One of the byproducts of the Bulls having no good players is that there’s seemingly a competition for every role on the team*. One of the main ones is the point guard spot. While Kris Dunn is heralded (pretty much exclusively by the Bulls) and part of the Butler trade haul, Jerian Grant is the incumbent and got the first crack at the job in Tuesday night’s opener.
*(except for Robin Lopez, I guess? I find it weird that he’s considered a ‘made guy’ and yet Nikola Mirotic instead is shuffling in and out of the starting lineup, though the latter just re-signed to a $12.5m contract)
Grant finished with 11 points and nine assists, hit a pair of 3-pointers, grabbed a steal and finished an outstanding three-point play in the third quarter. He was a team-best +15 and had just one turnover in 20 minutes. Dunn, on the other hand, made a few careless turnovers (three in 22 minutes) and struggled defensively until late in the game in essentially mop-up time. His basketball savvy is apparent, and he has the size to compete, but he still hasn’t put it all together. He had 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting thanks to a late surge, and he added three assists.
Grant had an abysmal playoffs against the Celtics last year, and it kind of overshadowed what was actually a pretty decent year. He fit well in a role alongside ball-dominant teammates where he didn’t have to do much but shoot.
Random discovery - The 2 most improved 3-point shooters last season (min. 100 3PA) were related. pic.twitter.com/ydU5tOvVua— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) October 2, 2017
He’ll have to take on more of a playmaking role this season, obviously. 9 assists in 19 minutes is pretty good.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t like Dunn was bad.
Nate Duncan: Kris Dunn actually had some encouraging moments tonight, threw some nice passes, hit a confident 3.
Will Gottlieb: and a hawk on D. Needs to reel in the handle on PnR, he nearly turned it over a few times on top of the 3 TOs he had. But yeah, good game
Here was that ‘hawk’ in action:
Kris Dunn looking like a safety on the hardwood as the Bulls reach the century mark! pic.twitter.com/CKkGHM1U2M— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) October 4, 2017
And he took over the Dwyane Wade role in having a lob to Cristiano Felicio. Or was this a partially blocked shot?
Dunn will get the starters role tonight in Dallas.
And finally, here’s a fond look at Bulls (and Bulls media) favorite Rajon Rondo.
Rondo delivering a peak current Rondo line of 5 points, 8 assists, 2/7 shooting, -18. Gonna miss it!— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) October 4, 2017
But he probably led the hell out of everyone on the court, maybe even Jerian Grant. Thanks Rondo!