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Dante Cunningham learns stern lesson about playing for Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich, Dante Cunningham

San Antonio Spurs forward Dante Cunningham may be a veteran in this league, but the 6-foot-8 bruiser learned a stern lesson about playing for Gregg Popovich. Truth be told, Cunningham apparently learned it the hard way, per Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News.

Dante Cunningham learned an important lesson during one of his first practices with the Spurs.

“Nobody talks when Pop talks,” he said. “You don’t want to be that guy. I think today I said something kind of a little late, and he kind of just looked over at me, (and I was like), ‘My bad, my bad.’”

Popovich has always been known as a hard-nosed, no-nonsense coach, bearing similarities to Cunningham’s style of game. The nine-year vet out of Villanova takes pride in his defense and toughness, qualities that his new Spurs teammates appreciate the most.

“Guys like Dante Cunningham are sometimes more important than a lot of top-paid guys you have on your team,” Spurs All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan said. “They keep a locker room together. They keep a team together. They go out there and do all the dirty work that a lot of guys would not do. It’s great when you have that type of player on your team because you can feed off their energy.”

Aside from his defense, Cunningham also brings in consistent perimeter shooting, a part of his game that he has drastically improved over the years. He shot 38% from beyond the arc for the Brooklyn Nets last season, making him a quality 3-and-D player for the new-look Spurs.