Kris Dunn thinks the ‘speed of the game is about to change’ with LaVine’s return

SHARE Kris Dunn thinks the ‘speed of the game is about to change’ with LaVine’s return
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Zach LaVine’s highly anticipated return has become an obligatory daily topic with the media, coach Fred Hoiberg and the players. It has gotten almost exhausting.

Point guard Kris Dunn can even talk about what it’s going to look like in vivid detail.

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“The speed of the game is about to change,’’ Dunn said Wednesday. “I always joke around that [LaVine] runs a 4.4 flat. He’s very fast, can get out in transition, change the pace of the game. He can shoot the ball well.

“So imagine you’re kicking it ahead in transition, and he can stop for a three. That can change the game. Imagine kicking ahead, and he just hits that three, then he hesitates and gets to the lane. He has all the ability to do that. He has the ability to change the game and [set up] others.’’

Dunn and his teammates might not have to imagine scenarios much longer.

Before the game against the Raptors, LaVine finished his fifth of six scheduled consecutive practices, the last four coming with the G League Windy City Bulls. He will complete the final hurdle Thursday with his NBA teammates.

“Zach has had some really good days,’’ Hoiberg said. “He’ll be back with us Thursday and get a good workout. The plan is to travel [this weekend to Dallas and Indianapolis], get a couple more good workouts on the trip, then when we get back, we’ll meet as a group and make the decision on when he’ll be back.’’

And then Hoiberg will have a new weapon to play with.

“He’s a very unique player,’’ Hoiberg said. “He has a tremendous skill set, very versatile skill set on offense. You can do a lot of things with him. The biggest thing that fits with us is getting out and playing in transition.

‘‘He can run the wings and finish on the break. He’s also dynamic in pick-and-roll situations. He’ll help us with our switch attack. He’s good in isolation situations. He’s really good in passing the ball when he’s been loaded on in practice, so he’s shown a really good IQ as far as when to make the on-time, on-target pass.

“It’s going to take some getting used to, obviously, with our roster. He hasn’t had a lot of practice time with our group. Our schedule does calm down a little bit after this [weekend], so we’ll get some good practice time with our guys next week.’’

Tip-ins

Cameron Payne, who had pregame shooting sessions with coaches, continues on his road back from surgery on his right foot in September. He initially was expected to miss three to four months, but his timeline for a return is closer to February.

† Lauri Markkanen’s 32-point game Dec. 29 against the Pacers made him the only Eastern Conference rookie with a 30-point outing last month.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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