The top two picks of the 2021 NBA Draft took the floor Tuesday night in the Las Vegas Summer League, and it’s fair to say they lived up to their top billing.
Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick of the Detroit Pistons, faced off against No. 2 pick Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets for the first time since they were drafted, and the scoring came in bunches.
Green followed his 23-point Summer League debut with 25 more points in a 111-91 Rockets win over the Pistons.
He shot 6-for-11 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
It was clear that this was a game Green had been eyeing, given his comments after he was passed over in favor of Cunningham in the draft.
Cunningham, for his part, followed an uneven debut game — in which he scored just 12 points on 5-for-17 shooting — with a performance that showed the full scope of why he was the top pick in the draft.
He poured in 20 points while shooting 8-for-18 from the field, including 4-for-9 from 3-point range.
And while he shot the ball well from distance, Cunningham showed off a variety of scoring techniques, including getting to the basket and shooting from the post.
If Tuesday was a glimpse of the future, that future sure is bright for Detroit, Houston and the NBA at large.
What’s more, this could be the start of a budding rivalry that connects the top two picks of the 2021 draft for years to come.