Dunn happy to showcase his skills during Bulls' win streak
Earlier this season, Kris Dunn talked about feeling embarrassed last year when family members would attend games in Minnesota and he barely played.
That may explain why, when the Bulls celebrated their comeback victory over Philadelphia, Dunn gestured to someone in the stands, looking like a kid who had just scored his first basket in a youth game.
Dunn confirmed he was looking at his father, John Seldon, who has been in town helping celebrate Dunn's arrival as a legitimate NBA player, as well as the Bulls' surprising six-game win streak.
"He was definitely in the crowd, making some noise," Dunn said Tuesday at the Advocate Center. "Special to see that.
"My dad has been to all my games this past week. (He) drove up to Milwaukee. Shows the care he has for me. He's a great father; always has been as soon as he came in my life for me and my brother. It's special to play in front of him."
Dunn's story has been told before. When he was a year old, his mom took Dunn and older brother John to Alexandria, Va., and for several years, the boys' father didn't know where they were. At times, their mother was in jail and boys took care of themselves, trying to avoid being put into an orphanage or foster home.
Eventually, their dad was able to track them down and bring them back to his home in Connecticut, where Kris became a high school basketball and football star.
The modern part of Dunn's life story is even more well-known. Chosen with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft, Dunn barely played as a rookie in Minnesota for former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Dunn was sent to the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler trade and got off to a slow start here.
But over the past 10 games, Dunn has blossomed. While Nikola Mirotic's return from injury was the spark for the six-game win streak, Dunn has been the engine driving the Bulls' success.
"We kept staying positive throughout the losing," Dunn said. "When you keep staying positive, good things will happen."
The final minutes of Monday's victory over the 76ers contained a variety of Dunn highlights. With 2:46 left, he pushed the ball upcourt after a Mirotic blocked shot, pulled up and swished a 3-pointer that tied the score. This was after going 0-for-10 from 3-point range in the previous five games. Dunn went 2-for-2 in Monday's win.
"To have the confidence to rise up and tie the game (with a 3-pointer) shows you the type of player that he can be, just because of his confidence and his swagger," coach Fred Hoiberg said.
About a minute later, Dunn spun in the lane and hit a 10-foot jumper to put the Bulls up by 5. The game's clinching basket came when he drove again and fired a pass out to Mirotic, who buried a 3-pointer with 42.4 seconds left in the game.
Dunn's rapid improvement can be traced to a few personal habits. He believes in studying film and he spent time trying to correct his shooting form.
"Yeah I think it's important to figure out what works for you," Dunn said. "I think the coaching staff, they do a good job of figuring out what's my game, what's my role. I watch a lot of film, I think studying a lot of film and learning about yourself helps improve your game. That's what I try to do."
Hoiberg said Dunn studies game tape on his own at home, then will come to the practice facility the next morning and watch again with a coach.
His outside shooting was thought to be a weakness in his game, but even that has come around. He's shooting 38.6 percent from 3-point range this season, well above his 28.8 percent as a rookie.
"Keeping the ball up high, keeping the ball away from me," Dunn said when asked what changes he made. "I tend to shoot from my chest."
Given the choice, Dunn said he'd prefer to make a great pass than hit a clutch shot.
"I like to see other players show emotion," he said. "I'm an emotional player, and their passion shows that they care about the game and care about winning."
The tankless turnaroundThe Bulls went from a 10-game losing streak to winning six in a row with the return of Nikola Mirotic. Although Mirotic is averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and making 51.9 percent of his shots, there are some other numbers that have changed drastically:
Losing Winning streak streak
Points per game 96.8 111.0
Opp FG pct. .480 .449
Defensive rating 112.4 99.6
3-pointers attempted 32.2 23.2
Points in paint 38.0 45.0
Top scorer Markkanen 13.7 Mirotic 20.3
FG pct. leader Lopez .551 Nwaba .605
Bobby Portis points 10.6 15.0
Kris Dunn assists 5.2 7.5
Defensive rating: Points allowed per 100 possessions.