Mavs send 1st Rounder Jared Cunningham to D-League
The Rookie guard Jared Cunningham has gotten off without significant playing time in seven games for the 10-11 Dallas Mavericks. So far he’s received a grand total of 24 minutes; that too in garbage time, averaging 2.3 points, 0.4 rebounds and 0.1 steals this season.
The Dallas Mavericks are viewing the change as an opportunity for Jared Cunningham to garner more playing time, rather than a demotion to their NBDL affiliates Texas legends.
“Jared’s a Legend,” said Texas Legends co-owner and Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations, Donnie Nelson. “Welcome to playing time.”
Jared Cunningham entered the 2012 drafts following his junior season and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks without seeing any play time. Since then, Jared Cunningham has failed to live-up to his 24th overall drafts spot.
While the 6-4, 195 pound combo guard Jared Cunningham boasts great athleticism, he lacks a point guard’s creativity to produce plays or the shooting guard’s ability to take outside shots. Jared Cunningham has emerged as more of a slasher at the rim while having great on-ball defensive skills, but he isn’t NBA starting lineup material yet.
Still, Jared Cunningham showcases great potential and could use some time in the D-League to work on his passing skills and outside shot (while being relieved from the carousel of Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle’s rotation).
‘It’s going to be a good opportunity for him,” said Donnie Nelson. “Practice only goes so far. At some point you have to get in games.”
Jared Cunningham is 31st NBA player being assigned to the D-League this season, with several other first-round picks: Royce White, Jeremy Lamb, Fab Melo, Kendall Marshal, Miles Plumlee, John Jenkins, Tony Wroten Jr., Terrence Jones and Perry Jones III already serving playing time there. The league has drastically changed its approach to the D-League this season, as teams have started to use their NBDL affiliates as tools to improve their young talents’ capabilities.
Besides, with several key starters returning from injury, Jared Cunningham’s season was expected to hit further low-key as he struggled for playing time amidst tough competition at the spot.
One of such key players returning for the Dallas Mavericks is forward Shawn Marion, who practiced for the first time on Tuesday after missing the last two games with groin injury. Shawn Marion’s status is still in the air for Tuesday night’ game against the Boston Celtics but he is expected to travel with the team for a three game road-trip, which likely puts his return somewhere in between that period.