NBA draft evaluators make case why Cade Cunningham may not be top player available

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Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons won the NBA draft lottery last month, meaning they’ll have the No. 1 pick on July 29. Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham is the presumptive first overall selection, but could the Pistons go in a different direction?

Noted NBA Draft evaluators Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated and Matt Babcock BasketballNews.com spoke with The Detroit Free Press regarding the upcoming festivities, and all believe that Cunnhingham should be Detroit’s selection.

“We’re talking about a 6-8 point guard who can play on or off the ball, who can get his own shot, who shot really well from 3-point range, who could pass it when teams blitzed it and find open shooters, who can take over games late,” Parrish said of Cunningham. “He led college basketball in ‘clutch points,’ and it really wasn’t even close. Not only does he feel comfortable in late-game situations, he’s very successful in late-game situations.”

“Say next year you suck again and you have an early pick again,” Woo said. “If you take Cade this year, it’s not going to inhibit you from taking the guy you want next year. I think he’s that versatile. So for me, it’s not only ‘who’s the best player,’ but also in terms of, if we’re talking about how to rebuild a team for the position that they’re in, I just think that he makes sense in terms of flexibility.”

USC big man Evan Mobley, who averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.4 assists a game and G League Ignite guard Jalen Green, who averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 46.1% overall and 36.5% from beyond the arc, will also be available in the draft – what do the evaluators think about them?

“He’s a hard guy to compare to anybody,” Babcock said of Mobley. “He’s 7-feet, moves so well. Defensively, I don’t think he gets enough credit. I think he’s already elite and he’s still got room for growth as far as that physical strength. I think if he checks all the boxes and everything clicks, that kid can be a star player. Even with him being a big, he’s a modern big. He’s a faceup four or five who shoots the ball, passes it, runs the floor and defensively he’s such a disruptor. Not just being a rim projector. He’s disrupting shots, blocking shots all over the court, including the perimeter.”

“To bring in a guy like Cade, the devil’s advocate of that pick is both (he and Killian Hayes are) ball-dominant players, even though I think they’re both versatile,” Babcock said. “Too many cooks in the kitchen as far as being a primary ball-handler. Green can do some ball-handling, playmaking, but he’s a straight scorer. Big-time athlete, shotmaker from all over the place. I think he fits with what they have in place, probably better than anybody in this draft.”

“You don’t want to draft someone No. 1 like Jalen Green and it takes seven years to be a first-time All-Star,” Parrish said. “If you’re taking someone No. 1, you’re hoping they’re an All-Star by Year 3 or 4, at the latest. But Jalen Green has incredible upside.”

The NBA Draft begins Thursday, July 29.

– – Quotes via Detroit Free Press Link – –

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Posted by Michael Whitaker
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