Cade Cunningham is the consensus number one pick in this year’s draft, and if you ask him, it doesn’t seem like he necessarily disagrees.
“I feel like I’m the number one pick,” Cunningham said during a media availability a week before the NBA Draft.
Cunningham also said that he’s only met with one team so far, and that is the Detroit Pistons, who hold the first pick this year.
“The organization has a lot of great people within it,” Cunningham said about the Pistons. “Starts with the owners. Troy Weaver is a great GM. I learned a lot on my visit. If they take me, I’ll be happy to be there.”
Cunningham was also particularly complimentary about the city of Detroit, speaking about how he has tried to assimilate himself into the fabric of the culture of the “Motor City” even before his name gets called on draft night.
“I love Detroit,” Cunningham said. “I’ve already been listening to Detroit music well before the lottery. I was already hipped to the culture in Detroit. If Detroit picks me, I’m going to try and embody the swag people of Detroit, Michigan walk with.”
Despite Cunningham seemingly locked in on the Pistons, there’s been recent buzz surrounding the possibility of the Houston Rockets, owners of the second pick, trading up to earn the rights to a first opportunity of drafting Cunningham. If the Rockets successfully pull it off, Cunningham said that he would meet with them if there is “enough time.”
Cunningham’s roots come from another city in Texas though, and that is Dallas, where his initial love of the game of basketball came from by watching Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
With Nowitzki now retired, the Mavs currently have Luka Doncic leading their team, who Cunningham has drawn comparisons to, much to his chagrin.
“I don’t like comparing myself to people around my age,” Cunningham said.
The 19-year-old instead compares his game to bigger playmakers at the point guard position before his time, naming the likes of Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd and Penny Hardaway.
Like those three aforementioned floor generals, Cunningham said he “takes pride” in his passing skills, a skill he feels best showcases how much people know about the game, and one that he’s going to continue to try and improve.