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#pounditWednesday, August 10, 2022

Cade Cunningham shares key lesson he learned in rookie season

Cade Cunningham in his Pistons uniform

Dec 2, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cade Cunningham had what was, by all accounts, a very solid rookie campaign with the Detroit Pistons. That did not win him a lot of plaudits, however, partly because of the lack of success the team had.

Cunningham revealed that was part of his biggest learning experience as an NBA rookie in a new interview. The former Oklahoma State star admitted that one key realization for him was that his personal accomplishments would not earn him a great deal of respect until the team he plays on is successful.

“I think the biggest thing I learned is that the League, the media, nobody will care until you’re winning,” Cunningham told Deyscha Smith of SLAM. “I could feel bad for myself all I want about [how] people didn’t respect or appreciate the season I had, or anything, but I didn’t win a lot of games. So, I think that’s been the biggest thing that I’ve locked in on and I decided within. I have to win games if I want people to respect my name, and if not, then I can’t be mad at people not watching enough games and how I really play.”

The Rookie of the Year vote could be a point toward Cunningham’s realization. He finished a distant third behind Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley, both of whom played on playoff teams. Cunningham’s Pistons, in contrast, went 23-59 and finished with the third-worst record in the NBA.

The losing is not something Cunningham is used to, and he clearly wants to change it going forward. This is still a valuable lesson for him to pick up so early, and it probably bodes well for his future if he’s able to be this mature over any perceived lack of respect.

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