Bulls’ Kris Dunn has eyes on All-Defensive Team after shutting down Trae Young again
Kris Dunn played the role of disruptor once again, thwarting Atlanta Hawks star point guard Trae Young from becoming the star of the show, a performance that could help his All-Defensive Team aspirations. The Chicago Bulls point man helped limit Young to 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting along with a game-high 13 assists that came with seven turnovers in a 136-102 blowout.
Dunn was key in shutting Young down in an earlier matchup this season, and the Bulls guard once again set the tone with smothering on-ball defense that kept the Hawks off balance. Dunn was feeling pleased with his performance, asking the postgame reporter if he was deserving of an All-Defensive Team nod before acknowledging his goal:
“All jokes aside, that’s one of my goals,” he said, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “It’s always going to be one of my goals until I get on there.”
Dunn finished with three steals on Wednesday, the 10th time in 26 games he has managed that output. He has 51 steals on the season, the second-most among all NBA players. Dunn is now the fastest Bulls player to 50 steals in a season since Michael Jordan did it in his first 22 games in 1995-96, according to the team.
Dunn is very confident in his abilities on that end of the floor:
“I feel like I’m a top defender in this league,” Dunn said. “I take pride in it. And I should. You can be selfish on the defensive end but still be fundamentally sound within the team.”
Dunn has had to carve out his niche on this team after being relegated to backup point guard duties to start the season, and he has started with the defensive skills that got him into the league. Dunn has coupled his 7-foot wingspan with his quickness and timely reaction, becoming a true nightmare for opposing guards, something Zach LaVine has noticed:
“He’s a ballhawk,” said teammate Zach LaVine. “The last five games, he’s been holding his opponent five or six points under his average. He’s going to make it tough on them. I think the dude can mess around and be a first-team All-Defensive player, a second-team All-Defensive Player. But we’ve just got to get the wins to do it. I’ve said that from the get-go. Everybody eats off of winning. The more we start winning, the more recognition the team and the individual will start getting.”
It’s tough to envision a player with roughly 22 minutes per game of playing time getting All-Defensive Team consideration, but if he stays among the top thieves in the league, the writers who vote for the awards at season’s end will have no choice but to take notice of his impact on the floor.