The Bulls drafted point guard Coby White with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 draft and that meant the end of the Kris Dunn in Chicago — right? Not exactly. The former top-five pick has carved out a bench role with the club and is drawing the praise of his coaching staff.
“He just wants to win,” coach Jim Boylen said. “He’s the first guy in the breakfast room. You have to be in the building 45 minutes before [practice]. He’s in one hour, 45 minutes before. He does his workout 45 minutes before everybody else with Coach [Nate] Loenser. He is locked in. He cares. He always cared. And he’s playing winning basketball. I’m really happy for him.”
Dunn’s defense has become a real asset for the club. He leads the league with 25 steals (Ben Simmons ranks second with 23 steals despite playing 69 more minutes than Dunn) and has helped the team level out at about league average on that side of the court (Chicago was 25th on defense last season, per NBA.com).
“I take pride in my defense,” Dunn said. “The second unit, I think we have good defenders in our group. Archie [Ryan Arcidiacono], he’s a dog. Thad [Young], he’s a dog. Coby, he’s a dog. I could go on and on. We try to come in and bring great energy and try to maintain the lead or, if we’re down, try to get it back.”
Chicago had talks with several clubs over the offseason about Dunn trades. Rival teams interested included the Grizzlies (in what would have been a sign-and-trade involving Justin Holiday). Dunn heard all the rumors, but says there are no hard feelings between him and the Bulls.
“It’s a good team we have. I just wanted to be a part of it. We have a lot of talented players, a good group of guys. I wanted to buy into what Coach is preaching, buy into the system,” Dunn said. “All in all, I feel my game can go anywhere — starting, coming off the bench. Wherever you put me at, I’m a hooper.”