There’s ample anecdotal evidence that Chicago Bulls point guard Kris Dunn is an elite defender. In a season marked by inconsistencies on the offensive end of the floor, his defense was what earned him the starting job at his position.
Thanks to the mathematical wizardry of Stephen Shea over at BasketballAnalyticsBook.com, we have a new, shiny stat to visualize just how good Dunn is on that side of the ball. Shea developed a statistic called Perimeter Defense Rating which is an approximation of a player’s production as a perimeter defender. Here is how he calculated the numbers.
For our calculations, we used steals, blocks, deflections, loose-balls gathered, defensive rebounds, opponents’ FG% on shots within 6 feet, individual defensive ratings (as calculated by NBA.com), pace, minutes played, opponents’ FGA within 6 feet, and 3-point shots contested.
Defensive rating is adjusted first for how well the player rated according to other stats. A player that rated well on the individual metrics would see a bigger boost from a good DRtg than one that did not rate well on the other individual defensive stats.
And after draining your brain performing all those fun calculations, here are the results.
2017-18 Defense Ratings are in. Oladipo is the top perimeter defender, Gobert is the top interior defender, and AD is the top overall defender (min. 1000 MP) https://t.co/wZPODcgcMS pic.twitter.com/rjbXexusDp— Steve Shea (@SteveShea33) April 19, 2018
Look at Dunn sitting pretty at No. 6 on the left-hand side of the column. At 6-foot-4-inches tall, Dunn has a remarkable 7-foot wingspan while also possessing good athletic tools which all help him on this side of the ball. What also separates him is his activity and energy as he consistently pressures opponents as soon as they cross the half-court line.
Monk can't bring the ball up against Kris Dunn. Really impressive defense. pic.twitter.com/8E2CsLhmaq— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) November 18, 2017
Dunn is a smart defender who also has good instincts on that side of the floor. He averaged 2.5 steals per 36 minutes, which was fourth in the NBA among players who played at least 200 minutes last season.
Most importantly, Dunn’s defensive prowess theoretically allows the Bulls to pair him with the more defensively challenged Zach LaVine in the backcourt of the future. In practice, that hasn’t worked out so well as the two had a defensive rating of 117.9 when paired together on the floor last season. The Bulls defense was bad overall, so that number is also a product of the other three players around them usually not being good defenders either.
On a team that finished 28th in the NBA in defensive rating (109.1), the Bulls need all the help they can get on that side of the floor. Having Dunn ensures they are set at one defensive position.