2018-2019 Off the Glass Breakout Players Series: Kris Dunn
With the 2018-2019 NBA season upon us, Off the Glass is making predictions on who the breakout players from each team will be. Today we look at Kris Dunn from the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls enter the 2018-19 season with more questions than answers; just how good will the basketball be in the Windy City? There is potential for third-year guard Kris Dunn to help make the Bulls a winning team, despite the projected shortcomings that are expected for Coach Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls. Here’s why:
Dunn was a reliable scorer for the Bulls last season, averaging 13.4 points per game, while also dishing out six dimes a night. Scoring wasn’t an issue for Dunn, and I think he’ll do more this year. Dunn will have to shoot better from the floor, something he acknowledged and worked on during the offseason.
“I work on everything, but I worked on that shot a lot,” said Dunn. “To be in this league, you have to take those shots. There are going to be times when the ball rotates and I’m going to be open. You can’t be scared to shoot it. I’m very confident.”
Dunn converted 42.9 percent of his two-point field goals attempted last season, and 32 percent on three-point field goals, respectively. Better shot selection will be key for Dunn this season.
“Fred (Hoiberg) definitely helped me with my three-point shot,” said Dunn. “With body position and focusing on the rim and hand placement. Then it was on me to keep putting that work in to improve my shot. I’m trying to be a knockdown shooter one day.”
Dunn has plenty of scoring options around him in Chicago. The Bulls have perimeter threats in Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker, as well as a reliable pick and pop option in Lauri Markkanen. Getting his teammates the ball in the spots they can do the most damage in is something Dunn has sought to improve on, and entered the summer and training camp with that on his mind.
“That’s what I’m using the preseason for, to see how I fit in with everyone,” Dunn said. “You have to figure out who has it rolling, who needs the ball at certain times.”
While the Bulls were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season, Dunn was their best defender. Dunn averaged two steals per game in 52 appearances last season with Chicago. Dunn showed last season he wasn’t afraid to guard the NBA’s best, and I think he will rise to the occasion again this season. Said Dunn:
“But you have to remember: My position is one of the hardest positions to guard. There are a lot of great point guards. You have to keep them honest. I can’t facilitate the whole game because then it will put their defense at an advantage not worrying about me. There have to be times when I have to be aggressive.”
I expect Kris Dunn to be one of the Bulls most important players this season. If Dunn can be consistent on both sides of the floor, the Bulls could potentially have one of the best young two-way players in the league. Dunn has expressed wanting to improve, using the summer and training camp to find consistency with his teammates. Coach Fred Hoiberg has noticed, but expects more aggressiveness from Dunn.
“Kris has to have an aggressive mindset,” said Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg. When that’s his approach, he’ll get guys to play off of him because he’s going to force the defense to collapse.”
With Dunn’s size, he could guard three positions, something he may be asked to do this season, with LeVine and Parker being huge defensive liabilities for the Bulls. Dunn’s toughness and versatility makes him easily a fan favorite, and an emerging player to watch this season.