Detroit Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham recently requested a challenge most NBA players have nightmares about.

In a recent video from Whistle Sports, the 2021 no. 1 overall pick said he believes teams will be sending their most elite defensive player to guard him, and cited one name in particular.

I expect the best defender,” Cunningham said. “I hope Kawhi [Leonard] guards me. I’m hoping all those dudes guard me, for sure.”

Cunningham likely won’t get his wish right away, as Leonard will be recovering from ACL surgery for much of the 2021-22 season, but it is admirable that the former Oklahoma State star is excited to take on whatever challenges teams throw at him as he begins his NBA career. Asking for a two-time Defensive Player of the Year to hound him as he passes the halfcourt line might turn out to be a damaging request, but at the very least, it’ll be a learning experience.

Above all else, Cunningham seems to be a fan of the players he’ll be squaring off with on a nightly basis.

“I want to see Giannis [Antetokounmpo] in person,” he said. “I want to see LeBron [James, I want to see [Anthony Davis], all those guys. It’s going to be crazy the first time I actually get to go up and compete against them.”

With the 2021-22 NBA schedule set to be released at some point in the coming days, Cunningham will soon learn exactly when he’ll be facing off against his idols. Here’s hoping Leonard will be available for at least one of LA’s matchups with the Pistons. 

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