Asked about Cunningham’s evolution, McMillan’s first words were: "I love his game."
"I think he plays winning basketball because of the way he plays," McMillan said. "He’s not afraid to mix it up and guard. He’s not starstruck. He’s not intimidated by anybody."
Out of all of the surprises in Cunningham’s game, his footwork and shot selection top the list. But it his fearless playing style that drew the most praise from McMillan.
Portland’s coach said most young NBA players are in awe of the league’s brightest stars. Asked to guard a big-name All-Star such as Denver forward Carmelo Anthony, and a normal rookie will not just back down — they will back away. Up-and-coming athletes are more concerned with making summertime friends and bowing to power, McMillan said, rather than playing the game as it should be played.
When Portland asked the ex-Wildcat to take on San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Kaman and Boston’s Rasheed Wallace in succession, Cunningham delivered.
"He will go at the best player, even on his own team," McMillan said. "I’ve seen him switch out on Brandon (Roy), and try and get down and guard Brandon as a rookie."
(More Dante interview details here)