Freshman superstar Cade Cunningham made a splash in his first season with the Oklahoma State Cowboys and will enter the 2021 NBA Draft. He is projected to go as high as first overall, but teams will have many options with such a talented player pool.
Cunningham finished with some outstanding numbers in a very competitive Big 12 conference, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this year. The 19-year-old has displayed NBA-caliber skills, shooting 40% from three-point range and 43.8% overall.
With exceptional footwork, dribbling and defending, Cade Cunningham made an excellent case for himself to be the number one pick this year.
Earlier this week, the league announced that the 2021 NBA Draft would begin Thursday, July 29, at 8 PM ET.
Cade Cunningham - 2021 NBA Draft Profile
Point Guard/Shooting Guard
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 220 lb
Wingspan: 7' 0"
Cade Cunningham has displayed basketball IQ well beyond his years, gaining comparisons to Paul Pierce, Jimmy Butler and Luka Doncic for his well-rounded play. The young sharpshooter can certainly help a team at the bottom of the standings in the NBA, but all prospects have different routes to the league.
The NBA uses the lottery draft, with the last-place finisher getting the best chance at the first pick. The current season is set to end just seven days prior to the 2021 NBA Draft, leaving little time for teams to evaluate prospects and make a decision.
Detroit Pistons fans believe they will get the first pick, but there is still no guarantee in the lottery system.
Cade Cunningham has put together quite the résumé and will be highly sought-after, but each team has a different agenda going into the NBA Draft.
Here are Cunningham's final numbers from the 2020-21 NCAA season:
2020-21 Statistics (Oklahoma State Cowboys)
Points per game: 20.1
Assists per game: 3.5
Rebounds per game: 6.2
Cade Cunningham 2021 NBA Draft Profile
Naturally, social media has taken notice of Cade Cunningham's performance, making him a nightly topic of conversation among fans of the NBA's weaker teams. Cunningham earned high praise, with many teams' fans hoping for their favorite prospect during the draft.
In all reality, NBA teams will select the players that their front office believes will fit the team's best interests.
Cade Cunningham could fit nicely into many teams' starting five, but his destination won't be certain until the end of July.