The second NBA season of promising young star Cade Cunningham has come to an early end.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Detroit Pistons guard will undergo season-ending surgery on his left shin. He's been out of action with the injury since Nov. 9.
Per that report, "Cunningham took a month to see if rest and rehabilitation would allow for the shin to improve but made the decision on Monday to move forward with the season-ending procedure."
The 21-year-old had a superb rookie season, averaging 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from three-point range. In 12 games this season he appeared to have taken another positive step, putting up 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from three.
He's the headliner on a talented but young roster that includes Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, Killian Hayes and Jalen Duren.
While losing a season of Cunningham will be a disappointment for Pistons fans, it may increase the odds that the team will land potentially transcendent prospect Victor Wembanyama, widely considered not only the best prospect in the class of 2023 but possibly the most talented prospect to hit the NBA since LeBron James.
Scoot Henderson, regarded as the No. 2 prospect, wouldn't be a bad consolation prize.
The Pistons are 7-22, the worst record in the NBA. That would give them with a 14 percent chance to win the draft lottery and a 52.1 percent chance to secure a top-four pick.
Losing a year of development time for Cunningham isn't ideal. Those potential lottery odds are the only silver lining.