The Detroit Pistons opened up their 2022 NBA Summer League schedule on Thursday night in Las Vegas and we were able to see rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren in the Pistons' red, white, and blue for the first time. Us fans had to watch the game on television but Cade Cunningham had the best seat in the house as he sat courtside to watch Ivey and Duren in their Summer League debut against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Ivey and Duren both impressed Cunningham as the Pistons defeated the Trail Blazers 81-78.
Cade Cunningham is fired up about rookies Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren
Following the game, Cade Cunningham spoke to reporters and he was clearly fired up about the Pistons adding both Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren to the mix.
Cunningham called Duren, who finished with nine points in very limited action, a “freakish athlete” who is going to make his job much easier.
“Jalen is obviously another freakish athlete. He's an elite rim protector and elite lob threat, somebody you can put the ball up wherever and he'll go get it,” Cunningham said. “It makes me, Killian’s and Ivey’s — all our guards' job — so much easier to have somebody like that coming in.
“We have (Isaiah Stewart) helping him (learning) the ropes and showing him how we play. I think we've got a good group all the way around. I'm more than excited to play with everybody.”
As far as Ivey goes, Cunningham did not hesitate to point out his elite speed on the court and how it's going to be fun to push the pace.
“I mean, he's fast — I'm not fast. Having somebody like that with me spreads the floor out a lot. It can help us push the pace,” Cunningham said. “I like to kick ahead to push the pace and he can literally sprint ahead. It's going to be fun. We both have a good feel for getting teammates involved.”
Cunningham added that though the Pistons are a super young team, they are “hungry” to prove themselves in the league.
“I think just the mindset is just we're all hungry, to get the season started, get going together and prove ourselves in the league,” Cunningham said. “We're a super-young core, so nobody's going to give us anything, but we're ready to go and prove ourselves, and I think we've got a lot of talent to do it.”
During the offseason, Cunningham has been working hard in the weight room to put on some muscle and it has paid off as he estimates he has added 10-15 pounds.
“Just being consistent in the weight room is what really helped me keep that weight on and help it stick,” he said. “I’m like 225; I had some 230 (days). My weight fluctuates a lot, but 225 is pretty consistent now. “I’d love to be consistent at 225.
“I definitely wouldn’t get any lower than like 220. Through 82 games, it’s a lot of moving around. My weight goes up and down a lot. That’s 10 or 15 pounds (more). I probably played a lot of the season around 210 or 215.”
Nation, how excited are you to see Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren all on the floor together for the Detroit Pistons?