Bulls’ starting point-guard spot is there for Kris Dunn to take

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Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg will go through the motions once training camp starts.

After all, Kris Dunn can’t just be given the starting point-guard job.

Hoiberg wouldn’t do that in the Summer League when the question was asked about Dunn and Cameron Payne. Even with Payne expected to be out the next few months after foot surgery, Hoiberg likely won’t do that now.

Hoiberg wants Dunn to earn it.

Dunn hopes to do just that, and he believes this is the right offense for him to showcase his talents.

“I can get downhill a little more. I think it’s a quicker pace,’’ Dunn said. “I think we get into our offense a little quicker. Minnesota is a little more iso because we had a lot of talented players, but once we all learn the chemistry, get the chemistry together, I think we could be OK.’’

That wasn’t the case for Dunn in his rookie season with the Timberwolves.

In the 78 games he played for coach Tom Thibodeau, Dunn averaged 17.1 minutes and 3.8 points while shooting 37.7 percent from the field and a dismal 28.8 percent from beyond the three-point line.

Coming over in a package for Jimmy Butler in the draft-night deal that jump-started the Bulls’ rebuild, Dunn was re-energized with the change of scenery. What he doesn’t want to change, however, is the position he grew up playing.

Dunn played some shooting guard during Summer League practices, and while he’s fine flirting with the position, he’s not about to have a relationship.

“I’m a natural point guard,’’ Dunn said. “That’s what I like to do, getting guys involved. I’ve been doing that my whole life. But of course, if coach wants to put me at the two, that’s fine. I just have to get adjusted to that and become a scorer.’’

Dunn should sleep easy.

Though Hoiberg hasn’t named him the starting point guard, the competition is paper thin. Even if Payne was healthy, he has been a disaster since being acquired from the Thunder at the trade deadline.

Besides Payne, there’s Jerian Grant, David Nwaba and Ryan Arcidiacono. In other words, there really isn’t much of a position battle.

The Bulls need Dunn to win it easily, then hope his rookie blues are far behind him.

Hoiberg has been working with Dunn on his outside shot throughout the summer, trying to get the former first-round pick to find some consistency from long range. There’s no question his defense is top-notch, and he brings an edginess on that side of the floor.

For a team that has low expectations and would rather be in the top of the lottery than the bottom of the playoff seedings, Dunn seemingly is in the perfect situation.

“The other team I was with, the Timberwolves, there are so many talented players,’’ Dunn said. “This team, we’re trying to get to that level. Everybody’s trying to work hard, everybody’s trying to prove themselves. We just need to develop that chemistry.’’

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com


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