There’s no doubt that Kris Dunn is an incredibly fun player to watch. He and teammate Ben Bentil have been instrumental in re-establishing the Providence Friars as a strong force to be reckoned with in the Big East, and odds are that the junior from Connecticut will make the leap to the NBA after this season.
But, like any draft prospect, Dunn is a young man that teams should scout from top to bottom before simply selecting him based off of his college performance. He is talented and has a bright future, but still has a lot to learn and improve before taking the next step as an NBA star.
Let’s start with the positives. Dunn has fine size at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and is a superior athlete, so much to the point that he could probably play either the point or the 2 on the NBA level. Moreover, he is incredibly versatile. On top of his 17.1 points per game, which rank second on Providence, his seven assists per contest rank eight in the nation. If someone can create plays on top of being a fine scorer, that immediately ups their respective draft stock.
Dunn is also averaging 6.4 rebounds to go with an eye-popping 3.1 steals and is shooting 47 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from long range. The best part? Of Dunn’s 13.7 field goal attempts per game, only 3.2 come from beyond the arc. At his age, intelligent shot selection is another skill that will up his draft stock.
Unfortunately, just like the hot cheerleader who can’t do simple math, every set of pros comes with a set of cons, and Dunn has his fair share. Though his versatility does make him look like someone who should be a high draft pick, he isn’t quite there yet.
This is because Dunn, for all his strengths, also averages 3.4 turnovers per game. Over his last five games, of which Providence has won four, he is averaging 4.4 per contest. In the Friars’ most recent loss, a 65-64 stunner to Marquette, Dunn had seven turnovers as the Golden Eagles literally triple-teamed him to slow down Providence’s attack.
But turnovers are only the tip of the iceberg. Dunn’s shooting range, though slowly improving, is a concern. His mid-range shot is so raw that he’s only shooting 67 percent from the foul line, a number unacceptable for a guard. The worst part is that despite these flaws, NBADraft.net has him projected as going fourth overall to the Utah Jazz in June and is comparing him to Washington Wizards point man John Wall.
That comparison isn’t far off, as Wall is a scoring point guard who has always struggled with his jump shot and mid-to-long range shooting, but Wall also played under John Calipari at a known NBA factory in Kentucky and was the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Dunn is good, but isn’t first overall pick good. He may not even be Top 5 good, but the season still has plenty of time left and he’ll get every chance to prove just why he deserves to be picked that high.
Anyway, the facts are simple. Dunn is a phenomenal basketball talent. He can do it all and has been instrumental in turning a team around. At this rate, with the way he and his teammates are playing, Providence will get past the Round of 64 for the first time since 1997, when Pete Gillen coached the Friars to the Elite Eight.
The only mark against Dunn is that while his NBA Draft stock is high, he first needs to prove that he can be a fine NBA player and not just a great college player who fizzled out in the pros before his stock can rise any higher.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports