Houston Rockets NBA Draft: Cade Cunningham's strengths and weaknesses
The top prospect in the 2021 NBA draft is Cade Cunningham and for good reason. He has MVP upside and an All-Star floor. Every tanking team is looking for the next Cade Cunningham and he is only just out of reach.
Cunningham's offensive upside is special and he should be a plus on the defensive end. There aren't a lot of holes in his game and his strengths are best in their class. It isn't a big mystery why he's the atop most mock drafts.
Strengths: Perimeter shooting, size, finishing, vision, feel, defensive versatility
Cunningham's shooting should make him an instant contributor at the next level. He can hit shots from anywhere on the court and with his size, it's nearly impossible to trouble him.
Not only is Cunningham's jump shooting a plus but his finishing at the rim will make him a true three-level scorer. Scoring isn't the only thing going for him, he has tremendous vision and feel for the game. People have compared him to Luka Doncic for a reason and it's all because of his passing.
Cunningham isn't just an offensive talent, his size means he'll have the type of defensive versatility that make switch happy defenses work. The total package is a player who should have no weaknesses in their prime. That's worth the first pick.
Weaknesses: passing decision making, athleticism
No prospect is perfect and the two warts that Cunningham has shown won't derail his career, but it could prevent him from being an elite player. With his passing and vision are impressive he too often looks to make impossible passes. Guys that hunt highlight reel passes end up on Sportscenter but they also run into avoidable turnovers.
Cunningham has tremendous size for a perimeter player but his athleticism is not elite. There's a chance that he struggles to get to and then finish at the rim consistently. However, the NBA has a long history of incredibly skilled players who lack elite athleticism that end up as MVP.
Should the Houston Rockets trade up in the NBA draft for Cade Cunningham?
The Rockets would be foolish to not explore trading up for Cunningham. He's the real deal, but to land him it might cost far too much. The gulf between him and Mobley and Green isn't so large that the Rockets should sell the farm to land him.
If all it takes is the 2nd pick and the 23rd pick to get him then they should have made that deal yesterday. It's likely that the Pistons are asking for the moon to move up to one. Cunningham might be worth it, but it's understandable to be gun shy with so much talent waiting for the Rockets.