Last year, former Villanova standout Dante Cunningham enjoyed his most productive NBA season in his first year with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Cunningham will spend this year as the primary backup to arguably the best power forward in the league, Kevin Love. He may not get quite as many minutes this year with Love at full health, but he will still play a key role in the Timberwolves’ success.
At 6-foot-8, Cunningham is fairly undersized for the power forward position. He’s not insanely strong or athletic either, but Cunningham is skilled at positioning himself on both offense and defense. These skills have helped him become an above-average defender and rebounder.
Cunningham is also a decent jump shooter, though, he very rarely ventures outside the three-point line. Most of his shots were midrange jumpers last year and he still managed to convert 46.8 percent of his field goals. It will be useful for the Timberwolves to have another power forward who can stretch the floor as their starting center, Nikola Pekovic, generates offense entirely in the low post, and backup Gorgui Dieng doesn’t have much of an offensive game yet.
The Timberwolves know how to use Cunningham, and he knows his role. Knowing his capabilities and playing smart and hard has helped Cunningham establish an NBA career despite not having the greatest size or talent. He should provide some needed defense and knock down some open jumpers off the bench this year, which is all that will likely be asked of him.