The comeback game for Kris Dunn is still undecided on.
New Bulls coach Jim Boylen said on Thursday that Dunn’s injured left knee allowed him to once again have a full-contact practice with the team, but there was still no full promise to march him out there against Oklahoma City.
Then again, if it is against Russell Westbrook at the United Center on Friday night, this is just as much an audition for Dunn as it is a return to the court.
The Bulls can extend Dunn off his rookie contract after this season, committing to the 6-foot-4 highly athletic point guard as a key piece in the rebuild.
The front office has gone out of its way to insist how much they like Dunn, but words haven’t exactly matched actions.
They brought point guard Trae Young into the Advocate Center before the June draft for a private workout, and the Sun-Times reported that on the night of the draft, the war room was just that, as the Bulls were going back and forth on either big man Wendell Carter Jr. or point guard Collin Sexton.
Carter won out, with the Bulls again insisting Dunn was the guy.
Basically, the equivalent of being in a serious relationship, but still swiping right a couple of times on the dating app … just in case.
“I envision him being a top defender in the league, a guy that can dominate his matchup at the defensive end,’’ Boylen said, when asked what he believes Dunn can be for the Bulls. “I envision him being a downhill, attack-mode point guard. And I envision him being a closer, which at times last year he closed for us with his play-making and his ability to get downhill, so that’s what I hope.
“He had a serious injury and it’s going to take some time. We talked about being war-dogs on the road. He’s a guy that can be a war-dog for us.’’
Basically, be the player he was last December and into January, before a freak accident at the rim ended up with Dunn failing on his face and again being sidelined.
Before that fall, Dunn averaged 14.9 points and 8.0 assists per game through the month of December, and then in the nine games he did play in January, was at 14.7 points and 7.4 assists.
It was that play-making and the assist numbers that really had the Bulls excited.
Yes, they want a scoring point guard on the offensive end because that’s the nature of the position these days, but with Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen more than capable scorers, they want a play-maker first.
That’s why they were so enamored by Young.
Yes, Young has the ridiculous shooting range, but it’s his court vision and play-making that led to the Bulls making him must-see in the workout process.
The one intangible Dunn has that can’t be overlooked, however, is his toughness. The former high school football player has a fearlessness about him that Boylen is demanding of his roster.
Maybe if Dunn wouldn’t have messed up his knee in his season debut back on Oct. 22, Fred Hoiberg would still have a coaching gig, especially with VP of basketball John Paxson citing a lack of “spirit and energy’’ as a reason why Hoiberg was let go.
Dunn oozes with spirit and energy.
“When it comes to toughness, I think you’re born with it,’’ Dunn said of the topic. “Either you got it or you don’t.’’
Dunn has it, but how much do the Bulls want to commit to it?
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