Dunn on lead vocals for Fred’s band
If given the choice, point guard Kris Dunn would rather run the court than run his mouth.
“I’m more of an action leader,” Dunn said. “I just come out and hoop. I let my play do the talking.”
But Dunn, 24, knows he needs to take on a more prominent role entering his second season in Chicago. Dunn’s top individual goal is to emerge as a vocal leader.
“Last year, I didn’t want to do too much because it was my first time being a Bull, and I didn’t want to step on any toes,” said Dunn, who spent his first NBA season with the Timberwolves.
“But coming into Year 2 as a Bull, I’ve got to understand that I’m the point guard, I’m the quarterback, and I’ve got to communicate to my guys.”
Coach Fred Hoiberg has noticed Dunn’s dedication during the preseason. Dunn averaged 13.4 points and 6.0 assists in 52 games (43 starts) last season after averaging only 3.8 points and 2.4 assists as a rookie in Minnesota.
“Kris has been outstanding,” Hoiberg said. “I give him a lot of credit. He came in here last year after a very tough rookie season and really emerged as our closer when we were playing our best stretch of basketball.
“The confidence that he was playing with was off the charts. He has carried that over into training camp. He seems a lot more comfortable in the role that he’s in with the responsibilities that come at the point-guard spot.”
One aspect of Dunn’s game that’s unlikely to change is his preference to pass to open teammates rather than dominate possessions. He’s not caught up in trying to outscore the player across from him.
“No, not at all,” Dunn said. “Just imagine playing against Steph Curry. I’m not going to try to outscore him, but I’m going to try to make it difficult for him, you know what I mean? At the same time, I’m going to be aggressive. I’m not just going to let him come down and score on me all day. I’ve got to put some pressure back on him.”
On the mend
Denzel Valentine missed his fifth and final preseason game because of a sprained left ankle.
The third-year forward had no trouble during the shootaround Friday as he cut toward the lane and rose for jump shots. But he has yet to take part in live drills and has not gone up against a defender.
Valentine’s status is uncertain for the regular-season opener Thursday on the road against the 76ers.
“He’s starting to ramp up his activity, but it’s all in one-on-none situations,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll see how he reacts to this. We’re just continuing to take it day by day with him.”
Nothing is promised, but guard Ryan Arcidiacono has made a strong case to make the roster as the Bulls prepare for final cuts.
“Ryan gave us some really good minutes last year,” Hoiberg said. “The one thing you know with Ryan is he’s going to give you great effort every minute on the floor. He’s done the same thing in our training camp.
“We love his approach. Every day, he comes to work. He pushes our guys.”
The Villanova product appeared in 24 games off the bench last season.
“COMING INTO YEAR 2 AS A BULL, I’VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND THAT I’M THE POINT GUARD, I’M THE QUARTERBACK, AND I’VE GOT TO COMMUNICATE TO MY GUYS.”KRIS DUNN, on being a leader