As we get closer to the 2021 NBA Draft, there seems to be a growing belief in basketball circles that Cade Cunningham will likely be the No. 1 overall pick regardless of which franchise wins the lottery.
That makes sense to me.
The consensus national freshman of the year is a 6-foot-8, 220-pound 19-year-old point guard who averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his one season at Oklahoma State. He shot 43.8% from the field on 14.8 shots per game, 40.0% from 3-point range on 5.7 attempts per game, and 84.6% from the free-throw line on 5.8 attempts per game. So he got his points in a variety of ways. And what should make him an attractive option for literally every franchise is his ability to flourish on or off the ball and guard multiple positions. If you need him to initiate offense as a lead guard, he can. If you need him to play beside a smaller guard, he can. And when it’s time to take over games, he’s built do it — evidence being that Cunningham led the nation in clutch points this past season.
Simply put, there’s a lot to love and very little reason to believe Cunningham will be anything other than a high-level NBA player for more than a decade. And that’s why, barring a surprise, his name will be called first when NBA commissioner Adam Silver stands on the stage July 29.