#1) Cade Cunningham
Why the Houston Rockets should select Cade Cunningham first overall
To no one’s surprise, the Houston Rockets should draft Cade Cunningham at the number one pick. With the point guard position expected to be vacant after Wall’s departure, Cunningham will allow the Rockets to start off strong in their rebuild.
His 6’7” stature and 220 pound frame for a point guard is an outlier that we don’t really see in the league. Luka Doncic is a similar body type, with the Slovenian product listed at the same height but weighing in at 230 pounds. Cunningham should have a successful career in the NBA, as the Oklahoma State freshman is averaging 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest.
Cunningham is a very good playmaker and solid all-around scorer. He can produce offense from just about anywhere on the court and in a multitude of ways.
He can score off the dribble, in the low post, off-ball motion plays and is a great transition scorer. He possesses elite court vision and his maturity with his decision making is beyond his years.
Similar to the dynamic offensive players we see in this league, Cunningham is able to manipulate defenses to get the shot that he wants and can break down defenders in the pick-and-roll offense. As a 3-point shooter, Cunningham is shooting an impressive 42 percent from behind the arc at a good volume, 4.7 attempts per game.
As a defender, he can stay with his opponent well and can pick their pockets as well as block shots, given his length at his position. Cunningham averaged 1.5 steals and 1 block per game. When Cunningham goes pro, he will likely see many trips to the free throw line as he went to the charity stripe about 6 times per game and converted them at an 85 percent clip.
Cunningham’s biggest issue seems to be turnovers. He averaged a whopping 4.3 per contest. In addition to this, his assists seem to be quite low for a point guard despite passing being one of his best skills.
He had questions coming into college about shooting as he struggled with this aspect of his game, however he has improved this after adjusting his mechanics. His lack of explosiveness could present a problem once he goes pro.
He can’t always rely on his size against his opponent especially with NBA-level defenders.
With the Houston Rockets heading towards a rebuild, they can accelerate the process with one of these three prospects, if they manage to finish towards the bottom of the standings. Suggs, Mobley and Cunningham all have the potential to be exceptional young core players for NBA franchises and the Houston Rockets are heading in the direction of a top-three draft pick after this season.
This hasn’t occurred for the team since 2002 when they selected Yao Ming with the number one overall pick.