We’ve now reached the point where it becomes tougher to squeeze out words about players who have two, maybe three highlight videos on YouTube. The sort of players you only know if you 1.) play a lot of NBA 2K, 2.) happen to be a fan of the team the player plays for or 3.) enjoy perusing Basketball-Reference.
If you take a cursory glance at Dante Cunningham’s NBADraft.net profile, it reads like a future NBA role player/benchwarmer. You’ll see descriptions like “hard worker”, “workingman’s player” and “plays his guts out”. This somewhat obstructs his size and defensive potential, but even when you factor that in, Cunningham’s ceiling was always 3-and-D.
Despite his very limited offensive repertoire, Cunningham has carved out a respectable NBA career, with stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Memphis Grizzlies, the-thenCharlotte Bobcats, the Brooklyn Nets, the New Orleans Pelicans and currently the San Antonio Spurs.
The then-Hornets used this pick to take Darren Collison, who stepped up whenever starting point guard Chris Paul missed time with an injury, but with his talents already being scooped up in this recalibrated draft, New Orleans would have to settle for Cunningham.
It took a while for Cunningham to add a 3-point shot to his offensive repertoire — eight years, to be exact — and he’s clearly a downgrade from Collison, but he could have benefitted from playing with Paul as a floor spacer or, at the very least, a rim roller.
These are the sort of players that are usually available once you get to these late rounds. The Hornets were fortunate enough to get a player like Collison in the actual draft, but they wouldn’t be so lucky in this re-draft.