Detroit Pistons G Cade Cunningham has been ruled out for the season opener vs. the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night due to an ankle injury. Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, resumed practice on Monday and the team is going to take it easy with their franchise cornerstone.
Cunningham didn’t play at all during the preseason due to a sprained ankle. So even if he were healthy, there’s a chance the Pistons wouldn’t want to roll him right out there in his NBA debut. We’ll see how Cunningham progresses in practice this week and if he’s able to shake the injury and make his debut during the weekend or next week. It could be a bit before we see Cunningham considering his importance to the franchise and the Pistons’ season outlook.
Fantasy basketball impact
Cunningham is being drafted 73.8 on average on ESPN for fantasy basketball standard leagues. He’s still worth selecting in that range, but you have to have a bit of insurance. An ankle sprain isn’t something to be overly concerned about, but remember, the Pistons don’t have high expectations during a rebuild. Their top priority is having Cunningham 100 percent healthy when he does play.
In terms of who will benefit from his absence in the short-term, well, Killian Hayes and Saddiq Bey are two names to consider. Both won’t be highly owned in DFS and could potentially be found on the waiver wire in your fantasy league. Josh Jackson, Cory Joseph and/or Saben Lee could end up with more rotation minutes at guard with Cunningham out, but we’ll see how the minutes distribution shakes out.