How Good Is Providence's Kris Dunn?
"Kris Dunn is unreal."
That's exactly what I found myself saying as I watched Dunn and his Providence Friars play against DePaul on Thursday afternoon. I watched Dunn play earlier this season, and I was impressed. But, on Thursday, it took Dunn just one half of play to create this box score, and for me to fall in love with his game.
And if you thought that was good, Dunn finished the game (having played 37 minutes) with a total of 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-4 from the three point line and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. He also tallied a total of 11 assists, 13 rebounds and 3 steals on his way to the ninth triple-double in Friars history.
Now, I know it's pretty easy math, but to put that into perspective -- Dunn scored 17 points in the second half, missed only one field goal, went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe while contributing 4 more assists, 4 more rebounds and 2 more steals.
That's a near perfect half of basketball if I've ever seen one. And if it weren't for his 3 turnovers in the second half, it would've been even better. But that's just what Kris Dunn does game in and game out. He fills up the stat sheet and plays his game.
Dunn's best attribute isn't his ability to break down defenses off the dribble. It isn't his ability to find open teammates for easy shots. It isn't even his ability to rebound over smaller guards. The point guard's best skill is between his ears.
Dunn is smart. While you may say, "Well, he could cut down on the turnovers a little" -- and you'd be right to -- that's not the kind of smart I'm talking about. What I am talking about is Dunn's great ability to play to his strengths while accepting his weaknesses for what they are.
Weakness Into Strength
All I've done so far is say how good Kris Dunn is. But, he's just a sophomore and his game has its flaws. Dunn needs to take better care of the ball. He's averaging 4.1 turnovers per contest -- the highest mark on his team by far -- and has the second-highest turnover percentage on his team at 23%.
But, the turnovers might just come with his style of play and what he is asked to do for his team. Dunn has the second-highest usage rate on the team (27.9%). and he is asked to do a large part of the playmaking. He assists on 49.9% of his teammates' field goals while he's on the floor -- which leads the nation! -- and is fourth in the nation in total assists (156). Yes, Dunn could definitely improve in the turnover area, but it might just be the nature of the beast -- or the playmaker in this case.
However, Dunn knows that this is a weakness, and he doesn't try to be the type of shooter he's not. He takes just two three-pointers per game, which makes up just over 18% of his field goal attempts per game. Instead, Dunn plays to his strengths -- drives and mid-range jumpers. Dunn shoots 53% from inside the three point arc and averages over nine attempts from that area of the floor per outing.
Putting It All Together
Dunn's picky shot selection has helped him to a true shooting percentage of 56% and an effective field goal percentage of 52%. He shoots efficiently and, therefore, plays an efficient game. Dunn has earned an offensive efficiency rating of 106.8 and a player efficiency rating of 25.6. But he also excels on the defensive end of the floor.
Dunn leads the Friars with a defensive rating of 92.3. His length and size at just 6'3" aggravates opposing guards. That's why Dunn is 10th in the nation in total steals with 52 and 11th in the nation in steals per game with 2.5 thefts a game.
Kris Dunn can just about do it all. He can be a playmaker for his teammates, he can create scoring opportunities for himself, and he can drive opposing guards nuts with his defense. Dunn knows that he can do all these things, but more importantly, he knows his limits. He plays to his strengths, which have no limit.
So, to answer my question, Kris Dunn is really good. He's one of the best players in the country. But with his skillset, there's really no telling how good Dunn will be by the end of his sophomore season -- let alone the end of his collegiate career.