Watched some tape highlights and training videos of Cade Cunningham and wanted to share my impressions.
I've watched tapes (films to digital recordings) for about 50 years. I've seen lots of past stars: Dave Bing, Dave DeBusschere, and Bob Lanier to name a few Pistons; Kobe Bryant, Kareen Abdul Jabbar (Lew Alcindor), Jerry West; LeBron James, Cazzie Russell, Oscar Robertson, and many others just to name a few from different eras. I don't think I'm the most informed or knowledgeable guy by far, but I've seen talented players and respect what they bring in character, style, and to what I will call their unique skills.
It's easy to gush enthusiastically about Cade Cunningham. What I saw was smooth, electric, and quick. He shot well, rebounded well, defended well, blocked well, and handled the ball well. All of it was positive and befits a top draft pick.
What didn't I see? He seems almost too calm, too relaxed, and perhaps less intense than I would have liked to see. He is very at ease speaking, and speaks about the joy basketball brings to him, but there was not a lot of visible emotional passion, like I recall seeing from LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or others that were more intense.
I didn't see extreme power. He seems slightly built but not skinny or weak. He looks fluid but not overly flexible. It seemed he jumped well but not like Jordan or with the assertion you could see Isaiah Thomas give.
He wants the ball. He commands a sense of presence which is very important. He appears confident and very self assured. Yet, I didn't see him mix it up, over power anyone, or make someone fall out of their shoes on a fake. He remained steady, active, surpassed his competition, but I think he'll need to push more in the face of top NBA competition to truly excel.
I think he'll be a very good player. He's a different player than what I have seen become the top stars of the game. He resembles Kobe Bryant in many ways. I would say he reminds me most of what I remember of him coming of of high school. That's not too bad of a player to be compared to, is it?
He would be my #1 pick. Yet, I think there will be some struggles adjusting to the pro game, and he'll probably need to work on getting much stronger. He'll definitely need time to reach his peak.
Does he fit the character of what I think of as a Detroit Piston? I wanted to see that. He is something like Tayshaun Prince, and reserved or almost shy like Ben Wallace. If he is like those two, that's definitely not a bad thing.
Early in his career I think he'll be a blend of Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. As he matures I think we'll see someone emerge that is more and more like Kobe Bryant. Ideally he can grow and become that good, and the Pistons can retain him longer than the Cavaliers were able to hold on to LeBron. I think the fact that he is coming from Oklahoma somehow helps to make him more rooted, and that might help in that respect.
Hope that this was helpful or interesting.