(Photo via doublegsports.com)
A player moving quickly up the draft boards is Providence lightning quick point guard Kris Dunn. Dunn enters the draft a little older than most highly projected draft prospects at age 22 but much of that is due to struggling with injuries during his first two years at Providence. Dunn bounced back after his red shirt year to achieve back to back seasons where he was named Big East Player of the Year.
Declaring for the draft after his just completed Junior season Dunn looks to be the first point guard taken on Thursday. We take a look at Dunn’s game and tools to understand why he has shot up the boards.
2016 NBA Draft Prospect Evaluation:
Kris Dunn (22 years and 3 months old, Guard, Providence University via New London, Connecticut)
Video highlights (courtesy Too Mainey on YouTube):
Has nearly all of the physical tools you would want in a point guard. Dunn measured 6’4.25” with shoes at the NBA combine but more impressively and importantly was his length, measuring a 6’9.5” wingspan and 8’4” standing reach. The last recorded weight was 205 lbs. at the Nike Summit in 2015 but based on the eyeball test Dunn looks closer to around 220 lbs. Another huge advantage that Dunn’s physical gifts will provide is his large mitts providing greater ability to control and protect the ball.
Elite quickness, vertical explosiveness and agility. Can stop and explode and change direction without losing speed with ease. Dunn has great leaping ability which allows him to get great lift on his jump shot. Indefensible first step which will allow him to get into the teeth of defenses very easily or get space for his own shot.
Dunn didn’t take part in the speed and agility drills at the NBA Combine but much of that is due to not benefiting from his already well established reputation as an elite level athlete.
Playmaking ability/Ability to get own show:
Elite level ability to make plays. Because of the combination of great physical tools and quickness Dunn will be able to get what ever shot he wants on an NBA court or be able to set up teammates for good scoring opportunities. Dunn has an explosive first step which will allow him to get by most NBA defenders, with a screen it will be nearly impossible to contain him which will necessitate defenders to help. Dunn has shown ability to both get and finish at the rim, and pull up for mid range jumpers which will keep defenses honest.
Willing and able passer but turnover prone and questionable decision making. Dunn creates many opportunities throughout the course of a game due to his ability to get in the lane and collapse defenses, but has shown to get caught making incorrect reads or being far too aggressive at times which result in turnovers in the form of bad passes or offensive fouls. In Dunn’s last two seasons at Providence averaged 3.84 turnovers per game and a 1.78 assist to turnover ratio which is below average. Dunn ranked 12th in turnovers in the nation last season. Much of the poor decision making can be chalked up to youth and inexperience combined with a high usage rate and defenses ability to key in on Dunn.
Outside shooting ability:
Below average but improving. Dunn is far from a pure or natural shooter but has shown to be adequate. Mechanics are solid but have a bit more arm movement than you would like to see, doesn’t always get his feet set and seems to be inconsistent in his form. A bad sign about Dunn’s shooting potential is his lackluster 69.3 percent from the free throw line for his career in college.
A good sign is that Dunn shot an above average 37 percent from 3 in his final season which was an improvement from 35 percent the previous year; however, we have to keep in mind that the college 3 is about 3 feet closer than than of the NBA. Dunn didn’t take high number of 3s, averaging only 3.4 per game in his final season so it appears that most of his work will be done in the mid-range area until he develops some range with his shot.
Ability to finish:
Average. Dunn can flush the ball with the best of them due his leaping ability and quickness to beat defenders to the rim but hasn’t yet shown to have great touch around the basket which is where most of the scoring opportunities lie in the NBA. Dunn will need to develop a runner, teardrop type shot and better use of his left hand in order to improve his ability to score in the range of 5 feet.
How he will score in the NBA:
Working mainly off the dribble and getting mid-range jump shots or shots right to the basket. Will get a ton of scoring opportunity from the charity stripe. Defenses will have a hard time keeping Dunn in front of them and out of the painted area so he will elicit a ton of fouls from defenders which will provide easy scoring opportunities from the free throw line. Dunn averaged 7 free throw attempts on a per 40 minute basis last season which translates well to the NBA. Dunn currently has limited range on his shot and appears to work better off the dribble than in catch and shoot situations. Until Dunn can develop great use of his left hand and a repertoire for making shots around the basket he’ll get most of his points from the free throw line and mid-range shots he creates for himself.
All-NBA defensive potential. Dunn’s ceiling is highest from the defensive side of the ball. Has the perfect combination of length, strength and athletic ability to become an All-NBA defender at the point guard position. Dunn also competes on the defensive end and is incredibility disruptive, constantly looking to dart into passing lanes and nab steals. Dunn averaged 2.7 steals per game in his sophomore season, followed by 2.5 steals per game in his last year at Providence which ranked 5th in the nation. Only critique is that Dunn seems to play the passing lanes too much at times and can lose sight of his man which creates opportunities for uncontested dives to the basket or open jumpers from the perimeter.
Basketball IQ and intangibles:
Dunn possess great leadership ability and competes when on the court. High turnover rate and playing a bit out of control at times is concerning with a player that will require to have the ball in his hands for most of his time on the court and play the point guard position. The fact that Dunn plays at a high rate of speed even in situations that require clam brings into question his ability to recognize the correct read on offense and understanding time and place which is a concern for a player leading an offense; however, this is a small concern as it is easily correctable with experience and coaching.
Projected draft position: 3-5
Projected position in the NBA: Point Guard
Comparable NBA player: Emmanuel Mudiay