NBA executive thinks Grant-Dunn ‘open’ competition is already over
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Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn’t have to make a decision until Wednesday.
And even then, he isn’t obligated to make any changes.
By then, Hoiberg will have had two intense practices, film to study and some input from his staff and front office.
Then maybe, just maybe, the “open competition’’ that Hoiberg called for at point guard after the embarrassing 101-69 loss Saturday to the Thunder will be a closed matter.
According to one opposing basketball executive, however, it shouldn’t take that long.
Jerian Grant won the starting job out of camp largely because Kris Dunn dislocated his left index finger midway through preseason play.
But one executive told the Sun-Times on Monday that the job should be given to Dunn based on an important attribute: He competes every day, every possession, and does so at a much higher level than Grant.
With a young team such as the Bulls, effort and intensity are the keys in trying to shrink the talent deficit they’re up against most games, and that’s Dunn’s forte.
Dunn was acquired in a package for Jimmy Butler, and that carries some weight, but even if you discount that aspect, the executive didn’t see the competition as much of a contest.
Last season, Hoiberg emphasized Grant’s ability to spread the floor, but he’ll enter the game Wednesday in Miami a career 29 percent three-point shooter. Dunn, knocked for his inability to shoot from outside, also is a career 29 percent shooter from three-point range.
And Dunn is better at attacking the rim, plays downhill a bit more and, most important, can develop into an elite defender.
So using two more practices to make a decision seems more like an effort to appease Grant and make sure he doesn’t lose faith in the organization like he did last season when he lost his starting job.
“They’ll go out and show us,’’ Hoiberg said when asked about the “open’’ competition.
“I anticipate Jerian bouncing back. What I saw the other night [against the Thunder] was we weren’t making shots, including Jerian in that group.
‘‘So, yeah, it’s an important 48 hours, and we’ll see how it plays out.’’
Hoiberg reiterated that whoever wins the starting job at the point had better understand ball distribution, especially feeding prized rookie Lauri Markkanen when he’s feeling it.
He was asked if there were specific spots on the court that he wants his guards to get the ball to Markkanen.
“Yeah, there are specific spots,’’ Hoiberg said. “All of them.’’
NOTE: Nikola Mirotic informed the organization that he would bypass surgery for the two fractured bones in his face, choosing to let them heal on their own.
Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson told WBBM-AM (780) of the decision, although it was reported the day after –Bobby Portis punched Mirotic in practice three weeks ago that avoiding surgery was a possibility.
Mirotic has been cleared for light activity, such as riding a stationary bike, and was expected at the Advocate Center on Tuesday. There was no word on whether he’d be at the facility while his teammates are practicing or after they leave for Miami in the afternoon.
Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.