2021 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Cade Cunningham

2021 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Cade Cunningham

by June 15, 2021 3 comments

Cade Cunningham is considered by many to be the best prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft. the 6’8” guard possesses an incredibly versatile skill set. Let’s take a look at and break down his game.

Make sure to check out all of our other NBA Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Cade Cunningham

Position: Guard

School: Oklahoma State

Age: 19

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 220 lbs

Prototype: Versatile Playmaking Guard

Defense (23/25)

Cunningham is not the best defender in the draft but is a good one. Since he possesses great length, Cunningham can read passing lanes and pick off passes. He also is active and is fantastic in helping the defense. Cunningham will have to improve his positioning on defense to become a successful defender at the next level.  In his one-and-only season at Oklahoma State, he averaged 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.

Perimeter Shooting (14.25/15)

One of the biggest concerns with Cunningham coming out of high school was his ability to knock down the three, but he addressed those concerns at Oklahoma State. Cunningham does a tremendous job of finding open shots and not forcing many unnecessary ones. Cunningham shot 40.0% from behind the arc on 5.7 attempts per game.

Finishing (14.5/15)

Another area of Cunningham’s game that is exceptionally strong is his ability to finish at the basket. He can drive to both sides of the rim and have equal success making him a challenge for opposing defenders. Cunningham is also able to finish through contact and use his big frame well similar to the likes of Luka Dončić.

Passing (14.5/15)

Cunningham’s passing is another strength. At 6’8”, Cunningham can see over and read the defense well. Since Cunningham draws so much attention from opposing teams, he needs to find open teammates and he can do just that. His 4.0 turnovers per game are a bit concerning, but nothing too appalling to take many points away from his passing ability.

Athleticism (7.75/10)

Although Cunningham is not the most athletic player, he makes up for it with other areas of his game. His lack of elite athleticism could hurt him on defense at the next level, but his big frame and IQ will help him a lot.

Ball Handling (10/10)

Cunningham is a very crafty player with the ball in his hands. He understands when to drive and when to shoot the ball well. Cunningham is also tremendous when operating pick-and-roll. He can make tremendous plays using his ball-handling ability, but his best plays are usually not very flashy. There should be no concerns with Cunningham as a ball-handler.

Rebounding (5/5)

As a rebounder, Cunnigham is one of the best at the guard position. He uses his big frame well to pick up rebounds. Cunningham averaged 6.2 rebounds per game.

Injury (4.25/5)

Cunningham missed four games due to an ankle injury that he suffered against Baylor, but aside from that, his injury sheet is clean.

Bonus: Potential (+4.75/5)

Cunningham is filled with potential. The couple of concerns he has on defense may limit him slightly, but Cunningham has the potential to be a top-five player and win multiple Most Valuable Player awards throughout his career.

Player Summary

Cunningham is one of the most complete players in the 2021 NBA Draft class and should be considered the consensus number one overall pick. He possesses a rare blend of playmaking, ball-handling, and shooting ability for a player of his size and makes up for most of his concerns with other areas of his game. The team that drafts him could be drafting a generational talent that could end up as one of the best players in the NBA.

Player Grade (98/100): First-Overall Pick

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Kamran Nia is a journalist from Los Angeles, California.

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