Tomas Satoransky beats out Kris Dunn, will be Bulls’ starting point guard
Not that it came as much of a surprise Wednesday, but coach Jim Boylen will go with Satoransky in his starting lineup, and Kris Dunn will come off the bench.
The worst-kept secret of training camp was made public Wednesday when coach Jim Boylen finally announced his starting point guard.
The Tomas Satoransky era officially has begun.
Satoransky, who was acquired in a sign-and-trade deal July 7 with the Wizards, will join Zach LaVine in the starting backcourt when the Bulls open the regular season next Wednesday in Charlotte. Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. will make up the starting frontcourt.
“I love the way [Satoransky] throws the ball ahead,’’ Boylen said. “I love his command of our offense already. He’s obviously a terrific shooter. He can play off those guys, he can play on the ball and create space. He and I have a real good connection, and he’s got a really good feel, and I feel confident in him running that first group.’’
So what now for Kris Dunn?
He was given two preseason starts to make his case, but the coaching staff just didn’t see the ball movement and versatility that they saw with Satoransky.
There was one stat that stuck out the most through the first four preseason games: Dunn was a combined minus-10; Satoransky, who only played in three games, was plus-30.
“I’ve been happy with both of them,’’ Boylen said. “I think this is what’s best for our team, and I think it will be great for both of them individually. Kris has to be kind of our defensive force in that second group. He had 11 deflections and six steals against Indiana, so he can impact the game coming off the bench. He’s embraced it, he’s all about winning and I’m really proud of him.’’
Dunn might have had a different reaction to the demotion a year ago.
Acquired in the Jimmy Butler deal in 2017, Dunn always has been adamant about fighting to keep his starting job. When the Bulls met with Dunn in his exit meeting after last season, they informed him about the upcoming point-guard competition.
According to a source, Dunn wanted out. The Bulls had trade discussions during the summer but didn’t think they were getting fair value back.
There was a concern that Dunn would come into training camp and be disruptive on and off the court.
Instead, Dunn admitted that after he went home, his family helped him gain some clarity. Since returning, Dunn has embraced a team-first philosophy and said all the right things.
“I do think that [Dunn is] in a really good place,’’ Boylen said. “I do think he had some introspection and got some time away, and it was good for him. He said it, we’ve said it: He’s prepared to help the team win, and that’s his mindset. That’s what we need.’’
As for Satoransky, his mindset is to do whatever it takes for the starting unit to have success.
“I try to run the team, put them in the best position where they can succeed,’’ Satoransky said. “Run with pace. Keep spacing. Try to organize the team. That’s what I’ve been trying to do my whole career. And do all the little things.’’