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2016 Draft Prospect Preview: Kris Dunn is special, but doesn't make sense for the Suns

Kris Dunn is a special point guard prospect.

In his senior season at Providence, the 22-year-old averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from three.

He's explosive, flashy and might have the best all-around upside of anyone in the draft. On the flip side, Dunn is far too out of control on both ends to be in the conversation for the top three of the draft and how much more he can grow as a senior is another legitimate concern.

Is that worth the Suns adding another point guard? Let's dive in and find out.

Westbrook 2.0?

I doubt I'm going to see someone like Russell Westbrook again in my lifetime, but you can't help but see the similarities when watching Dunn.

Dunn is an uber-athletic 6'4" 220-pound lightning strike of a point guard. He plays at an electric pace, can get to the rim at will, tries to do too much, shoots more than he should and playing like a maniac on D limits how good he can really be on that end.

To address something I've seen in the comments the past month or so: Dunn is not Archie Goodwin 2.0. He's a much better athlete, point guard, shooter and scorer.

He compares much better to Westbrook, but that's got more to do with his flaws than anything else.


Dunn's athleticism, handle and court vision make him an absolute nightmare to come up against in transition. He rebounds well for a guard and can start the break himself. There's no need to go on because the clips do the talking (apologies if video clips aren't your thing. Dunn's game needs video for it to really shine so I went heavy on this profile).

It's difficult to see a way that Dunn isn't a showstopper in transition at the NBA level. The best parts of his game all come together at full speed and it makes him a threat opponents worry about every time they miss a shot.


One of the best things about Dunn as a prospect is that despite his flaws, he's a fine player when he's playing at a level pace.

He has phenomenal floor sense and can make just about any pass possible. This gets him into trouble sometimes, but it's a positive in the end.

All those clips were against some of the best teams in college basketball last season and Dunn was able to continuously break them down with advanced passes.

Ball screens

With any college guard, it's important to see how they play with ball screens.

As expected, Dunn handled it well.

The help defense and bigs are going to be much better, but Dunn's athleticism and court sense are at such a high level that it shouldn't downgrade him much when he plays against the best.

Creating his own offense

One of the most underrated aspects of Dunn's game is creating his own offense. His speed and handle are lethal enough to create space and he shows enough touch from those areas to be a good scoring point guard.

All three of these buckets were in a clutch situation against a better team and he simply took over the game. It's hard to watch him consistently shine like this against better competition and not see him succeeding.

Finishing at the rim

At this point, you're probably wondering what's wrong with Dunn.

Well, the best way to describe it is that his strengths are his weaknesses.

Dunn can get to the rim and finish as you saw in the earlier clip, and sometimes he breaks down the defense so bad on his own that he doesn't even meet someone at the rim.

That clip above is what could make Dunn special. When he makes his offensive game a little less hectic and just glides through a defense, it's the final stage of what he could be on offense.

The problem for Dunn is that he's one of those players that doesn't have great touch around the rim and tends to avoid contact. He's not necessarily fearless attacking defenders at the rim and his touch doesn't do him any favors. If a tank was under the rim, Westbrook would try and dunk on it and absorb contact for the and-one. That's not who Dunn is.

According to Draft Express, Dunn had one of the worst FG%'s at the rim in 2014, shooting only 46 percent.

That's not good, and some of the major appeal of a player like Dunn is getting to the rack.


Dunn is not the next Westbrook or Charles Barkley from three to take a ridiculous amount of shots from there despite continuously being a poor shooter. He shot 37 percent on 3.4 attempts this season and 35.1 percent on 2.3 attempts last season after not shooting them at all his first two years in school. That's real progression, and it shows.

This is not to say, however, that Dunn is a solid shooter.

He has inconsistent mechanics and if there's something to make him do, it's shoot.

The hope is with the improvement shown in his college career, he can become a reliable 3-point shooter, similar to what happened with Jeff Teague.

He's never going to shoot it at over 38 percent, but if can hover around league average, that's a win. Shots like the jab step pull are the ones that get you excited. If he's making them in rhythm, that's all you need.

Shot selection and decision-making

Now it gets ugly.

Dunn does a lot of stupid things with the basketball in his hands. As a 22-year-old senior, that's not great, Bob.

It happens enough for it to be a serious problem. How much teams trust him as their point guard will determine where he goes in the draft. I truly believe that if he limited his mistakes on both ends he'd be the No. 1 player in the draft, but he still hasn't as a senior, and that's very worrisome.

Defensive potential

The biggest wildcard for Dunn is going to be defense.

To put it simply; if he gets his head right and really focuses on that end, he could be a multiple time All-Defense player.

If other parts of his game are erratic and inconsistent, anything at or slightly below that level on defense would be monumental for his value.

The problem is, it's tough to see that consistency.

Is that James Harden?

Like the mistakes with the ball, these happen enough for it to be a glaring problem.

The potential, however, is most certainly there and he has some of the highest defensive upside in the draft.

Flashing the help on the inside and still being quick enough to not only recover on your own man, but catch the ball and then save it as well is another "holy moly this kid is special" moment that leads to his glorious work in transition.

Conclusion and fit in Phoenix

With the Suns' first round selection, someone like Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Dragan Bender, Jaylen Brown, Timothe Luwawu or Henry Ellenson will be available to fill more direct needs.

Even with Bledsoe's surgeries, the Suns are locked into his contract and Brandon Knight's as well. Taking an insurance pick this high doesn't make sense at all from a value standpoint. Even if the Suns want a point guard, there are better times to do it.

The Suns are in a great spot to get one in this draft. Players like Demetrius Jackson and Tyler Ulis should be available at the end of the lottery, while other prospects like Dejounte Murray, Melo Trimble and Gary Payton II could be selected at the end of the first round and the beginning of the second round.

I love Dunn, but unless Ryan McDonough thinks he's by far the best prospect outside the top 3, it doesn't make much sense.

Dunn seems like the ultimate "get drafted by the right team" guy. If he goes to a team where he doesn't have his decision-making and defense corralled, it's tough to see how he's anything more than a change of pace guard off the bench.

If he lands on the team with the right organizational fit and coach that can correct his flaws, however, he's the best player in the class. That's got to be tantalizing for Suns fans to hear with the relationship Earl Watson and Devin Booker seem to have, but unless Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are gone, the Suns should look elsewhere.

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