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Dallas Mavericks Draft Picks: Jared Cunningham Q&A

What position he should he play? How much of an impact can he make right away? We brought in NBA Draft Insider Kristopher Habbas to break down the game of Mavericks first-round pick Jared Cunningham.

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1) Very few people were talking about Jared Cunningham before the draft. How surprised were you when the Mavstook him at No. 24?

Yes and no. I was positive Jared was going in the first round after his Chicago Combine performance as well as the conversations I had with people around him. The ceiling was 30 in my opinion to Golden State, but the Mavericks obviously liked what they saw out of him.

2) He had more turnovers than assists in college. How realistic is the idea of converting him to a PG or is he better suited to being a combo guard?

Jared is not a point guard. It was a little absurd when that was where was projected to play because he worked out with the points at the Combine. He is a slashing two guard that can create, but is more of a natural scorer. Can he play some point in spot duty? Sure, but at 6-5 with a really strong frame look for Jared to play more off the ball.

3) How was his shot selection as Oregon State's best player and how much an adjustment will he need to becoming more of a role player at the next level?

He played with the ball a lot. Most of his production came from creating contact and getting to the free-throw line. The way he plays can translate to off the ball in the NBA with a floor spacer like Dirk commanding the defenses attention. It will be a transition like any other college player that was the leading scorer coming onto a winning team. Jared has the work ethic and athleticism to shape his game into a defender and a slasher off the ball.

4) It's a given that all young players struggle defensively in the NBA; how quickly do you think Cunningham's athleticism can translate to that side of the ball?

He isn't stopping Kobe or Wade, but he will be an upper level defender as a bench player. The combination of length and athleticism will allow Jared to compete with ones and twos defensively, which is the only way Jared can be considered a one. One thing to remember is that Jared is that he is not a freshman coming in - he was a junior last year, which means he is more seasoned playing defense and with his strength.

5) What do you think his ceiling is in the NBA and what would would be a reasonable expectation for Mavs fans to have in his rookie season?

An energy defender off the bench is a reasonable expectation. Jared was drafted at No. 24 not No. 4 for a reason, instant impact is not what they expect. The interesting thing is that he is in a position on the Mavericks that is not deep at the two. He will get some action and provide significant athleticism to the team. If you are looking big stats he will not be your guy, but defensively the impact will be there pretty quickly. The Mavericks drafted a very talented, underrated scorer in Jared and in time he will be able to show that.

6) So who would you say is a good comp for him?

Basement - Malcolm Lee
NBA Comp - Arron Aflalo
Ceiling - Gerald Henderson

For more of Kris' coverage of college basketball and the NBA Draft, check out NBA Draft Insider, and for more on how the Mavericks rookies are transitioning to the NBA check out the SB Nation Dallas StoryStream as well as Mavs Moneyball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.