Chicago Bulls: When will Kris Dunn supplant Jerian Grant at point guard?

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls eventually want Kris Dunn to seize a role as a starting point guard for this team. But is he ready to take Jerian Grant‘s spot right now?

Truthfully, if you think about it, this Chicago Bulls rebuild has probably gone as well as it possibly could right now.

On one hand, the Bulls (2-6) are well on their way to finishing at the bottom of the league. And as frustrating as that is for fans, the team will only benefit in the long run as they’ll get a shot at one of the best players in the 2018 NBA Draft.

And on top of that, despite the losses, young forward Lauri Markannen has been outstanding thus far. After yesterday, this year’s seventh-overall pick ranks second among rookies both in points (16.3) and rebounds (9.0) per game.

Not bad for a guy no one wanted the Chicago Bulls to draft.

That said, I’m sure the Bulls would like to, at least, ostensibly field the best team they can right now. And part of doing that will involve deciding whether or not Jerian Grant and Kris Dunn should get the lions’ share of the minutes at point guard.

Man…I can’t help but feel a little bit bad for them. But hey, one of them has to start at point guard during this mess of a season, right? Or are we going to jump on the Kay Felder train sooner rather than later?

Anyway, for now, the majority of the point guard minutes will go to Dunn and Grant. And you know the Chicago Bulls would love for Dunn, the guard they coveted last year and finally traded for this year, to seize the job.

He’s certainly had more than a few games that had Bulls fans, myself included, wanting to give him the job immediately.

But while neither has played particularly well, it could take a bit more consistency for Dunn to overtake Grant as the starting point guard.

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Clear-cut, or choice of evils?

While Grant’s play frustrates Chicago Bulls fans to no end at times, he has offered some stability while running point.

He currently has posted 9.0 points despite an unfortunate 33.8% field goal percentage and 7.0 assists per game. To be fair, though, his 43.9% shooting on two-point shots isn’t that bad; it’s his atrocious three-point shooting (16.7%) that’s bringing down his average.

And in terms of his passing, he actually ranks ninth in the league in assists per game and fifth in assist percentage (39.4%). When he acts decisively in the pick-and-roll and attacks the basket, Grant actually does a solid job of making plays.

Now, if only he did that all the time. Despite his reasonable production as a starter,  he’s not a great floor general and pounds the ball way too much.

Of late, Dunn has given the Chicago Bulls plenty of reason to consider him as an alternative.

In fact, from a scoring standpoint, one could make the argument that he’s been more impressive in his limited time than Grant has.

He’s averaging 8.5 points a game despite averaging almost six fewer minutes, for one thing. As such, his points per 36 possessions is about two points higher than the same stat for Grant. Dunn’s effective field goal percentage is also comparatively (39.3% vs. 36.9% for Grant).

If Dunn weren’t shooting abysmally from the free throw line, he’d probably have a better true shooting percentage, too (Grant-46.3%, Dunn-39.6%).

But while he offers some scoring ability and plays aggressive defense, he simply turns the ball over way too much right now.

Dunn currently boasts an insane 4.3 turnovers per game while averaging 3.3 assists. That gives him a horrifying 0.77 assist-to-turnover ratio. If you’re going to run an offense, you simply can’t have that.

Grant might not look spectacular, but it’s hard to argue that he’s not vastly outperforming Dunn in that department (7.0 assists/1.5 turnovers = 4.67 ratio).

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In the long term, Dunn’s upside as an athletic scorer and solid defender make him more intriguing than Grant. And with some of the flashes he’s shown of late, his ascension might right around the corner.

But for now, it simply isn’t a given that it’s better to replace Grant with Dunn now. Grant might have flaws, but perhaps Fred Hoiberg may value his steadiness over Dunn’s mixed bag. The offense can’t score if they can’t keep the ball, after all.

The next week or two might make things a bit clearer going forward. Maybe sooner rather than later, it will be time for Dunn to assume the mantle the Chicago Bulls had planned for him all along.