Cunningham: "Doncic and I do similar things."

In the podcast of JJ Redick, the favorite for the first position of the Draft, he talks about his comparison with the Slovenian player. "Our body looks alike," he explains.


The NBA Draft is already drawing all the attention of the competition, with the permission of Team USA. One after another, this morning (1:30 am, #Vamos), the franchises will try to get their choices right. This year especially. Before his eyes, one of the most promising litters of recent times. Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga ... and Cade Cunningham. Much is expected of everyone, but of the latter, more. After a brilliant season at Oklahoma State Cowboys, no one doubts his status as the leader of the generation. In the regular season, after averaging 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists, he was voted best player and rookie in the Big 12, his conference, a milestone that, so far, had only been reached by Marcus Smart, Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant. In his first, and last, college year, he has been able to lead Oklahoma State to the gates of winning his tournament, something he has not done since 2005. It was not possible and, at March Madness, he succumbed in the second round versus Oregon State, after scoring 24 points in the game. The collective achievements have resisted him, but at the individual level, he has left that sensation that is rarely perceived, the one left by the supreme talents.

Time will tell. For now, however, the characteristics accompany it. It's a modern base, as imaginative as it is physically powerful. Its 203 cm in height and 100 kg in weight allow it to defend practically any position. In the offensive field, the arsenal shoots up: it plays the pick and roll well, it generates good shots by itself, via step back, change of rhythm or crossover, it is easy to locate the spaces in static and is deadly in the one against one.

As often happens in these cases, the comparisons were not long in coming. Among them, an important current pointed to Luka Doncic; now, it has been Cunningham himself who has used the Slovenian as a reference to describe himself. "I feel that our body type is similar, it is the most similar of the current ones in the NBA. And also his role. He is in charge of organizing the plays, he has the ball for a long time ... that's why I say Luka when they ask me It's weird, because Doncic and I are very close in age and I've never been the type of person to say 'yeah, that's the kind of player I am', but that's the way it is. Soon I'll be playing against him ... I feel like there are many things we do in a similar way. Yes, it sure is a great moment! "

ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz was one of the first to establish similarities between the two players. For some, correct; for others, not so much. In any case, now it has been the voice of the promising point guard who has wanted to include the name of Luka Doncic in his cover letter for the best league in the world. According to the United States, the Slovenian is one of the players most studied by Cade. Especially in the process of perfecting the step back, a move for which, despite his short time in the league, Doncic is already a (shared) standard bearer. Of the former Real Madrid, surely, he will also have internalized part of an atypical charisma and leadership capacity for his age. "I hope to be more remembered for what I do off the track, with money and my social status, for how I have helped people, that was," he assures at 19 years.

Cade thrives when push comes to shove, when most downsize on the court. Their accuracy percentages, generally good (43.8% on field goals and 40% from the triple), skyrocket in the last minutes of matches. "When there is a lot of pressure, or whatever you want to call it, I see it as an opportunity," he said. Possibly, with one of Doncic's impossible baskets in memory. Detroit Pistons, with the number one pick, is his most likely destination. The franchise, which has only made the playoffs twice in the last decade, will have a first pick more than fifty years later, since Bob Lanier in 1970. Led by Cunningham, it will seek rebirth.

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