NBA

How will Cade Cunningham’s first season in the NBA go?

After the 2021 NBA Playoffs got off to an exciting start in Milwaukee, fans whose teams didn’t make it already have one eye on the start of the new season and July’s draft.

One player who will no doubt set the NBA alight next year is Cade Cunningham. The 19-year-old point and shooting guard towers above many at his age being 6ft 8, and a side like the Detroit Pistons could certainly benefit from the number one pick this year. 

There are no odds for next season just yet as the playoffs are still ongoing, but if the Pistons can land the first pick and get Cunningham, expect their odds to shorten. With plenty of NJ sports betting sites like FanDuel and William Hill offering competitive prices online, it’s worth comparing each sportsbook so that you can get the best price possible.

Many fans think Cunningham would work well with last year’s first round pick Killian Hayes, who had a good inaugural NBA season at the Little Caesars Arena.

Hayes himself knows that next season is going to be an important one:

“I got a lot of (to do), especially going into the offseason,” Hayes told USA Today. “It is a big offseason awaiting all of us, just getting right. We know what we gotta do, what we need to work on. It felt good getting on the court being back out there with my teammates but now, it’s time to work for real. It’s a big summer coming up and we’ll be ready for next season.”

Many expect the Pistons to have some luck and get the number one pick, with Cade Cunningham set to be first choice. It remains to be seen if that’s how it will all pan out, but Detroit suddenly becomes a force to be reckoned with in the regular season if they get lucky in the draft.

Who is Cunningham likely to sign with?

It’s likely that it’ll be one from Houston, Detroit or Orlando that will get the first pick from the NBA Draft Lottery, with the Rockets ending the 2020-21 season statistically the worst side with a poor 17-55 record.

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver has done well in past drafts and he nailed last year with Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey in the first round. Not to mention another sound pick in the second round with Saben Lee. But the three aforementioned franchises all have an equal 14% chance in the lottery. Just behind them with a very good chance of first pick are Oklahoma and Cleveland. These are realistically the sides the 220-pound 19-year-old point guard could end up at.

But after a recent interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe, Cunningham fully understands the hype surrounding him in the draft:

“I mean — it’s fun, honestly. I feel like it’s a challenge that I’ve dreamed of being one of the top players and this is what comes with it. So anytime that there’s pressure or whatever, I feel like that’s the perfect opportunity to apply more pressure to the people that are chasing me.”

Cunningham’s career so far

OSU’s Cade Cunningham has shown why he’s the predicted number one pick in the draft time and time again this season. But where did it all begin?

He started his life as a basketball player at Bowie High School in Arlington. He earned all-region honors over the years and was named District 4-6A MVP in 2017 after finishing the season averaging 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game.

After a successful period with Montverde Academy in Florida where he picked up many more awards, Cunningham chose to follow his brother to Oklahoma State. It was, in fact, his sibling who convinced him to switch to being a point guard, which is the position he’s made his own today:

“You know, my brother suggested it, he told ESPN — ‘If you start to play the guard position, and really try to master it, I feel like that could make you a lot more money throughout your years and just a longer career for you. So, the more I got to have the ball in my hands, the more I kind of fell in love with it.

In his one season in college, he averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shot 40% on 3-pointers. If the Pistons are fortunate enough to land Cunningham in the draft, they could well be a playoff team next year.

Looking Forward to July

With plenty of action still to come in this season’s playoffs, we’ve already seen some amazing games and even a surprising popcorn incident with Russell Westbrook at the Wells Fargo Center. Once a new NBA champions are crowned, all eyes will be on the draft on July 29. Will the Pistons fans get their wish with Cade Cunningham, or will Houston or Orlando get lucky?

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