Bulls point guard Kris Dunn wasn’t making a threat. He was more matter-of-fact than that.
If the Bulls stay put in the NBA Draft lottery Tuesday and decide to select a point guard with the sixth overall pick, ‘‘[That selection] better be dawgs ’cause it will be a fight,’’ Dunn said near the end of the season.
Dunn isn’t about to give up his starting spot this fall, especially after everything he has been through to earn one.
What was interesting in talking about that draft scenario with Dunn was his attitude toward the two point guards likely on the Bulls’ draft board. His stance on Alabama’s Collin Sexton was a bit more forgiving than his take on Oklahoma’s Trae Young.
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Young might be the better player when it’s all said and done. He might be the best shooter in the class, a player who can change the geometry of the floor and the perfect fit in coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense.
But until Young proves it, there’s a perception about him that he has to change: There’s a feeling that he is a bit on the soft side, and the film doesn’t lie.
In a game Jan. 27 against Sexton and Alabama, Young suddenly looked very mortal. Before that road game, he was the talk of the college-basketball world, scoring at least 20 points in 18 consecutive games. Against the in-your-face Sexton, however, Young shot 6-for-17 from the field and was limited to 17 points in Oklahoma’s loss.
The game also established a blueprint for the rest of Young’s season. Opposing teams started playing him more physically and
exposing the holes in his game.
Don’t think Dunn, as well as others in the NBA, didn’t take note of that.
That’s why the next month will be huge for the Bulls in terms of evaluating what’s real with Young. First, he’s listed at 6-2, which is a huge question mark in itself. Second, his defense was awful. But was that because Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger instructed him to save his energy for offense?
Either way, general manager Gar Forman must make the right call on Young because some in the organization are much higher on him than initially believed.
But Young is only one of the draft prospects that could make or break the Bulls’ rebuild at No. 6.
Three who could make it
Jaren Jackson Jr.: One of the better two-way big men in the draft, Jackson instantly will improve the Bulls defensively and will stretch the floor.
Michael Porter Jr.: As long as the medical reports on his surgically repaired back check out, Porter’s offensive skills are better than those of any forward in the draft.
Marvin Bagley III: There’s no way Bagley will be there at No. 6. But what if he’s around at No. 4? Might the Bulls trade both of their first-round picks to move up two spots?
Three who could break it
Young: See above.
Wendell Carter Jr.: Making a safe pick has bust written all over it. Carter, who played in Bagley’s shadow at Duke, showed some flashes but never really distinguished himself as a top-six pick.
Mohamed Bamba: A rim protector? Absolutely. But his offensive game is raw, and he needs to add some serious bulk to compete physically at the NBA level.