Tag: Patric Young

Dante Cunningham

Report: New Orleans “seriously considering” signing Dante Cunningham


Dante Cunningham is the kind of solid reserve big man who normally would have been picked up by a team in early-to-mid August as they rounded out their roster, but last summer nobody went near him. The reason was a some ugly domestic violence charges — ones that led to him getting booed by home fans in Minnesota at the end of last season — and in today’s climate no team was going near that.

However by mid-August all charges were dismissed. A source who saw the evidence against him told me this was a case where there was no foundation to the charges, police had found the accusations contained “falsehoods.” It is unlikely the league would suspend him in this case.

Still teams have stayed away. However that may be about to change, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Pelicans are looking for a little depth. They have an impressive starting front court with Anthony Davis and Omer Asik, and Ryan Anderson has been good as a stretch on the offensive end but he’s not providing much defense.

Cunningham, 26, is a quality defender, especially against the pick-and-roll, and he can defend the three or the four. Offensively he’s a pick-and-pop big man who makes his living on the long two on offense — he took 58 percent of his shots from 16 feet out to the arc last season in Minnesota (where he averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds a game in about 20 minutes a night off the bench). He hit a respectable 39.2 percent of those long twos but that’s still an inefficient shot.

The Pelicans have the roster space after waiving Darius Miller and Patric Young.

If the Pelicans don’t snap him up, some team will.

Pelicans sign Dionte Christmas

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns
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Unless there are some unknown promises in place, Pelicans training camp should be a lot of fun for Monty Williams.

Coaches are always looking for ways to foster competitiveness, and nothing does that like jobs up for grabs. Players will go to the wall to get an NBA contract, and that attitude can spread throughout the team.

New Orleans has 12 players with guaranteed contracts plus Luke Babbitt, Darius Miller, Patric Young, Kevin Jones and Vernon Macklin competing for one to three open roster spots. And if that wasn’t enough of a pool to choose from, the Pelicans will add another player who surely didn’t receive a full guarantee – Dionte Christmas.

Shams Charania of RealGM:


Christmas, who had played overseas since going undrafted out of Temple in 2009, made his NBA debut with the Suns last season. He played extremely limited minutes in Phoenix, but the 6-foot-5 guard has some scoring skills, though perhaps not the athleticism necessary to convert them to the NBA level.

The beauty is, he’ll have a chance to prove himself.

Pelicans sign Kevin Jones, Vernon Macklin

Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Pelicans have an extremely strong top six:

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Eric Gordon
  • Tyreke Evans
  • Anthony Davis
  • Omer Asik
  • Ryan Anderson

But beyond that, it’s pretty dicey. So, New Orleans continues to search for reinforcements.

Caleb Wygal of The Register-Herald.com:

Kevin Jones tells us that he is going to training camp with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

The Pelicans have 12 players with guaranteed contracts. Jones and Macklin will be competing with Luke Babbitt, Darius Miller and Patric Young – each of whom has a partially guaranteed salary – for the final three roster spots.

Jones went undrafted in 2012, signed with the Cavaliers and spent much of the season in the D-League. He again played in the D-League, this time without an NBA contract, last season. The West Virginia product is a bit small for a power forward, but he plays hard and has good scoring skills inside.

Macklin also signed as an undrafted free agent, going from Florida to the Pistons in 2011. In his lone year in Detroit, he scored and rebounded extremely efficiently in very limited minutes, so it’s tough to evaluate Macklin based on that. You’d think a 25-41 team could have found more than 135 minutes to see what it had in Macklin, but the Pistons didn’t. He’s since played overseas and in the D-League.

Jones and Macklin are unlikely to make the team, but there are openings for each if they impress in the preseason.

Which NBA team has best under-23 players?

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams

The Bucks finished an NBA-worst 15-67 last season.

Being bad stinks, but it’s a lot worse when you’re trying to be good. That’s why Milwaukee’s season was much more problematic than that of the 76ers, who went a similar 19-63.

But the Bucks realized the hole they’re in, so now they’re truly rebuilding. And owner Marc Lasry thinks they’re doing a good job.

Is Lasry right? Do the Bucks really have the best collection of players under age 23?

Here’s how I rate the NBA’s top dozen teams by the collective value of their under-23 players:

12. Thunder

  • Jeremy Lamb
  • Steven Adams
  • Perry Jones
  • Andre Roberson
  • Mitch McGary
  • Josh Huestis
  • Grant Jerrett
  • Semaj Christon

This is a deep group of players who could become long-term NBA starters, but Adams is the only one I think gets there. Still, there’s a lot of talent between McGary, Lamb and even Jones. And maybe Roberson, who has a knack for doing the little things, ends up better than all three.

11. Raptors

  • Jonas Valanciunas
  • Lucas Nogueira
  • Bruno Caboclo
  • DeAndre Daniels

Valanciunas is on track to become an All-Star, but there’s no guarantee he gets there and he’s the only under-23 Raptor of significant value. It’s not ideal to put all your eggs in one basket.

10. Hornets

  • Bismack Biyombo
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Cody Zeller
  • Noah Vonleh
  • P.J. Hairston

This list includes multiple players – Vonleh, Kidd-Gilchrist and Biyombo – I know I’m higher on than most. So, I struggled to rank Charlotte, and I’m not sure whether I overcompensated or undercompensated for my personal preferences. Zeller really looked more comfortable late last season, and between him and Vonleh, I think the Bobcats have a strong future at power forward.

9. Jazz

  • Enes Kanter
  • Trey Burke
  • Rudy Gobert
  • Dante Exum
  • Rodney Hood

Burke and Exum could each become one of the NBA’s better guards, though it’s unclear whether they can reach that level together. Kanter hasn’t panned out as hoped, though it’s soon to close the book on him. Gobert, as Zach Lowe of Grantland detailed, has intriguing upside, though he didn’t play much last season. Essentially, it’s easy to find reasons for optimism, but just as easy to find reasons for pessimism.

8. Wizards

  • Bradley Beal
  • Otto Porter

It might not be long until Beal is the NBA’s best shooting guard, and though I don’t think he ever hits that level, he’s still very good. Porter had a rough rookie year, but I’m not giving up him yet.

7. Magic

  • Tobias Harris
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Elfrid Payton
  • Roy Devyn Marble

Outside of Oladipo, I’m not that high on any of these players – and I’m not even totally, absolutely, 100 percent sold on Oladipo. But it’s a deep collection of young talent, and I bet at least one other player emerges as quality.

6. Timberwolves

  • Shabazz Muhammad
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Zach LaVine
  • Glenn Robinson III

Wiggins has incredible potential. He went No. 1 in a loaded draft, after all. LaVine has tremendous upside, but he’s extremely raw. Maybe Bennett, who was awful last season, capitalizes on his impressive summer and turns around his career.

5. Bucks

  • Brandon Knight
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Jabari Parker
  • Damien Inglis
  • Johnny O’Bryant III

Lasry’s Bucks didn’t quite make it to the top spot. There’s a major disconnect between Antetokounmpo current production (not great) and potential (great), and I want to see more from him before I’m convinced he’ll bridge that gap. I would have taken Parker No. 1 in the draft, though I essentially viewed him and Wiggins as a tossup. Knight made major strides next year, and I’m interested to see whether he continues progressing as he settles into a larger role.

4. Pistons

  • Andre Drummond
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Tony Mitchell
  • Spencer Dinwiddie

Drummond is a singular force individually lifting Detroit so high on this list. Underrated for what he already does, Drummond has potential to become the NBA’s top center – and it’s not a far climb. Caldwell-Pope, who could be a nice 3&D threat next to Drummond, boosts the Pistons, too.

3. Cavaliers

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Dion Waiters
  • Joe Harris
  • Alex Kirk

Irving is already a two-time All-Star, a true offensive game-changer. I think his defense could come around to at least competent now that Cleveland is ready to win. I’m not big on Waiters, but he has talent, and the Cavaliers are here due to Irving anyway.

2. 76ers

  • Michael Carter-Williams
  • Tony Wroten
  • Nerlens Noel
  • Joel Embiid
  • Dario Saric
  • K.J. McDaniels
  • Jerami Grant
  • Pierre Jackson
  • Adonis Thomas

Carter-Williams just won Rookie of the Year, and he’s a good athlete with great size for his position. Noel, for my money, was the best prospect in the 2013 draft ignoring his injury. We’ll soon see how much that affected him long-term. Embiid would have gone No. 1 in this draft if healthy. And Saric has impressed in the World Cup. The 76ers might be years away, but I like where they’re going.

1. Pelicans

  • Anthony Davis
  • Austin Rivers
  • Patric Young

Davis is just that good. He could be the NBA’s third-best player as soon as this season, so if you can get him, you do. Worry about depth or hedging bets later. Davis is the real deal.

A couple NCAA Sweet 16 matchups scouts will be watching

Anthony Davis
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NBA fans — and to some degree NBA GMs — do a lot of scouting during conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament. They like seeing players they may draft respond to pressure situations against good competition.

But for scouts, it rarely changes what they have thought about a player they have watched for a couple seasons now. Opinions are formed.

Still, there are a couple matchups scouts want to see in the NCAA Sweet 16, something Chad Ford pointed out at ESPN.

Thursday that is a battle of slightly undersized bigs — Florida’s Patric Young vs. Marquette’s Jae Crowder. Young says he is staying in school another year but he is the better prospect who at 6’9” can defend and rebound at an NBA level. He’s strong, a good shot blocker and while he has been up and down he works hard. Which will make things challenging for Crowder, who is all about outworking you. Crowder — projected as a second round pick by DraftExpress — is also strong and a guy who works hard off the ball and defends like a beast. His challenge is he plays the four in college but is really the size of an NBA three and some scouts wonder if he is athletic enough to play on the wing. What I have seen (limited though it is) he looks to me like he can defend on the wing at an NBA level, and if he can do that he has real value.

The better matchup may be Friday — Kentucky’s Anthony Davis against Indiana’s Cody Zeller. They went head-to-head earlier in the year but Ford says neither impressed, here is a chance to do so. Not that anything that happens will change the fact Davis is going to be the first overall pick — he is very long, defends well, is athletic and has very good handles for a big. I generally hate comparing guys to current NBA players, but watch him and he reminds me of a young Kevin Garnett. Zeller also is a very agile, athletic big who would be a lottery pick if he came out this year. He’s another big who can step out and beat you on the perimeter or running the break. Zeller may stay in school another year (if so he may go top 5 next year) but this is a good matchup test for both men. (Kentucky just has a lot more talent around Davis than Indiana does.)