The Brooklyn Nets did not make any jaw-dropping trade deadline deals but did trade for a key front-court piece in Dante Cunningham.
The Brooklyn Nets front-court has been a working progress all season. Nets general manager Sean Marks improved the Nets front-court by trading for Dante Cunningham with an hour left in the NBA trade deadline last Thursday. Cunningham brings veteran experience, player development, and defense to the Nets.
Cunningham, who is playing his eighth NBA season, certainly has NBA experience under his belt. He has been on a handful of playoff teams throughout his career and has been on two previous NBA teams before joining Brooklyn. His veteran experience was the main reason why Brooklyn went out and traded for him.
According to Greg Logan of Newsday, Marks found the veteran they need on the young Nets roster.
“Dante Cunningham is somebody I’m familiar with,” Marks said. “Dante gives us a positional need, but he also brings us toughness, grit. He’s a veteran. He’s been on playoff teams, he’s been in big moments. I think what he’ll add to our group will be important.”
Nets head Coach Kenny Atkinson is well known for his player development abilities. The Nets front-court is filled with young players who need more development. Cunningham plays a big role in developing these young front-court players especially Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson are not strong on the defensive end. Cunningham is known for his defensive ability and toughness at the forward position.
According to Greg Logan, Cunningham embraces defense and toughness as his major strengths. His defensive mindset can help LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson develop their defensive play and build their toughness on both ends.
Cunningham has a tremendous defensive mindset. He is up to guard any player of any size and embraces challenges. He is commonly matched up against elite front-court players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and other tough players. Cunningham defends forwards confidently and forces frustration to his match ups.
He is also known for his lockdown tight defense. Tight defense is needed for the Nets especially down low. Opposing teams target the Nets front-court and often succeed. Players like Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, and Brook Lopez have had outstanding games by dominating down low when playing the Nets. Cunningham will help prevent this consistent problem with his toughness and tight defense.
According to Greg Logan of Newsday, Cunningham is excited to be a Net and be a part of a young team that plays hard consistently.
“They play hard every night, and they’re in every game. They’re at the rim, they’re making the right plays. That’s what I like . . . I’m glad to be here, glad to be with a bunch of guys that are eager to go.”
With Hollis-Jefferson out indefinitely for some time with a groin injury, Cunningham will be seeing a lot of playing time for Brooklyn.