By: Alex Berg
Since I’ve basically been appointed the unofficial president of the “Kris Dunn is the devil” fan club, I should get this out of the way: I do not hate Kris Dunn. In fact, I think he could be a very good player in the NBA. I actually love him as a backup to Ricky Rubio.
The key word there is backup. If what was said by both Dunn and the Timberwolves front office last night is genuine and Dunn was brought in to be Rubio’s backup, I’m all-in. His skillset is so similar to Rubio’s, they could be a great combination and the days of the Wolves being a mess on both ends of the floor with Rubio off the floor should be over now. Like Rubio, Dunn has great length that makes him a good defender. Also like Rubio, he doesn’t shoot incredibly well. 37 percent in college isn’t outstanding, and his 65 percent clip at the free-throw line leaves a lot to be desired. The one offensive skill he has over Rubio is he is much better finisher, however his layups in the Big East could easily translate to misses or empty trips at the free-throw line in the NBA. With all of that being said, I still like the idea of keeping both Rubio and Dunn -- at least for a couple years. I see the point guard position like the quarterback in the NFL and I think the most successful teams find a backup quarterback that mirrors its starting quarterback, that’s what Dunn could be to Rubio.
Not only does Dunn fit well with Rubio because of his skillset, but the two also fit very well financially. Rubio has three years left on his 4-year, $55 million dollar contract, which means the Wolves will be paying its three point guards -- including Dunn and Tyus Jones -- about $20 million combined per year for the next three seasons. Considering the lucrative contracts that will be coming this summer and next, that price for the three will look like an absolute bargain.
Assuming the Wolves can play Dunn and Rubio together in small stints -- only 3-4 minutes per half -- I’m not worried about finding enough minutes for everybody either. Between the one and two guard spots right now, I think you can pencil in Rubio, Dunn and LaVine to play about 90 minutes per game. The remaining six minutes could either go to Jones or Andrew Wiggins, if the team wants to play a little bigger in certain matchups.
So, all in all, if the team truly plans on keeping Dunn and Rubio, I’m fine with the selection. I think I would have preferred to trade the pick to Philadelphia. I also would have preferred picking Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray, but I’ve been way off about drafts before, so I’m willing to give this time.
Here’s to holding hope that the Wolves enter next season with Rubio in the starting lineup and a bench anchored by Dunn and at least a veteran free agents.