With the NBA Draft just a day away, projected No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham is gearing up for what’s sure to be a life-changing night for him and his family. The 19-year-old will enter the league as one of the top prospects in recent memory and has already been burdened with high expectations.
Cunningham conducted a pre-draft workout for just one team this summer, the Detroit Pistons, who hold the top pick in Thursday’s draft. Around the league, most insiders and organizations are confident that the former Oklahoma State star will be the first name off of the board when the time comes.
Cunningham himself is confident in that idea as well and sounds more than ready to take the next step in his career. That confidence was clearly on display when he caught up with ESPN’s Malika Andrews on Wednesday, who asked him what player he’s most excited to go up against in the NBA.
“LeBron James,” Cunningham answered. “Just because, I mean, he’s got a Space Jam movie now… But LeBron is someone I’ve been watching growing up and he’s been a lot of inspiration for me. He’s been to the [NBA] Finals like every year that I can remember, so to be on the court with him would be special, for sure, and definitely be a good scale to see where I’m at.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s Draft, Cade Cunningham discusses who he most looks forward to facing in the NBA (Hint: Space Jam), why he should be the No. 1 pick and more.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 28, 2021
Cunningham, who stands at 6-foot-8, displayed a remarkable amount of positional versatility and ball-handling ability for someone his size, which has drawn some comparisons to James in recent months. LeBron was a once in a lifetime prospect, but the 19-year-old from Arlington, Texas figures to be an NBA mainstay at the bare minimum.
At Oklahoma State last season, Cunningham showed off all of his many skills that would be transferrable to the NBA. On a rather lackluster Cowboys team, the unique point guard averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He also shot 40 percent from three on nearly six attempts per game, which impressed NBA scouts who felt his shooting ability could make him a transcendent player at the next level.
All that’s left for Cunningham to do is sit and wait for a team to select him on Thursday night. Whether the Pistons choose to make him the first overall pick or not, it won’t be long until he’ll get his shot to go up against LeBron James.