CADE CUNNINGHAM

BIRTHDATE: 9/25/01

POSITION: Point Guard

HEIGHT: 6'8"

WEIGHT: 220 lbs

SCHOOL/ TEAM: Oklahoma State

CLASS: Freshman

STRENGTHS

  • Excellent size for a point guard/ lead ball handler

  • Good size and strength and fluidity 

  • High IQ player

  • High level court vision and feel for the game as passer

  • Advanced passer out of pick & rolls; Hits roll man, corner

  • Very good at changing his speeds and playing with pace

  • Crafty ball handler with good feet and ability to change directions

  • Plays through contact

  • Good rebounder; Grab & Go threat

  • Can create his own shot off the dribble

  • Uses shot fakes, hesi's and step backs to create space

  • Improving pull up J

  • Very unselfish; Plays winning basketball

  • Thrives in transition 

  • Can play up for 4 positions

  • Ambidextrous passer and scorer around the rim

AREAS TO IMPROVE

  • Outside shooting

  • Tendency to miss bunnies at the rim

  • Lacks explosiveness when jumping off one foot

  • Finishing vs rim protectors

  • Lacks great burst, pop and quick first step

  • Can play out of control and force passes in tight spaces

CADE CUNNINGHAM SCOUTING REPORT

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham declared for the NBA draft this month after an impressive

freshman year campaign, averaging 20.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 3.5 APG on 43.8 FG%.

Cunningham, considered the consensus #1 overall pick by many, led the Cowboys to a 21-9 overall

record and a Round of 32 appearance in the NCAA tournament. As a 6’8 guard, Cunningham has

demonstrated extreme skill and maturity for his age.

In this article, we break down the strength and improvement opportunities for Cunningham ahead of his

NBA journey.

Strengths:

1. Outside Shooting

The most obvious strength of Cade’s is his ability to shoot from long range. Cunningham shot 40% from

three this past season on 5.7 3PA per game, and many of those makes were not easy. As a 6’8 guard

with a 7’0 wingspan, Cunningham has the size to shoot over smaller defenders with ease.

In the half court, Cunningham ranked in the 90 th percentile in catch and shoot situations in terms of PPP

(points per possession). Cunningham posted 43.8/40.0/84.6 splits shooting wise and has demonstrated

the ability to shoot well from mid-range, 3-point range and the free throw line.

2. Length

 

Cunningham has the frame and size of a forward but the skills of a guard. Cade is listed at 6’8 and 220

pounds with a 7’0+ wingspan. These are rare measurables for a player who plays like a modern-day NBA

point guard.

Many prospects have some length, but very few are playing point guard or use it to their advantage

quite like Cunningham.

3. Isolation Scoring

The advanced metrics show how effective Cade is in isolation plays. Cade is in the 87 th percentile (1.119

PPP) in overall isolation situations. In isolation jump shot situations (no drive) Cade was in the 98 th

percentile (1.857 PPP). This will be one of his biggest strengths in the NBA.

It is noteworthy that Cunningham was in the 92nd percentile (1.304 PPP) going left and the 73rd

percentile (1.059 PPP) going right in iso situations. Despite a slight disparity, it is encouraging that he

generally ranks well in both categories. He is effective going either way.

Improvement Opportunities:

1. High Turnover Rate

Cade committed more turnovers (109) than assists (94) during his lone season at Oklahoma State. While

much of this could be contributed to having to carry a heavy load as a freshman, Cunningham appeared

sloppy at times and seemed to be trying to do too much in particular moments.

In the 17 games Cunningham played against teams who made the NCAA tournament, Cunningham

averaged nearly 4.5 turnovers per game. In 10 of those 17 games, Cunningham committed 5 or more

turnovers. In order to thrive at the next level, Cade will need to cut down on some of his careless

turnovers against superior competition.

2. Lack of Explosiveness

While Cade is by no means a bad athlete, he lacks explosiveness compared to many modern NBA

guards. Cade excels at using his height and length to his advantage on offense, but could have trouble

staying in front of quicker guards on the defensive end.

I don’t believe this will significantly hinder Cunningham’s potential as a pro as he excels at creating

space and using his size effectively, however it is worth monitoring mainly on the defensive end.

3. Uncertainty Playing Off of The Ball

While I am not substantially concerned about this, we do have limited insight to how Cade plays off the

ball. At Oklahoma State, Cade was clearly the primary ball handler and had a high usage rate (29.0%

usage).

I believe Cade has the potential to be effective off the ball due to his shooting ability and unselfishness,

but we just need to see it more outside of Oklahoma State. Time will tell how he performs in those

situations when applicable.

NBA Comparison:

Jayson Tatum (ceiling), Kyle Anderson (floor)

Reagan Freeman - May 5, 2021

Some people are going to think I'm crazy or out of my mind for this article. Others are going to think this is simply click bait to draw attention to my website. Both are totally false lol..

I am here to make a case for Cade Cunningham to be recognized as the best shooter in the 2021 NBA Draft class. 

 

Six months ago, I believed Cade was going to be the best NBA prospect in college basketball despite their being some small concerns about his outside shooting. 

 

Any questions or concerns about Cade's jumper were put to rest after a phenomenal freshman season that lived up all the hype that had been surrounding him after a dominant 2019 summer on the AAU circuit and at the 2019 FIBA Under 19 World Cup in Greece.

Let me explain and use the numbers to support why Cade is arguably the best shooter in this highly regarded draft class. Cade averaged 20.1 points per game while shooting 43.8% from the floor and 40% from deep. If you take a deep dive into his 3 point shooting percentage, you'll see was efficient on a high volume of attempts per game (5.7) while taking a good percentage of highly contested attempts off the dribble. 

54.8% of his 3 point attempts were unassisted, so his shot chart is full of difficult step back 3's where he had to create something out of nothing late in the shot clock.

 

Gonzaga's Corey Kispert is widely regarded as the top shooter among first round prospects, but if you look at the numbers, Cade's shooting splits are comparable, if not better. Kispert shot a ridiculous 44% from deep and at one point looked like he was on pace for a 50/50/90 season, before he cooled off later in the season. 90% of his 3 point attempts were assisted and he greatly benefited from the gravity of sharing the floor with Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme. 

Quietly, Cade ranked in the top 90 percentile in college basketball on catch and shoot opportunities and averaged 1.298 points per possession. He connected on a blistering 47.1% of contested catch and shoot jumpers which ranked in the top 95 percentile in the nation. When left unguarded his percentage strangely dropped to 39.1% which brought his overall catch and shoot percentage to 43.9%

In comparison, Kispert converted on 40.8% of his catch and shoot opportunities for 1.211 points per possession. According to Synergysportstech.com, Kispert made 32.9% of his catch and shoot jumpers when guarded and when left open, Kispert drained 48.7% of his attempts.

Kispert was deadly off the dribble, which mostly consisted of 1 or 2 dribble escape jumpers, knocking down 43.3% of his shots on 30 attempts.

On paper, Cade was not as accurate on jumpers off the dribble (33.1%) as Kispert, but he attempted 118 more shots off the bounce with a much higher degree of difficulty.

Both Cunningham and Kispert ranked among the top shooters in the nation and as I mentioned prior, Kispert is widely regarded as the best shooter. However, it seems that Cade's all around brilliance has overshadowed the work he put in to improve as a shooter.

Rafael Barlowe - April 19, 2021

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This is my second trip traveling internationally to scout the FIBA Under 19 World Cup. The 2017 event held in Cairo, Egypt featured 2019 lottery picks R.J Barrett, Cam Reddish, Rui Hachimura and P.J Washington, only time will tell if this years games will produce as many lottery picks in the 2021 draft.

It is very unlikely we'll see a player dominate the way Barrett did in 2017 (most notably the 38,13 and 5 he put up vs USA in the semifinals) but the player who is likely to have similar results is Cade Cunningham from Team USA. Cunningham won't put up the monster scoring numbers as Barrett, but can be equally as dominant as the best prospect  on a deep and talented US team that is breezing by the competition.

Listed at 6'7", Cunningham has great size for a point guard and reminds me of Jason Kidd missed with a little Luka Doncic. He's not as fast as kid, or as crafty of a scorer as Doncic, but he's similar in the fact he has excellent court vision, loves to make plays for others in transition and can physically punish smaller defenders with his size and strength.

One of the things I like most about Cunningham is (like Doncic) he plays at his own pace and has a great feel for the game. Defenders can't speed him up or make him play out of control. He never seems to be in a hurry, has the patience to let plays develop and can pass teammates open. At 17 years of age, he plays with a maturity beyond his years but more importantly plays winning basketball and makes winning plays.

RAFAEL BARLOWE -  JULY 9, 2019