No. 1 Cunningham, No. 2 Green put on show at Summer League
LAS VEGAS — Are you not entertained?
No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham and his Pistons faced off against No. 2 pick Jalen Green and his Rockets Tuesday night in Las Vegas and there were fireworks — they guarded each other for stretches, but the buckets kept coming.
Green finished with 25 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 3-of-5 from 3, and he got to the line 11 times (also his Rockets won, 111-91, if anyone cares about such things at Summer League).
Green is just a walking bucket, fearless on the attack and able to score at all three levels.
Cunningham finished with 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting, with just two assists. Those assist numbers don’t tell the story well, Cunningham moved the ball and made good passes, but his teammates couldn’t finish. The prime example: Cunningham was 4-of-9 from 3 Tuesday, the rest of the team was 3-of-25.
Cunningham has a fluid athlete, but he also is strong and can play through contact impressively. He did it on a few drives against the Rockets, once for a dump-off assist. Once again, the Pistons had Cunningham working off the ball a lot, which has been hit and miss, both for him and the Pistons. Cunningham also showed some defensive versatility.
What both Cunningham and Green bring to the table is poise under pressure — both just play at their own pace. Which is impressive for rookies.
The Rockets won because they had deeper talent on the team — including their other two first-round picks, who impressed.
Turkish big man Alperen Sungun, the No. 16 pick, finished with 21 points and eight boards. He’s got skills and that is too much for the bigs he faces in Summer League (we’ll see what happens against the size and athleticism of the league this fall).
No. 16 pick Josh Christopher had 15 points, showed off some impressive athleticism, and was the Rockets’ best defender on Cunningham. Houston may have something in the Arizona State star.