By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite completing the five-game road trip without a win and extending the losing streak to eight games, Detroit Pistons play-caller Dwane Casey was happy with French point guard Killian Hayes jelling with top pick of the 2021 NBA draft Cade Cunningham.
“They play off each other. They’re good for each other,” explained Casey assessing the pairing following the loss to the red-hot Phoenix Suns Thursday, “They’re doing a great job of playing off each other and that’s something Pistons fans should get used to for a long time.”
Selecting Cunningham one year after picking up fellow point guard Hayes with the seventh overall pick of the 2020 draft raised concerns about the 20-years-olds managing to effectively complement each other on the court. However, they have been looking more comfortable moving deeper into the 2021-22 Regular Season.
“Even if some of the lessons are painful, you learn from it,” mentioned the Pistons head coach, “That’s where Cade and Killian both, I thought they grew up tonight going up against one of the best pick-and-roll guys and one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league.”
Limited to 26 games played by a right hip injury during his rookie season, Hayes has bounced back with 6.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game over 17 contests in 2021-22. Fellow point guard Cunningham has been averaging 14.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game.
“They play off each other. We’re kind of getting a better feel for what we can run with those two in the game to take advantage of those strengths,” added Casey, “Cade shooting the way he’s shooting really helps tremendously. Same thing with Killian. He’s doing a good job of attacking gaps and finding open guys. They’re growing together and they’re good for each other.”
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