San Antonio Spurs 2018-19 Player Previews: Dante Cunningham continues his journey
By Dylan Carter
For journeyman Dante Cunningham, signing with the San Antonio Spurs serves as an opportunity to experience the game in a different light.
Small forward Dante Cunningham is headed to San Antonio to join his seventh team in 10 seasons. In a summer headlined by chaos, head coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs welcomed the veteran to help stabilize the locker room and provide valuable minutes off the bench.
Teams have often called upon Cunningham to round out their bench units because of his wide skill set. Considered a ‘jack of all trades, master of none,’ Cunningham can provide a spark on both sides of the floor despite never truly honing a particular archetype.
Free agent forward Dante Cunningham has agreed to a deal with the Spurs, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 16, 2018
The 31-year-old spent time in Portland, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans and Charlotte over the course of his career. Most recently, Cunningham finished last season in Brooklyn after being traded by New Orleans midway through the year. Over the course of 22 games as a Net, Cunningham put up 7.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game.
Floor spacing and versatility are two crucial aspects of the Maryland-native’s game that San Antonio lacked last season. Listed at 6-foot-8, Cunningham often slots in as a small-ball power forward and has worked tirelessly to expand his three-point production in recent years. As the tide of the league shifted further toward three’s, so did Cunningham.
ICYMI | We've signed Dante Cunningham! pic.twitter.com/SokqG4XUjf
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 22, 2018
His 34.5 percent mark from behind the arc last season doesn’t do justice to his shooting ability, as Cunningham worked within a restrictive offense that limited his opportunities in New Orleans. Cunningham shot 38.3 percent from deep during his time in Brooklyn and shot 39.2 percent from three in the 2016-17 season.
With only half of last year’s roster returning for the 2018-19 season, Popovich will make some difficult decisions regarding playing time. While Cunningham is currently in line to claim the backup small forward role, shooting guard Marco Belinelli may assume some of those minutes out of position. Moreover, Cunningham will go head-to-head with his former teammate Quincy Pondexter for a spot in the rotation.
There’s no telling how many minutes Cunningham will earn in the rotation, but his dependability and playoff experience make him an important addition. Solid rotational veterans are important to team success, especially with a crop of young talent joining the squad.