Chicago Bulls: Kris Dunn becoming the player Bulls wanted

Chicago Bulls (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls and their fans should feel good about what they’ve been getting from Kris Dunn this season.

It has taken some time for Kris Dunn to get his bearings with the Chicago Bulls, and there’s plenty of development left to go.

But as the last few weeks have shown, the second-year point guard is morphing into the kind of player the Bulls coveted last year and finally traded for this year.

So far in this young season, Dunn is averaging 12.0 points, 4.2 assists and 4.7 assists per game. In particular, he has had a very strong last two games, posting his two most efficient scoring nights of the year.

At Phoenix, he dropped 24 points on 62.5% shooting with five rebounds and a season-high eight assists.

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And in last night’s loss 111-110 loss to the Denner Nuggets, he poured in 19 points on 9-of-11 from the field (81.8%), adding five assists and rebounds apiece. If Justin Holiday and the rest of the Bulls weren’t so bad at defense, he might’ve won the game for them with this drive to the basket.

Also, perhaps most encouraging, Dunn only had one turnover yesterday, something he’s struggled with all season.

Of course, we’d like to see this performance over a larger sample size. However, Dunn’s body of work this year tells us one thing for sure: he has the makings of a pretty good basketball player. And the Chicago Bulls have to be happy with the strides he’s made in his sophomore season.

Offensive improvement key to future

While the Bulls must be impressed with his defense (he’s averaging two steals a game), his offensive development speaks volumes thus far.

His field goal percentage is up to 43.9% from 37.3% last year, thanks especially to his improved three-point shot. Remember: he came into this year just under 29% from deep for his career. As such, the fact that he’s shooting 43.2% from three seems like a minor miracle. He’ll likely regress some, but his confidence in the shot has clearly grown.

In general, his jump-shooting his improved markedly, not just on threes. His pull-up game has gotten a bit better (37.1% in 2017 vs. 33.6% in 2016), and his short-range jumper (>10 feet) has straight up become a weapon (56.6% in 2017 vs. 46.6% in 2016) when he penetrates into the lane.

Now, if he can just make free throws (still only 63%), improve his handle and not throw the ball away, that’d be awesome.

But regardless, giving Dunn the opportunity to start appears to be paying off for the Chicago Bulls. He’s not just holding his own, the way it always felt with Jerian Grant. He’s showing that he has the ability to be a true lead guard. At this point, he just has to show it consistently.

And if last night told us anything, it’s that he’s not afraid to make plays in crunch time either.

Next: Why Kris Dunn could break out with Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have a long year ahead of them, but it will seem less vain if Dunn continues to play well. At the very least, I think the Bulls can start to look with more optimism upon his future as the potential top dog at point guard.