- Oklahoma State phenom Cade Cunningham is the odds-on favorite to go first overall in the 2021 NBA Draft
- Several other prospects are looking to prove their talents in the G League
- Can anyone beat Cunningham to the first overall pick? See the odds below
Cade Cunningham is the heavy favorite to go first overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. After a draft which was largely talked down in 2020, the 2021 class is thought to be stacked with NBA-ready talent. The NBA Draft odds are all about Cunningham, however, who sits at -300 to go first overall.
Cunningham has been proving his talents in college, but others have gone down a different route. The G League bubble is a factor to consider in this betting market with Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga earning experience in the men’s game.
Odds to Be 1st Overall Pick in 2021 NBA Draft
Odds as of Feb 12th
Cunningham Puts Up Numbers
Oklahoma State aren’t an all-conquering team. Their 12-6 record arguably flatters them – they are just 5-6 in conference matchups, and outside of Cunningham, only one other player is scoring in double figures per game. Cunningham has put his team on his back when required, though, nailing a couple of game winners already on the season and scoring 18.7 per contest.
Even more impressively, he’s shooting 42.3% from beyond the arc. A guard who can score the ball and shoot like that, all while standing at around 6’8, is going to get front offices giddy. The size and shooting range are what every team craves – Cunningham has an incredibly high ceiling, and there’s no question his shot is for real.
The Cunningham hype might not be at Zion Williamson levels, but he’s the consensus first overall pick at the moment, and well deserving of that status.
NBA front offices have overrated the college game in the past. This has resulted in a reluctance to draft players who have played elsewhere. Such a trend should be starting to change, however.
Luka Doncic and LaMelo Ball headed into their respective drafts with numerous question marks. They faced greater skepticism than many of their peers. Playing in Europe for Doncic and spending a season in Australia for Ball led to concern rather than plaudits.
How well the pair have fared in the NBA is worth considering for the upcoming draft. Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green are suiting up for the G League Ignite this season. The pair are projected to be top five overall picks, and they have a chance to improve their draft stock playing against a mixture of prospects and players with NBA experience.
Team Ignite already going CRAZY in the G League bubble ? @nbagleague @JonathanKuming6 @JalenGreen pic.twitter.com/2ZElAkrseH
— Overtime (@overtime) February 8, 2021
The G League has provided many productive NBA players in recent years. Kuminga and Green starring against seasoned veterans would be worth a lot ahead of this draft.
Doncic and Ball have shown that experience of senior basketball can be beneficial for prospects. Front offices should be getting more open-minded to drafting players from different paths – Kuminga and Green have the talent to shine the G League. Only time will tell if that’s enough to rival Cunningham for first overall.
Suggs Could Surge
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are unbeaten this season. Jalen Suggs is their floor general, and his performances thus far have seen him surge up draft boards. Once considered a borderline lottery pick, Suggs is in the mix to go first overall.
Jalen Suggs has been having a freshman season to remember for the Zags ? pic.twitter.com/C8p3OE5WGr
— ESPN (@espn) February 6, 2021
Suggs has shown he can do it all. He’s a good, though not compulsive, shooter. Standing at 6’4, he’s got useful size and he gets more than his fair share of rebounds.
Being on a bad team at college doesn’t necessarily harm a player’s draft stock, but being on one of the best teams in the country can certainly help. If Gonzaga continue to rack up wins, Suggs will have more chances to shine, more opportunities to prove himself as a decision maker in the clutch.
The size, the shot, and the ability to play off ball make Suggs a fascinating prospect. If the G League experiment doesn’t work out for Kuminga and Green, Suggs could emerge as Cunningham’s main challenger to go first overall.