After all the dust settled and the Bobcats had traded Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed, the team was left with some cash, picks, Dante Cunningham, D.J. White, Mo Peterson (since released), Joel Przybilla, and Sean Marks (described by Ryen Russillo of ESPN’s NBA Today as a “dude with hair”). Although Przybilla has played and will more than likely continue to play decent minutes going forward, the two players that Bobcats fans should pay attention to are Cunningham and White. Both players are young, cheap and possess some measure of upside. Let’s take a closer look what we can expect to see from each:
After getting selected in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft and seeing just over 11 minutes/game as a rookie, Dante had since pushed his way into the rotation for the Blazers before being dealt last week. The Bobcats are hoping he can step in and provide much of the same for them, as he’ll most likely spare Diaw at PF and may even see some time at the 3 depending on matchups. In his first season and a half Dante has fared well on the boards considering his size (11.7 Rebound Rate), while also contributing blocks and steals (According to ESPN’s John Hollinger he was top 20 amongst power forwards in both blocks and steals per minute last season). On the offensive side of the floor you’re going to see the majority of his shots come off the catch outside the paint, as 54.8% have come from the 16-23 foot range (shooting a respectable 45.0%).
Overall, the Bobcats are hoping they’ve just acquired a player who can step in and give them 15 minutes/game, defend opposing forwards, and knock down open 20 footers. If that’s the case Dante could be a solid contributor for years to come.
Although this is D.J.’s 3rd season in the league, he had seen only 451 minutes of play before being traded to the Bobcats last week. Due in large part to the depth of the Thunder he had spent a portion of his two and a half seasons in the D-League, averaging a near 20 & 10. D.J. should also see some time at the 4, though much like Dante matchups may more than often dictate who gets more run. He’s a solid rebounder who has shown the ability to convert on mid-range jumpers at an exceptional rate (56.3% shooting from 10-15 feet range). At the defensive end he’s able to hold his own on the boards despite sometimes struggling with more athletic forwards.
Considering D.J.’s contract he may have to outplay Dante in order for the team to be willing to pick up his option for next season. However, both are cheap by NBA standards so don’t be surprised if each is retained if they play well down the stretch.