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Postseason Report Card -- Dante Cunningham & D.J. White

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I've decided to combine the two players' into one post since they arrived on the team at the same time and play more or less the same position. Cool? Cool.

 

Season Synopsis

Both players were traded from their respective teams to the Bobcats right before the trade deadline and made an immediate impact on the team.

While White got plenty of playing time from the get-go, Cunningham's minutes were much more inconsistent for a bit. Though an inch taller than Dante, D.J. is more of a power forward and Cunningham plays more like a small forward. After the Bobcats' playoff hunt wore on, Cunningham got more playing time with Stephen Jackson injured, eventually leading to Cunningham starting the last eight games of the season. In those games, he averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds on 49% FG.

Meanwhile, White was still coming off the bench behind a revived Boris Diaw, which caused his minutes to fluctuate. As a 6th/7th man, he was an able fit for a team hit with injuries at the 4 position and by poor decisions.

General Analysis

Cunningham

Cunningham's offense is basically his midrange spot-up jump shot. He makes decent cuts and has the athleticism to get to the rim, but he doesn't get there much. As a 'tweener, he's the height of a power forward but has the physicality and weight of a small forward. His rebounding is pure effort as he's not strong enough to get great position in the post. However, if he can play the small forward, that's not a big problem. Unfortunately, if he's a small forward, he doesn't have great defense in that his lateral quickness is lacking compared to other small forwards and he struggles as a post defender. He is lean and quite long, so he can affect shot selection but rarely blocks shots despite his length and athleticism. 

White

White is similar to Cunningham in that they both show the ability to hit that midrange jumper at a decent clip and in their height. But outside of that, they're a bit different. D.J. is an average rebounder for his position (13.8% TRR to the league average 13.9% from NBA PFs). He's respectable on the pick and roll and has great ability to finish at the rim. His post game wasn't great for the Bobcats, though it's hard to get much solid analysis of it since he only got 9 field goal attempts from that area. He's strong and has a decent drop step, but I'd like to see if he can develop some more moves. Much of his scoring also came on cuts, like many Bobcats players, since the team relied on good ball movement to score. His defense is a much bigger question. Allowing his opponents to shoot 44% FG, most of White's struggles came in important areas - in the post and on the pick and roll. That can mostly be explained by his sub-par lateral quickness and defensive instincts.

What to Work on

Cunningham

I think Cunningham should look to add some bulk to his frame and work on his game in the post. All in all, I think his ceiling isn't very high. He can hit that midrange jumper pretty well, but he has a way to go to get better. As the second or third player off the bench, he's worth a decent look from teams, if the Bobcats don't.

White

I can see why the Thunder made him a first round pick, even though his jaw surgery a few years ago took him off track a little bit. He's explosive, has a solid jump shot, plays good team defense and supposedly has a some game in the post. I want to see him work a lot with Oakley and Silas to make his offense on the block more prominent to complement his jump shooting.

The Official Rufus on Fire Unofficial Fresh Prince Season Grade

Both:

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This is probably a somewhat generous grade, but I think they both filled in pretty well for second rounders and really started rolling towards the end of the season. Bonus points for adjusting to a new coach and system, too. Also, as Twitter friend @SeanHighkin suggests, I should probably give Dante a 'C' for 'Chronic.'