It has been a difficult start to the season for the Pistons, but things could be picking up soon. That’s because No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham appears in line to make his NBA debut Saturday vs. the Magic.
Cunningham, 20, is 6-foot-8 and was not listed on the injury report, indicating he’ll be available.
“We’ll see where he is (Saturday),” coach Dwane Casey said. “We’re not putting a timetable on it. I’m just waiting to see when he’s available. I think he’s ready. He understands what we need to be doing.”
The Pistons (0-4) have been waiting to see Cunningham take the court for the game, as he suffered a sprained ankle at training camp and also missed the preseason.
He averaged averaged 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals, shooting 43 percent from the field in three summer league games.
Cunningham’s teammates particularly appear to be excited about getting a chance to play with him.
“He’s going to bring some juice right away,” guard Frank Jackson told reporters. “He’s been working hard. It’ll be fun to get him out here and get rolling. It could take time, but I think he’s willing and ready to do what it takes to help our team excel. I’m excited for him to get out there.”
Given that Cunningham has missed about five weeks, Detroit could start him out a minutes restriction.
Either way, just his presence could help to steer things in a better direction.
“Nobody’s panicking,” Casey said. “I knew going into this year it’s going to be a teaching experience, a learning experience. I can see growth in certain guys. We’ve just got to continue to do that.”
The Pistons are the last remaining NBA team without a win. Once an Eastern Conference power, they have only been to the playoffs twice in the last decade, most recently in 2018-19, when they finished 41-41 and lost in the first round.