|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Oregon State SG Jared Cunningham||06.20.12 at 4:25 pm ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.
Position: Shooting guard
School: Oregon State
Weight: 188 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-Pac-12 first team, 2012 All-Pac-12 defensive team, 2011 All-Pac-12 second team, 2011 All-Pac-12 defensive team
Key 2011-12 stats; 17.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.5 steals, 45.0 FG%, 34.6 minutes
What he brings: Cunningham, who declared for the draft after his junior season, is a phenomenal athlete with a smooth, impressive game. He’s a decent slasher with solid ball-handling skills and uses his leaping ability to finish off highlight-reel plays. There’s potential for him to become a solid spot-up shooter and he also has the tendency to score off tip-ins on offensive rebounds. Cunningham’s defense is impressive. He can shut down both the guard positions and he uses his extremely active hands to jump passes.
He isn’t the strongest guard and will need to put on weight in order to battle with the stronger guards in the NBA. The 21-year-old isn’t the greatest shooter and has an inconsistent shot selection. Cunningham often doesn’t attack the rim with tenacity and settles with wild finishes instead.
Overall Cunningham has a lot of upside because of his athleticism. If he can add muscle, his defensive presence should be immediate in the NBA.
Where the Celtics could get him: Cunningham is projected as a late-first-round pick, but because most of his skills are already present in Avery Bradley, it is unlikely the Celtics spend one of their first-round picks on him.
Notes: Cunningham led the Pac-12 in steals in both his sophomore and junior years and finished second all-time on the Oregon career steals list. He holds 11 Oregon State records.
Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Cunningham’s junior season.
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