Kris Dunn's NBA Draft Scouting Report, Strengths/Weaknesses

Over the next couple of days I’ll be breaking down the scouting report for guys entering the NBA Draft. We’ll avoid guys like Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram since we know who they are. If there’s someone specific you want let me know @barstoolreags. All video clips are courtesy of Synergy and/or YouTube. There will be a lot of analytical stats, so yeah I know, nerd.

Previous Breakdowns:

Marquese Chriss

Kris Dunn – Providence

6’4”, 220 lbs, 22 years old

Projected: No. 5 (DraftExpress) No. 6 (NBADraft)

Compared to: Devin Harris/Jordan Clarkson (NBA Draft)

My Comparison: Jrue Holiday

Background: Kris Dunn is one of the more intriguing prospects in this Draft. A couple people – if you watched the CBS Sports Network Draft special last night, you know who – think he’s a lock for greatness and a guaranteed All-Star. He’s coming off a good, but somewhat underwhelming year, where many people thought he’d be the Buddy Hield or Denzel Valentine of college hoops. He averaged 16.4 ppg, 6.2 apg, 5.3 rpg and 2.5 steals. He’s an older player in the draft, already turning 22 but obviously is one of the bigger and longer guards.

Strengths: A couple of strengths stick out right away for Dunn and none are really all that shocking. First is his ability to distribute. He averaged about 5.5 assists per game during his career at Providence, but that’s including the year he got hurt. While he graded just average on pick-and-roll plays, he should excel in the NBA with it. Where he really found his passing strength though was out of a post up. He graded as an excellent passer out of the post, especially when the defense commits.

Taking a look at this play, something that Dunn can run in the NBA. Now, you’d want Dunn to be your primary ball handler, but he can absolutely play off the ball with the right point guard. What I like here is Cooley running an offense that is designed to get Dunn the ball in the post. He runs off the backscreen to flash ball side post, catches it and immediately surveys the floor. He sees right away there’s help under the basket and Ryan Fazekas running a shoulder cut to the top of the key and eventually ending on the same side as Dunn. Dunn makes the easy pass to an open shooter for a wide-open 3. In the NBA expect to see a lot of this play, but with Dunn backing down his defender and looking to pass out of it.

 

Another offensive skill he has that will help him in the NBA is his incredibly quick first step. Dunn was put in Iso drive sets last year about 30 possessions and he showed the ability to go each way, but graded as good going right. Here on this play against Nova, you can see the combination of his ball-handling, first step and size. After a couple hectic seconds of play, Dunn gets the ball near midcourt. Dunn uses a left to right cross to get his speed going and takes a long stride with his first step attacking the basket. Immediately his defender is stuck in concrete and reaches, giving Dunn a step into the lane. Despite a defender stepping up to help right in the restricted area, Dunn uses his size to go up and to the side of the defender and shows a nifty finish. I expect to see Dunn in this situation more than anything else in the NBA.

 

 

What really separates Dunn from the other point guards in the class though is his defense. He’s one of the best, possibly the best, on-ball defender in the Draft and this play shows it right here. He likes to use his size to body the opponent, especially with his hips. He lets the offensive player initiate the contact, before backing up for a second, knowing he has the speed to stay with other guards. Once Traci Carter open his shoulder up, it allows Dunn to use his length and quick hands to reach in and poke the ball loose. One thing Dunn likes to do is take a wide step around Carter to get to the ball, using his length here again to roll the ball toward midcourt. Once there he’s able to get control quickly and it’s off in transition, where Dunn grades as a very good player.

 

 

Weaknesses: For as good as Dunn is and can be, there are three glaring weaknesses that he has to overcome. First is how turnover-prone he can be. He turned it over nearly 4 times a game during his career at Providence and with the ball in his hand at the NBA, it will only be harder to hold onto it. He plays too fast sometimes, forcing the issue, which either leads to an out of control drive or a pass that is rushed. You can look at someone at Russell Westbrook, who is a ‘turnover-prone PG’ and see how there can be success, but obviously Dunn isn’t at the skill level of Russ. He needs to continue to make the smart play, instead of trying to force.

Second is his shooting ability. He doesn’t grade as an average player on catch and shoots and while his 3-point percentage went up from 29% as a freshman to 37% last year, he still is very inconsistent. We see in the NBA Finals, the Cavs slacking off of Harrison Barnes, daring him to shoot, the same will happen to Dunn if he doesn’t improve. On top of that in the high pick-and-roll game, teams will go under the screen, daring Dunn to shoot off the dribble, he needs to get that percentage up to 38-40% consistently.

The final part is something he can’t really work on and that’s just the fact he’s 22 and faced a ton of injuries. He struggled to get on the court his first two years at Providence and practically missed an entire season because of a shoulder injury. If he’s going to be a top-6 pick, he needs to be healthy and on the floor. On top of that being 22 is somewhat of a downfall, especially if you’re comparing him to a Jamal Murray and you get 3 extra years.

Draft Stock:  With the emphasis on longer point guards to help playing the small-ball lineup, Dunn has a clear advantage. He came back to school last year with the hope of raising his stock and he should be a top-6 pick. Some people consider him the third great player in this draft, while many think of it as just a two-person draft. If the Sixers can somehow find a way to the No. 3 pick, expect them to take Dunn there, if not I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes either to Minnesota or New Orleans.

Projection: I’m not as sold on Dunn being a star as some others, but do think he can make an immediate impact. The one thing that easily translates is defense and Dunn has the length and quickness to guard three different positions on the court. If he can learn to play off the ball more, it will give him an even better chance to play, especially somewhere like Minnesota where he can play next to Ricky Rubio and run a small-ball lineup of Rubio, Dunn, LaVine, Wiggins and Towns.

With his size, steals and need to improve shooting, there’s a lot of Jrue Holiday in him, who is also a 6’4” guard. Dunn is a better distributor, but Holiday has averaged over 6 assists per game in his career. If Dunn stays healthy he’ll have a 12-year career in the NBA and make an All-Star Game or two.