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Cade Cunningham - NBA Draft


Leading up to the 2021 NBA Draft, we will track where Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham appears on the latest NBA mock drafts and NBA big boards.

Cade Cunningham NBA Mock Drafts

Here are some of the latest mock drafts in which Cade Cunningham has appeared:

CBS Sports - Kyle Boone (2/25)

1. Detroit Pistons - Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

To draft Cade Cunningham at No. 1 overall would be to go with the safest, most easily projectable prospect in this year's class. The Oklahoma State product is a point guard in a wing's body with great positional size, a talented two-way game and passing chops to boot. Even on an Oklahoma State squad that doesn't feature other blue-chippers, he's shooting well and showcasing his skills as a creator.

Bleacher Report - Jonathan Wasserman (2/23)

1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

D'Angelo Russell is hurt, head coach Ryan Saunders is out, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have the league's worst record three months after making the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 draft.

Another disappointing season and some more lottery luck would help turn things around. The Wolves could add Cade Cunningham, who offers more passing and versatility compared to last November's top pick, Anthony Edwards.

With Russell, Edwards and Malik Beasley, the Wolves may want to explore making some roster moves to accommodate Cunningham, who's most effective on the ball. A high-level creator and shot-maker, he ranks in the 95th percentile out of isolation while also shooting 44.6 percent from three.

Based on the current roster, new head coach Chris Finch could use Cunningham and Russell in the backcourt with either Edwards or Beasley at the 3 (and the other off the bench). Or, he could try using Cunningham as a playmaking 4 alongside Karl-Anthony Towns to fit the team's most dangerous players on the floor.

For the Win - Bryan Kalbrosky (2/12)

1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

The canvas that Cade Cunningham has is unlike almost any prospect that we have ever seen. As a high-IQ playmaker at his height, he has many of the same physical traits that made Ben Simmons such a highly coveted prospect in 2016. Cunningham, however, has a jumper that is significantly farther along than where Simmons is even after several seasons in the NBA.

His clutch shooting shows he is ready for the biggest stages and spotlights, with a game-winning shot against Wichita State (Dec. 12) and a signature step-back 3-pointer during a double-OT win against Texas (Feb. 6) already under his belt. All season long, he is someone who has looked better and better the later it is in the game.

Cunningham is recording a good stat line, averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds with 3.4 assists per game. Expect his playmaking numbers to be even better in the NBA when he is surrounded with more spacing and more talented teammates.

He may have an easier time scoring, too, when he is not triple-teamed in the pros. Defenders can't put too much pressure on him if Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Anthony are also on the floor.

Yahoo! Sports - Krysten Peek (2/9)

1. Detroit Pistons - Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

Cunningham holds on to the No. 1 spot due to his strong all-around game. You could plug him into any NBA team, and he'll come in and make an impact. Cunningham has great size, high basketball IQ and can defend all three positions on the perimeter. He has shown glimpses of Luka Doncic's playmaking ability and is patient in making the right pass out of the pick-and-roll. Cunningham is always trying to push the ball up the court putting pressure on the defense, and the game comes so easy to him. Yes, there was the little hiccup in overtime against Texas where he stole the inbounds pass and missed a wide-open layup with four seconds left. But it was how he was able to shake that mistake off and hit a huge 3-pointer to secure the win in the 2OT that showed NBA scouts his mentally tough side.

SB Nation - Ricky O'Donnell (2/3)

1. Washington Wizards - Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

Cunningham emerged as the top player in his class during a breakout grassroots season with the Texas Titans as a rising senior, and he's done enough at Oklahoma State to maintain his status as the presumptive No. 1 pick. The 6'8 guard is made for modern basketball: he's blessed with tremendous vision as a pick-and-roll passer, has the strength and touch to finish inside, and is becoming better and better as a shooter both off the dribble and from spot-ups. That doesn't even mention Cunningham's versatile defense and flashes of vertical rim protection, which is becoming one one of the most tantalizing aspects of his skill set.

While Cunningham's numbers as a freshman do feel slightly underwhelming given his pre-college hype, it's worth noting that his supporting cast fails to maximize his talent. Oklahoma State has no shooters — they rank No. 286 in DI in three-point rate — and few finishers. Cunningham is still the best future building block in this draft class.

Cade Cunningham NBA Big Board Rankings

Here are some of the latest big boards in which Cade Cunningham has appeared:

SI.com - Jeremy Woo (2/24)

1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

Whether or not Cunningham has lived up to the hype this season depends on your vantage point, but it speaks to the quality of his overall résumé that he remains the frontrunner for the No. 1 pick. He's lifted his Oklahoma State team (otherwise bereft of NBA talent) onto the fringes of the top 25, and will likely get them to the NCAA tournament, a task that's been easier said than done for the bevy of blue-chip college stars preceding him. He's shattered expectations with his three-point shooting, now up to 44% on 83 attempts through 20 games and having created more than half of those for himself. Yet Cunningham is also shooting just 42% on twos, and is averaging more turnovers than assists. He needs to shore up his in-between game, improve his finishing, and offer more consistent effort on defense. Based on what he's shown, some have come to view him as more of a playmaking wing than a full-time point guard in the NBA.

Of course, defenses are working primarily to stop Cunningham every night. To his credit, he's not the type of player who seems to care much about his own numbers. His competitive makeup may ultimately be the strongest selling point, and he's consistently shown a willingness to make plays and close out games. A steady diet of spread pick and roll with NBA shooters around him might maximize his gifts and minimize his weaknesses. Still, this is a draft with three legitimate No. 1 pick options. Cunningham remains a stellar, unique prospect, and from my vantage point, it would be difficult to be the team that passes on him. But with Evan Mobley and Jonathan Kuminga coming on strong, that debate is going to continue.

Bleacher Report - Jonathan Wasserman (2/17)

1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

The gap between No. 1 and No. 3 is closer than it seemed before the season. But Cade Cunningham still holds the title of top projected prospect, shooting better than we anticipated while making passes that highlight more playmaking potential than his 3.5 assists per game may suggest. While he's had trouble lately finishing in tighter spaces inside the arc, Cunningham has hit 18 of 36 threes over his last seven games for Oklahoma State. And now he ranks in the 95th percentile in isolation scoring, showing impressive ball-handling moves for separating into drives and dribble jumpers. His assist numbers would look better if teammates were hitting more than 32.7 percent of his passes to them in spot-up situations. NBA teams figure to use Cunningham similar to the way the Dallas Maverick use Luka Doncic—as a jumbo ball-handler and high-level creator from either backcourt spot.

+ For more NBA mocks, check out our NBA Mock Draft Database.

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