The wraps come off tonight.
“He’s good to go,” coach Dwane Casey said.
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Cunningham, the team’s first No. 1 overall pick in over half a century, will start and play 20-25 minutes. He practiced with the G League Motor City Cruise while the team was on a road trip this week and then practiced with the team on Friday.
“Shorter bursts, shorter stints, got him on a minutes count,” Casey said. “Tell the fans don’t be chanting for Cade because the medical people will have me arrested if I play him over a certain number of minutes.”
The Pistons will run out their preseason projected five: Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant and Isaiah Stewart.
Cunningham should provide offense to a Pistons team that averages 94 points (30th in the league) and shoots 40.8% from the field (29th).
Casey’s advice to the prized prospect was just to enjoy the moment. The head coach wouldn’t reveal during his pregame conference whether Cunningham would be in the starting lineup.
“He told me he’s been playing since he was 4, so do what you’ve been doing since you were 4?” he said. “Have fun, compete, don’t worry about mistakes, have a ‘next play’ mentality. As adults, we understand he feels pressure but he shouldn’t.
“He should go out there, have fun, compete and let everything else take care of itself as he knocks off the rust.”
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