Pistons Notes: Cunningham, Ivey, Casey, Expectations, Gores

Cade Cunningham‘s backcourt partnership with Jaden Ivey was delayed by Cunningham’s season-ending shin injury. Cunningham was impressed by Ivey’s growth this season and can’t wait to see how they’ll blend together for the Pistons next season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes.

“The pace and the poise he showed at the end of the year, I knew he was going to be that but I didn’t realize he was going to pick it up so fast,” Cunningham said. “To see that was huge for the team and huge for him to feel that. He’s only going to take more steps like that every year he’s playing. With his work ethic, he’s going to be great. I’m excited for him and I’m excited to play with him.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Cunningham says he’s making steady progress from shin surgery, reports Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscription required). “I’m at full-body weight in running right now, which was a big step for me,” Cunningham said. “I’m shooting jump shots now. I’m doing a little bit of changing direction right now. Not too much, as far as running up and down and changing direction yet, but the next week or two weeks, I should be getting that going. I’m progressing pretty fast right now. I’m at a point now that I’m at full body weight; I can do a lot more.”
  • The players spoke of their respect for their now former coach, Dwane Casey, and are happy that he’ll remain with the organization in a front office role, Curtis relays in another subscriber-only story. “Definitely sad to see him step down, but I know he said he’s going to stay around the team and around the organization,” rookie Jalen Duren said. “I just talked to him. I thanked him for giving me the opportunity.”
  • The Pistons will have a top five lottery pick and the cap flexibility to make moves to upgrade the roster. Cunningham knows expectations will ramp up in the fourth season under general manager Troy Weaver, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (subscription required). “We have a big summer ahead of us, because next year is the year for us,” Cunningham said. “It’s a huge year, a year that we need to take another step and improve and be better.”
  • Owner Tom Gores lauded Casey’s willingness to go through the rebuild process and develop a young roster in a statement relayed by The Detroit News. “Under the leadership of General Manager Troy Weaver, he has helped re-set our culture and restored our aspiration to compete at a high level and contend for championships,” he said. “Of course, there is still lots of work to do. But, as we enter the next phase of this rebuild, I am optimistic about our team and our direction, and very excited about the newest member of our front office, Dwane Casey.”
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