Orlando Magic NBA Draft Big Board 1.0: I guess it’s that time

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Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Cade Cunningham’s ability to score from anywhere on the floor has made him the best prospect in the NBA Draft. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Top Guy


Cade Cunningham G

Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State Cowboys /

This is a long-celebrated NBA Draft class. If the Orlando Magic were going to pick a year to have this kind of (hopefully) outlier season where they fall out of the playoffs and go into the death spiral of the Lottery, this would be the one.

The general consensus is that there are five prospects who can really help turn a franchise around. I am personally not sold that all five will be All-Star players or that any one of them is some generational talent. But there are five very good players who can be high-level starters and make immediate impacts.

None has looked as good or as complete as Cade Cunningham. If this is a great draft class, Cunningham is the top of that class. And it does not look particularly close.

The 6-foot-8 guard plays like a point guard and has all the offensive tools to be successful. He is able to drive and finish at the rim. He can stop and hit from mid-range off the dribble. He is an excellent 3-point shooter. All the tools are undoubtedly there.

And he has put a lot of those tools together.

For the Oklahoma State Cowboys, he has averaged 19.7 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game. He has shot a 52.7-percent effective field goal percentage on a 29.0-percent usage rate.

It is hard to be that efficient on that kind of usage rate. That is usually reserved for the truly special players in the league. And Cunningham is a potentially elite prospect. That is why he is the clear number one option.

He can play off the ball and that might ultimately where he is best at. But his passing is also at a high level. He is able to make quick and dangerous passes across the court with ease, putting even difficult one-handed passes right in a teammate’s shooting pocket. This will be the biggest area for him to explore.

His passing and playmaking at the NBA level could be what turns him from a very solid prospect that can be the start of a franchise-builder and a potentially elite franchise-changing prospect.

He fits in perfectly with the Magic. He is a good enough shooter to play off of Markelle Fultz and would give them a second driver and creator, not to mention a scorer, that this team so desperately needs.