Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn’s Impressive Debut

Jul 8, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans play an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans play an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the weekend the Minnesota Timberwolves kicked off their Summer League games. New Timberwolves rookie Kris Dunn showed his potential and gave other teams regret for not drafting him earlier.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the young Timberwolves team. With the addition of Kris Dunn, most fans can not wait to see what the Timberwolves will be able to do this upcoming season.

On Friday, the Minnesota Timberwolves had their first NBA Summer League game. They took on the Denver Nuggets in Las Vegas. This was a highly touted game, as there was much debate at who the Timberwolves should draft between Kris Dunn and new Nuggets rookie Jamal Murray.

As the game started, Kris Dunn stole the show with an alley oop from second year point guard Tyus Jones.

Dunn had multiple highlight reel plays, but his crossover against Jakar Sampson received a lot of play throughout national media outlets.

Dunn ended up with 27 points, shooting 10-18, and 1-2 from three. Dunn also grabbed 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Dunn showed his strength on defense. His length allowed him to easily disrupt the other team’s guards. Most of the night Dunn was matched up against second year point guard Emmanuel Muddiay. These two had a back and forth battle all night.

Dunn played shooting guard, as Tyus Jones was slotted in as the starting point guard. Dunn showed the ability to play off the ball. The way he played he might be better off playing shooting guard until he can grow into an NBA level floor general.

Dunn’s ability to get to the rim was amazing. His quickness and length were on full display as he was blowing past defenders and able to get lay ups off on any of the bigs that were on the floor. Dunn exploited Jamal Murray’s bad defense. Murray continues to claim that he is a point guard yet does not have the quickness to keep up with point guards on the defensive side of the ball. Murray was also an easy target for Dunn on defense. Dunn was able to use his length to pick the ball away from Murray.

Dunn showed some Dwayne Wade like skills on the offensive side of the ball. Next season I could easily see Dunn coming off the bench as the second unit shooting guard while Jones plays backup point guard. I am sure they will play Dunn at backup point guard at times, but having positional flexibilty is a huge plus for Tom Thibodeau and the coaching staff.

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One of the downfalls of Dunn’s game, was his free throw shooting. Dunn shot 6-10  in Friday’s game. This will be one of the most important parts of Dunn’s game that he must improve as he has showed ease getting to the rim. He looks to be a player who will draw a lot of fouls, so this must improve.

Another thing that I noticed was that Dunn often relies on his right hand. All though he has a gorgeous handle, in most situations he tends to go to his right which will be easier for top NBA guards to expose.

Tyus Jones also had a great game Friday night. Jones has shown that he has grown a lot over the last year. From being the Most Outstanding Player on the National Champion Blue Devils, to becoming a first round pick, to the D League and back up to becoming the backup point guard on the young Timberwolves squad. Jones looked like a natural floor general. Jones had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jones knows that with the drafting of Dunn he will have to fight for minutes. He seems ready to fight.

Third year forward Adriean Payne looked like a deer lost in the headlights. Payne scored 17 points, although on a disapointing 6-20 shooting. Jones and Dunn could have eclipsed more assists if Payne was taking efficient shots. Trading a first round pick for Payne now looks like the worst personel move in Flip Saunders tenure.

Sunday night, the Timberwolves played the Toronto Raptors in Las Vegas. This was another nice point guard duel as Dunn took on second year Raptors guard Norman Powell.

Dunn scored 21 points while shooting 9-17, put together 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. Dunn showed a lot of promise again. He will be able to pull minutes from both of the backup point guard and shooting guard spots.

Next: Minnesota Timberwolves: Thibodeau's FA Strategy

Overall, Dunn looked great. Dunn plays with a high motor and extreme intensity. The Timberwolves ended up losing both games this weekend, but the games were more about getting these players some in game experience more than they were about pulling together a string of wins. Thibodeau was probably salivating in the stands watching Dunn.