The consensus #1 overall pick in the 2021 Draft, Cade Cunningham has an elite skill set and athleticism that helped him succeed at Oklahoma State.
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Cade Cunningham | Strengths
Cunningham is a 6’8 combo guard that utilizes his size and length to his ability. His near 7-foot wingspan allows him to crash the boards consistently and finish strong at the rim.
Speaking more to his scoring abilities, he can get it done both in transition and in the half-court. He has incredible control when moving with the ball and tight handles. Attacks with fast speed and has complete control of the ball when going up with either hand.
Cunningham has a very solid jump shot after being questioned coming into college about his ability to knock down the three-ball. A career 40% three-point shooter will allow him to translate to the NBA game very easily.
Has the frame to be an efficient post scorer and has the ability to guard the PG through PF position, which will benefit him in the NBA.
If he slows down the game he has the ability to be a great playmaker. In late-game situations, he wants to and can deliver in the big moments. Has shown it time and time again that he is the man to go to.
Hinting at his character, highly praised by the coaching staff at Oklahoma State. They have said he is a very mature and confident player with a strong upbringing.
Although he has a great frame, lacks that extra bounce that would classify him as an elite athlete and leaper. Not the fastest player as well, and shows this when finishing at the rim and coming off the pick and roll.
Has a high amount of offensive fouls and turnovers that raised his turnover rate above the national average. Tries to force passes often that otherwise could be avoided. Finds himself in no man’s land and leaves his feet frequently, adding to his high turnover rate.
A bit lackluster on the perimeter, gets beat on drives by players who have more lateral quickness. Gets himself into foul trouble often and prevents him from being more efficient in terms of playtime. Needs to also improve his footwork if he wants to stay out of foul trouble in the NBA, oftentimes found himself too flat-footed and made erratic closeouts.
I think the one person we can compare Cade Cunningham to is young Celtics star Jayson Tatum. Both of their games coming out of college are eerily similar and if Cade can take the next steps to level up his game, he could be an elite scorer like Tatum has become this season. Both players are very capable scorers that are considered ball-dominant which we have seen a trend towards in the NBA game today.
Widely projected to be a top 5 pick ever since he stepped foot in the college basketball world, Cunningham has exceeded all of his expectations. His size, frame, playmaking abilities, and scoring abilities are what have him as the #1 overall pick, and for good reason.
When he is locked in, he utilizes all aspects of his game to his ability and we saw that in late-game situations and especially in March. His 40 point performance against #7 ranked Oklahoma was the cherry on top of the cake in terms of if he was going to be the #1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
He has incredible upside and will thrive even more than he did at Oklahoma State, more so because he won’t necessarily be the main ball handler at the start of his career. Whatever team is able to pick him up will reap all the benefits that he has to offer. One of the best all-around players in a draft class since Jayson Tatum himself in my opinion.
Expect BIG things from Cade in the NBA, he’s gonna be an incredible player and possibly an MVP later on in his career.
Akshay is a rising senior at the University of Miami. He is studying Marketing with a minor in Sports Administration. He is joining Knup Solutions with hopes of being able to contribute to the team at a high level, with his high attention to detail and perfectionist personality. Has done recreational freelance work for online gaming and sports previously, and is excited to use his skills in the real world