NBA Trade Rumors: Pistons Likely To Pick Teen Playmaker at 2021 Draft
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Teen playmaker Cade Cunningham is seen as a likely top pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, but the team with the first choice is keeping quiet about plans for the selection.
Cunningham, a 19-year-old point guard, averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals a game for Oklahoma State last season.
That’s after helping spark a 2019 US triumph in the Under-19 Basketball World Cup.
Now he’s drawing comparisons to Slovenian star Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks ahead of the NBA’s annual allocation of new talent to clubs.
“I don’t like comparing myself to players around my age,” Cunningham said. “I hear a lot of Luka comparisons, which, I can see it, but next year we’re going to be playing against each other.”
Cunningham sees himself in bigger NBA backcourt talents such as Jason Kidd, Penny Hardaway and Magic Johnson.
“I try to take what I can from each one of those guys,” Cunningham said.
Whether the Pistons will take Cunningham when they can, however, is another question.
“Everybody has made the pick but us,” Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said. “But we’re going to continue to do our work, turn over every stone and land where we’re going to land. We’re confident in our work and we’re enjoying the process.”
The Houston Rockets, who had the NBA’s worst record at 17-55 last season, own the second pick in the draft followed in order by Cleveland, Toronto, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Golden State and Orlando again.
Scouting reports see Jalen Green and Evan Mobley as the two top prospects behind Cunningham.
Green, 19, was a shooting guard with Cunningham on the 2019 Under-19 world champions, averaging 10.1 points as the youngest member of the squad, who averaged 17.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game last season for the Ignite prospects team in the G-League, the NBA’s top development circuit.
Mobley, 20, is a 7-foot power forward who averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game at the University of Southern California last season after a stint on the world under-19 champions from 2019. (AFP)