Dennis Smith will likely always be linked to the Bulls, as he went 2 picks after they selected Lauri Markkanen at #7 in the 2017 draft. And while I’m no draftnik, those who are seemed to form a consensus in that Smith would’ve been the better selection, or at the very least the kind of selection the Bulls should’ve made: a dynamic lead guard with a high ceiling.
And though Markkanen was unavailable due to injury, it may be instead Kris Dunn who gets the comparison to Dunn, as it was the Bulls acquisition of Dunn that same draft night that kept them from drafting another PG like Smith.
On Wednesday night in the Bulls 2nd preseason game (and a preseason back-to-back for the Bulls, which is just cruel to all involved) Dunn and Smith matched up like they did on the first game of Summer League. Dunn was a mixed bag in that one, and similarly was so here...with ‘mixed’ trending late into outright ‘bad’.
Young lotto PG matchup:— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 5, 2017
Dennis Smith Jr.: 14 pts, 5-9 FG, 3 asst, 4 TO in 18 min
Kris Dunn: 2 pts, 1-9 FG, 4 reb, 6 asst, 2 TO in 20 min
(note on the ‘young’ description: Smith is 3.75 years younger than Dunn)
Dunn’s only bucket was ironically blowing by Smith for a layup, but he missed every jump shot, 4 of them taken at or farther than 21 feet away, yet none were from 3-point distance. It got to the point where he lost confidence in even shooting.
Dunn did have a couple nice plays with the ball, including this look-ahead to Valentine early in the game:
And Dunn also showed some of his on-ball defensive prowess, especially one play where he was isolated and made a defensive stand to end a period. He got lost a couple times off-ball, but honestly I have such low expectations for the team defensive scheme this year (Hoiberg couldn’t get one down disciplined with Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson) it’ll be tough to get any defensive positives gleaned for individuals beyond chasedown blocks.
And while Dunn further showed his defensive ability further in this second half sequence, it also showed his own carelessness with the ball.
If you want to pine away, you can watch Smith’s highlights here. Jerian Grant wasn’t much better in this game, but certainly doesn’t appear to have lost any ground in this preseason’s starting PG competition.