Jared Cunningham aims to develop point guard skills on 10-day deal with Sacramento Kings
Jared Cunningham could’ve sat idly on his hands after being cut by the Atlanta Hawks. Instead, the newest member of the Sacramento Kings continued to put in the work and stay ready for his next opportunity.
In need of some depth in their backcourt, the Kings signed the 22-year-old guard to a 10-day contract on Sunday. Cunningham comes to Sacramento with just under two years of experience under his belt after being selected 24th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. He fits the bill for what GM Pete D’Alessandro looks for in talent, an intriguing combination of length and athleticism.
Cowbell Kingdom caught up with Cunningham after his first game in Sacramento on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. The bay area native tells us about his game and how he hopes to grow into the point guard position. He also touches base on how his NBA journey has brought him to the capital city.
CK: So how did you wind up here with the Kings?
JC: I was just working out in L.A. after I got released from the Atlanta Hawks. My agent had called me a couple times and told me that the Kings were interested, but I just continued to work out. I got the call from my agent and they wanted to sign me for a 10-day so I was pretty much happy about that. Came out here and just been enjoying two victories that we’ve got in the past two days.
CK: It has to have been a whirlwind of a process for you to come to this team just a few days ago and be thrown immediately into the fire. You’ve had no practices so far, just a couple shoot-arounds since you signed with the team on Sunday.
JC: It’s kind of tough, trying to play the point guard position and learn all the plays and just get out there. It’s kind of tough. Ray’s been doing a good job running the point, helping the team get victories so I’m just playing my role and helping the team out and just enjoying this time.
CK: Do you have any existing relationships with some of the guys on the team?
JC: I’ve been knowing Rudy (Gay) for a little bit, Quincy Acy, just a couple guys, being around, just hanging around a lot. So you know, it’s a comfortable environment for me.
CK: How did you meet Rudy and Quincy?
JC: I met Quincy during pre-draft (in 2012) and we kind of kicked it off from there. I met Rudy when I was in L.A. just working out at the gym (I train at). He introduced himself to me and I talked to him for a little bit and we’ve just been cool since.
CK: Tell us about your game. What are things that you feel you do well and what are things you are focused on improving?
JC: I’d say for my game right now, it’s just my athleticism that really puts me over the top. I’d say my on-ball defense. And just I want to convert to (being) a straight point guard. I think right now, I’m a combo guard. I think a lot of teams can use that, a lot of teams like combo guards. For me, my personal goal is to be a good point guard.
CK: You mention that you want become a pure point guard. But have front office folks around the league recommended that that’s something you need to do in order to carve out a career for yourself in the NBA?
JC: They recommended it, a couple have. But they said being a combo guard can be useful too. So I just want to be able to get the point guard position down pat and just be able to play both positions really.