The Big East is likely to have their first player drafted in the Top 5 of an NBA Draft since Georgetown’s Otto Porter went 3rd overall to the Washington Wizards in the 2013 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft 2016
While the Big East has had players drafted high in recent years, most recently Creighton’s Doug McDermott taken 11th overall in 2014, Providence hasn’t had a player taken in the NBA Draft Lottery — the first 14 picks of the First Round — since 1997 when Austin Croshere went 12th overall to the Indiana Pacers. Kris Dunn figures to change all of that on Thursday night.
Dunn is coming off back-to-back Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards and led Providence to their first NCAA Tournament win since Croshere and God Shammgod took the Friars to the Elite Eight in 1997. Here’s what you need to know about Dunn.
New London, CT
Providence College (Class of 2016 Graduate)
Turned 22 on March 18th
16.4 ppg, 6.2 apg, 5.3 rpg, 2.5 spg - 37.2% from 3PT, 41.8% assist rate, 23.2 PER
The first thing that should be mentioned about Dunn in the "Strengths" section is his physical gifts. Dunn has excellent size at 6’4.25 with a measured wingspan at the NBA Combine of 6’9.5. Those measurements put Dunn in the upper echelon of NBA point guards. He thrives in transition, which is fed largely by his abilities on the defensive end to force turnovers and take rebounds quickly up the floor. Dunn is a true lead guard who possesses elite court vision. He had a nation leading 50% assist rate during the 2014-15 season before "slipping" to 41.8% in the 2015-16 season when he was moved off the ball more frequently and asked to score the ball more without LaDontae Henton. Dunn also has a quick first step that allows him to be creative in pick and roll situations and also get to and explode at the rim. Increased spacing of the NBA game fit right into Dunn’s strengths.
Turnovers. This has been the one constant negative that has been attached to Dunn since he took over point guard duties full-time in 2014-15. The optimistic fan might say many of Dunn’s turnovers came from being forced to do too much on a team with much less talent than he figures to be running with in the NBA. There may be some truth to that notion. However, some of Dunn’s turnovers were surely the result of bad decisions. This is something he did improve on as his college career went on, but he still needs work. The other nagging area of Dunn’s game is his jump shooting. While his numbers improved and don’t look horrible, the striking thing with Dunn’s shooting is the inconsistency that breeds a 25 foot swish followed by a shot that attempts to break the backboard.
Potential Landing Spots
Most mock drafts say Dunn will be picked by the Boston Celtics with the 3rd overall pick. Other popular mock draft destinations are 4th to the Phoenix Suns — rumored to be considering trading Eric Bledsoe first — 5th to the Minnesota Timberwolves and 6th to the New Orleans Pelicans. Basically, Dunn is highly coveted and with the amount of wheeling and dealing that is likely to go on, it wouldn't surprise me to see any number of teams make a run at Dunn’s services. Gun to my head, Dunn ends up in New Orleans with the 6th overall pick.