Jared Cunningham talks PG and defense

June, 30, 2012
The Dallas Mavericks surprised many observers and fans Thursday night when they dropped out of the No. 17 spot, acquired the No. 24 pick and selected Oregon State combo guard Jared Cunningham.

Mavericks first-round pick Jared Cunningham comments on his draft experience, how his game translates to the pros and more.

Listen Listen
The Mavs were looking for an ultra-quick backcourt player who doesn't shy away from defense and can create on the offensive end. They believe they got those qualities in the three-year player who hails from Oakland, Calif., the same backyard as one Jason Kidd, who may or may not be Cunningham's teammate in a matter of days.

The interesting thing is that Cunningham certainly seems aware of that fact when he answered a question during his Friday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Co."

Cunningham was asked if he believes he can play the point on a consistent basis in the pros.

"Yes, I feel I can," Cunningham said. "There’s definitely going to be a learning curve. I have some people to learn from, some of the great players in the NBA that might be on my team."

Notice how he used the word might?

If Deron Williams re-signs with Brooklyn as free agency gets underway tonight at 11:01 p.m. CT, the Mavs stand a good chance of losing Kidd in free agency to the Nets as well. At that point, the pursuit of Steve Nash, a two-time MVP, will begin in force.

With all that up in the air, the 6-foot-5 Cunningham knows he can only control his own development. He'll be in instant competition with Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones, two somewhat similar combo guards who have yet to work their way into rotation spots. Of course, it is to be seen if both former first-rounders are on the roster when training camp opens.

Cunningham said he puts a lot of passion into playing defense and he knows the quickest way to carving out rookie playing time is through grinding it out on the less-glamorous end.

"I feel that my quickness will help me a lot playing defense, just staying in front of 1-guards or 2-guards," Cunningham said. "It's just my passion to play defense since an early age, so it’s just fun to play and defense ignites the offense and that’s something I like to do."

Precisely, because Cunningham is a blur running the floor. His overall game needs work and he wasn't shy about that aspect, but he said he's excited to play for the Mavs and the city of Dallas. He'll arrive in town soon after the July 4 holiday and begin training for Summer League in Las Vegas, which starts July 13.

"I feel there’s a lot of room for me to develop and Dallas is the right place for me," Cunningham said. "It’s an excellent opportunity for me and I have to come in and work my butt off and play my hardest."



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Galloway & Company: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Mark Cuban talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: The Standoff

Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ramona Shelburne

ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Buy or sell

Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.


Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2