Cady Cunningham’s sophomore season is expected to be an exciting one – and perhaps good enough to land him in the same stratosphere as some of the best players in the NBA.
The versatile Pistons guard landed 35th on ESPN’s 12th annual NBArank, a list of the top 100 players in the league.
The list is always a popular topic of conversation, with fans and the media usually discussing which players should have higher or lower ratings.
It’s a huge leap for Cunningham having broken the roster in 76th right before his rookie year in 2021-22. Cunningham demonstrated the ability to do a little bit of everything on the ground, averaging 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists during his first season in the league.
ESPN NBA Project Analyst Anthony Givoni evaluated Cunningham’s game, both offensively and defensively, and predicted that another season of experience would be enough for the young star to make the leap to stardom in the NBA.
“Cunningham is a Swiss Army knife, capable of gliding between any of the rear area positions at 6 feet, 6 feet and 220 pounds with a wingspan of 7 feet,” Jevonne wrote. “He is highly interchangeable and versatile defensively and able to play on or off the ball with the ability to handle the ball, pass and shoot. The 21-year-old should be jumping soon into his sophomore season, especially from beyond the arc after shooting 31.4% as a beginner.”
Although he finished third in the NBA Rookie of the Year last season, Cunningham’s latest ranking places him slightly ahead of two other notable players in the junior class.
Toronto Raptors forward Scotty Barnes, named New Player of the Year, finished 39th. Cunningham also leads by one place over Cleveland Cavaliers man Evan Mobley (#36), who finished second in this year’s rookie vote. Both players were not ranked prior to last season.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Jeramy Grant, who spent the last two seasons with the Pistons, also topped the list, finishing 64 for 11 lower than last year. Houston Rockets runner-up Jalen Green retained his place from last season’s list at number 62.
Cunningham’s growth is vital to the Pistons’ improvement this season, along with Sadiq Bey, who didn’t make the cut, despite averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds as a sophomore last season. This duo is expected to be the main source of attack in Detroit, but the team also added bomb guard Jaden Ivey with overall pick number 5. Ivey could find himself in the 2023-24 edition of this list.
NBArank will run through the remainder of this week. Numbers 100-26 were released on Tuesday. Numbers 25-11 will be announced on Wednesday, followed by numbers 10-6 on Thursday. ESPN’s top five players will be revealed on Friday.