Position: Power Forward
Ht: 6-8, Wt: 230
Hometown: Silver Springs, MD
- Very muscular physical stature – no body fat.
- Fundamentally sound, well schooled player.
- Great rebounder – Always boxes his man out, seals off his opponent and gets himself in position to secure the rebound… Relentless attitude on the glass.
- Cuts hard to the basket
- Sets solid on the ball screens
- Plays pick and pop basketball - Adept at getting himself in open position.
- Well conditioned – runs hard on both ends of the floor and rarely shows fatigue
- Demonstrates range on his jump shot that extends out to 15 feet
- Terrific help defender – Understands how to defend within the team concept / Very physical, gets his body in position to stop penetration / take the contact (draw charge)
- Listed at 6’8 (very generous) which is a huge concern – He would be an undersized 4 at the next level.
- Although he has a well defined physique, he needs to fill out and put on 10 - 15 more lbs.
- Very robotic – Not a lot of fluidity to his game
- Lacks efficiency when he’s forced to create his own offense … Doesn’t have a true low post or face up game. Lacks the back to the basket skills or the ability to take his man off the dribble.
- Needs to become more consistent with his mid-range jump shot… (He has to become a great shooter)
Dante Cunningham is a player that maximizes his talent. He gets the most out of his skills and thus he’s evolved into a very productive college player.
In watching Cunningham, he comes from the same mold of a player like Charles Oakley. He understands his role on the team, he’s a relentless rebounder, plays with a lot of toughness, and he excels on the defensive side of the ball. The offense will never run through him, but he can get scrappy buckets around the rim.
It’s critical that Cunningham continues to improve his consistency from the outside. Right now, he’s a good shooter, but he needs to be lights out. If he can manage to develop a more consistent mid range jumper, the way Oakley did over his career that would greatly improve his chances of finding a home in the NBA.
The other thing that scares me about Cunningham is his size. He’s listed at 6’8, but when watching him on the court, he appears shorter than that. He also needs to continue filling out his frame, with more muscle mass, so that he can fight to prevent opposing 4’s from establishing position on the block. He’s going to need all the height and power he can get – otherwise his strength (defending) will be negated at the next level.
Overall, Cunningham is going to have a tough time sticking on an NBA roster. However, he’s worth a look late in the 2nd round, with the slim chance of earning a spot on an offensive oriented team that could use his defensive toughness and rebounding prowess.