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No. 1 Pick Cade Cunningham Wants to Bring 'Bad Boy' Mentality Back to Pistons

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 30, 2021

Stephen Pellegrino/NBAE via Getty Images

Newly minted No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham is ready to take the Detroit Pistons back to the 1980s. 

The combo guard out of Oklahoma State told reporters he's looking to reinstate the "Bad Boys" mentality in the Pistons' locker room as the franchise prepares to build a championship roster around him.

Rod Beard @detnewsRodBeard

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pistons?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pistons</a> Cade Cunningham says he wants to bring "Bad Boy" mentality back.

The Bad Boys Pistons' team led by Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer captured NBA titles in 1989 and 1990, but Detroit has only won a single championship since then (2004). 

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman believes Cunningham certainly has the skill set to help bring the Pistons back to prominence. In his final mock draft, Wasserman extolled the Oklahoma State product's versatility on the floor:

"With an ability to create his own shot, play-make and hit spot-up threes, he'll operate as a combo guard next to Killian Hayes.
"Cunningham figures to be a top-two option with Jerami Grant, while Saddiq Bey continues to stretch the floor from the wings. The only question is whether the No. 1 pick will affect Hayes' development at point guard, given how effective Cunningham is with the ball."

In his lone season with the Cowboys, Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists over 27 games. He also shot 40 percent from behind the arc and 43.8 percent from the floor overall. 

Whether or not he has the mentality to bring the Bad Boys attitude back is an issue separate from his skill set. So, too, is whether that style of play would even be allowed in the NBA anymore. 

As the league has progressed from the 1980s, the hard fouls and taunting that made Detroit infamous have mostly been officiated out of the sport. Cunningham is going to try bringing it back anyways. It's as tall a task as anything else he'll try to do to make the Pistons a winning franchise once again. 

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