Cade Cunningham Opens Up On Living With #1 Overall Pick Expectations Heading Into The 2021 NBA Draft

Published 03/18/2021, 1:51 AM EDT
Feb 3, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) in action during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


Cade Cunningham is one of the brightest prospects to come through the NCAA in years. We have had some stellar classes over the years, but the star of this draft is being heralded as a franchise changer. Cade Cunningham has been dominating for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and is sitting at the #4 seed for March Madness.

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But he has been the presumed #1 overall pick all season long. Playing with that pressure can never be easy, and Cade opened up to The Athletic about what it has been like playing with that status.

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“Oh, it’s a blessing. That’s what I’ve dreamt of my whole life. Ever since I realized I wanted to be in the NBA, being the top guy was the immediate next thing. Like, I wanted to be the best at it. So to be considered the No. 1 pick is one of the early steps, but I don’t take it as pressure that I need to hold onto it, either. I kind of don’t think about it too much, and I try to set my sights on the NBA players already and where I rank up against the players in the world instead of just the incoming draft class. That’s one of the things that has helped me stay at the top of my game.”

Cade Cunningham: What will his impact on the league be?

Mar 4, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) works past Baylor Bears guard Davion Mitchell (45) during the second half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Cade Cunningham is the perfect player for the modern game. He has solid fundamentals and can do a little bit of everything. However, what helps him be of high value is the fact that the modern NBA is a guards league.

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Cunningham is the perfect guard for the modern game, and he has a high ceiling.

Cunningham has already been compared to the likes of Luka Doncic in terms of the impact that he can have. He has a dynamic play-style with solid shooting, ball-handling, defending, and playmaking. He has the makings of the perfect player a team can build a franchise around.

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Looking at the bottom of the NBA, there are a lot of teams that could use someone like Cade. Struggling teams like Houston, Detroit, and others could possibly change their franchise by getting their hands on the young guard. Let’s see how it plays out and how he transitions into the NBA.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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