NBA analyst compares Cade Cunningham to Luka Doncic

Cade Cunningham, Luka Doncic, 2021 NBA Draft
NBA Analysis Network

Since he decided to spend his lone collegiate season at Oklahoma State, Cade Cunningham has been the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. On Tuesday night the Detroit Pistons won the lottery, and the right to draft him No. 1 overall. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, however obviously, Cunningham will make his only pre-draft visit to the Pistons.

ESPN basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla spoke to the Dallas Morning News this week. He offered a lofty comparison for Cunningham.

The same doubts about Luka’s athleticism and his translation to the NBA are some of the same doubts that people have about Cade,” “He’s not going to jump over tall buildings. He’s not super explosive, but his size and strength and basketball acumen — [that’s] where he’s very similar to Luka. “Why Luka made such an easy transition into the league is Luka may not be what we would think of as a great athlete, like a run-and-jump athlete, but … very few players in the NBA have the quickness of mind to see things before they happen the way Luka has.”

Cade Cunningham=Luka Doncic?

Listed by Oklahoma State at 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, Cunningham is built similarly to Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (6-foot-7, 218 pounds). He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game during his only collegiate season, with a 29.1 percent usage rate. He also shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range last season, while making nearly 85 percent of his free throws. A comparison to Doncic is aggressive, since Cunningham obviously has yet to play an NBA game. But it also feels apt.

Doncic won NBA Rookie of the Year in 2019. He has earned two first-team All-NBA selections in the two seasons since. He has been a top-6 scorer and a top-5 assist man in the league in each of the last two seasons. If Cunningham starts his NBA career in anything close to that fashion, the Pistons will be thrilled.

Similarly to how Doncic has become the driving force for the Mavericks, the Pistons will make Cunningham the centerpiece of their return to relevance.

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