel like Cade is definitely a building block for us,” Hamilton told Complex last year. “If you look over the history of the Pistons and what the city and the organization embodies, one thing that we always have is great point guards. From Isiah Thomas, Chauncey Billups, we had great leaders when it comes to that guard position. And I think Cade is the guy.”
“I just tell people to stay patient,” he continued. “He’s still a kid, he’s still young, he’s still learning the system and new city and everything else. But I think he’s the guy that we can build around.”
In all fairness, Cunningham put up some impressive numbers in his debut season with the Pistons. In 64 games, “MotorCade” logged 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. However, what stood out most was that he failed to help the Pistons win games, finishing the 2021/22 season with an underwhelming 23-59 record.
Fortunately, Cade is well aware that winning, on top of anything else, is the most important thing.
“I think the biggest thing I learned is that the League, the media, nobody will care until you’re winning,” Cunningham said after the season. “I could feel bad for myself all I want about [how] people didn’t respect or appreciate the season I had, or anything, but I didn’t win a lot of games. So, I think that’s been the biggest thing that I’ve locked in on and I decided within.”
Cunningham is approaching his second campaign with Detroit, so the question is will he be able to prove Hamilton and the Pistons faithful right this time? Let’s wait and see.