Brooklyn Nets’ general manager Sean Marks rarely misses. He finds players that help the Nets overall, and do not detract from the team. Since joining the organization, he has had a flawless spot sheet, and that includes trading for Dante Cunningham.
Initially the trade for Dante Cunningham was a head scratching one. The Nets had just acquired Rashad Vaughn for Tyler Zeller. Cunningham was a veteran rotation player on the Pelicans. It did not make much sense why the Nets were dealing a significantly younger player for a vet that peaked years ago.
Well, Cunningham led the Nets with 22 points in the team’s Feb. 22 loss to the Hornets. While Brooklyn did not get the win it needed, Cunningham used the game as a proving ground. When he first came to the team, some expected him to settle into a three-and-D role. But, he showed that he can do much more.
Cunningham was absolutely lethal from downtown. He went four-for-seven from long range, the first time he’s hit more than a single three in a game since a Dec. 10 game against Philadelphia. And four threes in a game is his most this season.
However, Cunningham was not just a force behind the arc. He was a monster on the boards. The Villanova product grabbed 12 boards, tying his season-high.
He also did a good job of distributing the ball, dishing out a season-high four assists. It might not be a lot, but it is pretty impressive for a backup big man.
Cunningham seems to be excelling in Kenny Atkinson’s system. While one game is a super small sample size, if he keeps it up, Cunningham could join DeMarre Carroll as bigs who have had their careers turned around thanks to Atkinson.
If Cunningham keeps on feasting from three and wiping the boards clean, we could see him crack the starting five.