Should Cade Cunningham Be a Lock For the First Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft?

Published 03/01/2021, 4:00 PM EST
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 just dropped 40 points in a massive win for the Oklahoma State Cowboys over rivals Oklahoma Sooners. The win solidified Cunningham’s status as the presumed #1 overall pick for the 2021 Draft.

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With the college season coming to an end, the talk for who gets drafted will soon be heating up. A handful of regular season games are left, with teams and players gearing up for March Madness.

There are a lot of top NBA prospects in this draft class. It includes players from across the NCAA landscape, but there are a few top picks.

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NCAA analyst Jeff Goodman took Cunningham as his #1 overall pick and believes that even competitors like Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs don’t compare to Cunningham.

“The discussion for the number one pick should be over. Forget about your Evan Mobley crap. I wanna scratch what I said about Jalen Suggs.

“Cade Cunningham, I don’t care what team, I don’t care what GM, I don’t care who you are. If you’re getting the number one overall pick, you have to take Cade Cunningham. Period.”

Cade Cunningham: Is there a downside to drafting him?

Cade Cunningham is a mercurial talent; however, that doesn’t make him perfect. While his ceiling may not be the same as 2020 first pick Anthony Edwards or Zion Williamson from 2019, the expectations are heavy.

Cunningham will be tasked with starting the revival of whichever NBA franchise drafts him. However, a combo guard that can do basically anything on the court is never a bad pick to make while drafting.

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Feb 27, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) drives to the basket against Oklahoma Sooners guard Elijah Harkless (24) during the second half at Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma State won 94-90. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Cunningham has shown that he can play at the highest level and his transition to the NBA could be seamless if he is taken by the right team. Drafting Cade means a team secures their future at the guard positions. It’s all about building from there.

The obvious downside to Cade would be the air of uncertainty about how he pans out. He could always be a well-rounded guard, but may not have the talent to replicate his performances at the college level in the NBA.

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Similarly, he could also get hurt and have his career dramatically altered. But from all the information that we have as of now, there is no reason not to pick Cunningham with the first pick.

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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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