Fade for Cade: Minnesota, Detroit leading the Sweepstakes for Cade Cunningham, who dropped 40 on Oklahoma | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / July 14.
  • Fade for Cade: Minnesota, Detroit leading the Sweepstakes for Cade Cunningham, who dropped 40 on Oklahoma

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA & JUSTIN POTTINGER

    After seeing what Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham did on Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons may not want to win another game this season.

    The Wolves and Pistons already own the NBA’s two worst records and thus lead the “Fade for Cade” Sweepstakes, while Houston, Cleveland, Orlando, Sacramento and Washington aren’t far off the pace.

    “Teams like Minny and Detroit should not win another game and put themselves in a strong position to be No. 1,” one Western Conference executive said.

    The 6-foot-7 Cunningham made his latest case to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft by scoring 10 of his season-high 40 points in overtime to help the Cowboys defeat No. 7 Oklahoma 94-90 in the first of two Bedlam games.

    “I think getting the win was how I wanted to put my plant on Bedlam,” Cunningham said. “I have a trust in my coaches and teammates allowing me to get 40, but I think we all played to win, and that’s what I’m most happy about.”

    Cunningham is widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, with USC big man Evan Mobley, Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs and G League Ignite stars Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga also in the mix.

    Cunningham, Mobley and Suggs are all one-and-dones, while Green and Kuminga opted to forego college to play on the new NBA G League pathway team that is now competing in the G League bubble in Orlando.

    Cunningham, the Big 12’s leading scorer, blew away his previous scoring high of 29 points. He made 12 of 21 field goals and 13 of 14 free throws. He also finished with 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks as Oklahoma State earned a win that will likely move them into the Top 25 come Monday.

    “He’s not predicted No. 1 for no reason,” said Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves, the No. 2 scorer in the conference. “He’s a player. We knew he was a really good player, and he performed tonight, to say the least.”

    The teams will meet again on Monday at Oklahoma State. Cunningham said being ready for the rematch will go beyond ice tubs, healthy eating and rest.

    “We just put a big physical toll on ourselves, so just making sure that we’re mentally ready, knowing personnel, watching film — things like that — those are the best things you can do,” he said.

    (The AP contributed reporting).

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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