Point guard Kris Dunn will soon have the Chicago Bulls running again. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Dunn out of Providence College with the fifth overall pick in 2016. Minneapolis’ harsh wintertime conditions notwithstanding, Dunn was eager to join the Timberwolves and learn from head coach Tom Thibodeau.
“I have to buy a lot of jackets. But there is a very talented, young group there. Karl Towns, shout out to him for being rookie of the year. Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine. And Thibs, being the new coach.”
Dunn played sparingly as a rookie and was shopped to teams seeking a playmaker last offseason. Consequently, the Bulls acquired Dunn, LaVine and Lauri Markkanen from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Jimmy Butler and the rights to Justin Patton in June 2017. John Paxson, Chicago’s vice president of basketball operations, deduced that the Bulls’ roster needed a facelift and he chose Dunn to serve as his floor general.
“What we’ve done tonight is set a direction,” Paxson told the Chicago Tribune following the trade.
“We’re going to do it with young players. We’re going to be disciplined and patient. These are hard things to do. We traded a guy (Butler) we really like. Tonight, we made a decision to change direction and define our path.”
Dunn, who is averaging 13.7 points, 6.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals over 37 games, has been the Bulls’ preeminent player at the season’s midpoint. Although stuck in the basement of the Central Division at 15-27, Chicago’s young sextet of Dunn, LaVine, Markkanen, Nikola Mirotić, Bobby Portis and Justin Holiday should help the organization regain its relevance in the Eastern Conference. Still, Dunn is presently the most indispensable Bull. Dunn, blessed with a 6-foot-9 wingspan and blazing lateral quickness, is a dynamic ball handler and lockdown defender who impacts both ends of the court. The two-time Big East Player of the Year also possesses explosive athleticism and keen court vision.
Dunn must increase his field goal percentage and minimize turnovers. Fortunately for Bulls fans, it’s difficult to envision that Dunn won’t mature and improve both of those aspects of his game. Furthermore, Dunn can expect Paxson to provide him with more weapons this summer. According to the Real GM, the Bulls are projected to have roughly $37.5 million in salary cap space and another lottery pick is inevitable on June 21. While things may look bleak from afar, Chicago is establishing a strong nucleus for the future.
Most encouragingly, Kris Dunn will lead the Bulls’ promising core.