Cade Cunningham Is A Skilled Player, But Can He Carry An NBA Team?

The 6 foot 7 Oklahoma State freshman can play off and on the ball, as well as defend all the positions. There aren’t many NBA players to compare Cade with. Maybe it’s because everyone with this skill set is a superstar. 

However, being at the top of the Draft Pick or even a great player doesn’t mean he is bound to be one of the greatest.

Anthony Edwards, the last year’s number 1 pick, struggled a lot on a bad Georgia team the previous season. However, Cade Cunningham is more polished than Edwards. 

Like Edwards, he didn’t attend a basketball powerhouse college. But he is leading the Cowboys in the points, is number 2 in the rebounds and assists area, and is the third in blocks.

Cade Cunningham’s game is really impressive. But the interesting thing is that there isn’t much to fix. The teen can pass, score, shot, rebound, and defend. That isn’t very simple when you consider his size. 

Most young players with Cunningham’s physical capabilities use tricks to get through the lower levels. But, they later on struggle and have to fix their weaknesses. 

Cade is like a flawless diamond, and he can most certainly help out any NBA team, even at 19. 

Cade Cunningham is at the top of the college basketball scene. In just about every game, Cunningham is like a seasoned professional playing with raw teenagers. That is why he needs better opponents to improve as a basketball player. 

In his senior year of high school, Cade Cunningham created a name for himself by playing for the Team USA at the 2019 FIBA U19. While other talented players were also there who made the top 5 in the NBA Mock Draft 2021, Cunningham was clearly the best. 

Along with 4.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 11.7 points in only 23.5 minutes per game, Cunningham also controlled the game and made sure everyone was involved in the offense. 

With his name and his talents, it’s normal to think he asserts dominance in every game. But Cunningham is a team player. While he averages almost twice as much as anyone else in OSU, he strategically plans his moves. He makes extra passes to his teammates who aren’t as skilled with the ball to include them in the game as well. 

But, the reason may be that Cunningham isn’t that great of an athlete. He can’t simply blow past the defenders and jump. Cade needs some space and time to get his moves right and take the shot. He doesn’t have the speed, which is why he relies on his size. 

On the other hand, not having the skill of sprinting and jumping won’t necessarily be the end of Cunningham. Professional basketball is more than just a speed contest. It also removes plenty of his margin for errors. 

Like a traditional point guard, Cunningham waits for the crunch time to take his shot. But since he can’t get past other players quickly, he often ends up having to take contested jumpers off the dribble. 

Cunningham only has a 42.9 percent shooting on the 2s. While he can pass around instead of taking those shots, he will have to take them in the NBA. 

A great example Cunningham can follow is Luka Doncic. He is also a rather large point forward without the athletic abilities. However, he has a higher percentage from the 2 point range. Also, his game attracts many of the opponent defenders towards him, leaving the court more open for his teammates to take shots. 

Cunningham will need to find creative ways to be more effective.