During Sunday’s game between the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets, the Bally Sports Detroit crew had Pistons legend (and former Detroit mayor) Dave Bing on the broadcast.
Bing is no stranger to on-court success, having recently been named one of the NBA’s 75 greatest players of all time. He offered his thoughts on Cunningham, and what the Pistons need to return to the success of the early 2000s.
“I think he’s starting to come into his own right now,” Bing said, sitting with BSD’s George Blaha and Greg Kelser.
“We were worried about him early on on in terms of his shooting, but he’s playing very, very well. So I think he’s going to be an All-Star caliber player, I don’t think he’s a guy you can build a team around — we still gotta get that guy, we don’t have it yet, in my opinion. I also think our weakness is in the backcourt; we gotta get a good point guard.”
NEW TODAY: Saben Lee has been a G League star. On Sunday, he showed potential with Pistons
ANALYSIS: Pistons might be the NBA’s worst team, but wasn’t that kind of the plan?
It’s not necessarily Bing’s opinion that surprised, but more so the rare brutal honesty as a guest appearance on the home broadcast in a year where the Pistons (4-22) are rebuilding and trying to sell hope and optimism. That all starts with Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the draft last summer.
Cunningham had 26 points, on 9-for-18 shooting, to go with eight rebounds and six assists in the 116-104 loss to the Nets at Little Caesars Arena. This continues a trend of success that supports Bing’s take on Cunningham, 20, coming into his own.
Cunningham in his past six games, all losses, is averaging 22.7 points (47.7% overall, 52.4% from 3 on seven attempts per game, 75% on free throws), 5.5 rebounds, four assists, 1.8 steals and 4.8 turnovers.
The last line about needing to “get a good point guard” also seemingly signified Bing’s lack of trust in Killian Hayes, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, the first under general manager Troy Weaver. Hayes, 20, has ceded the offense to Cunningham and is playing an off-ball role this season. He has shown he can contribute with passing and defense, but remains unable to score the ball for himself effectively — he ranks fifth worst out of 207 rotation players in shooting efficiency; Saddiq Bey is sixth worst — which has prevented Hayes from living up to his draft billing through 47 career games.
And then there’s Bing’s other point: The Pistons need more top-level talent.
[ How Pistons legend Dave Bing found fuel during breakout rookie season ]
In the latest Pistons mailbag, our Omari Sankofa II breaks down the options in the 2022 draft, and there are three enticing prospects who have separated themselves from the pack. That’s definitely starting to loom, as the Pistons have just four wins — the worst in the NBA — and, at 12 straight losses, are threatening to set a franchise record for consecutive losses, which sits at 14.
Despite the Pistons stumbling and struggling in the past few seasons, Pistons legends are recognizing Cunningham’s talent and know there’s room for more to get this franchise back to contender status.
Contact Andrew Hammond at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ahammFreePress. Check out some of the tremendous offers from the Detroit Free Press and subscribe today!