The Case for Kris Dunn on the Philadelphia 76ers

Jan 24, 2016; Villanova, PA, USA; Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) reacts to a score against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Providence Friars won 82-76 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 24, 2016; Villanova, PA, USA; Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) reacts to a score against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Providence Friars won 82-76 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Kris Dunn is the best point guard prospect in the 2016 NBA Draft and should be highly considered if the 76ers attain another lottery pick.

With the NBA Draft coming up in just over three weeks, the Philadelphia 76ers find themselves in a unique position. Between the top overall pick, two late first-round picks, and too many big men to hand consistent minutes to, they are likely to be one of the most active teams between now and draft night. Deciding between Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons for the number one pick will be a monumental decision in itself, but their loaded front court and late picks could help the team set itself up even more so for the future.

The front court logjam has made the Sixers the subject of trade rumors. The likeliest man to leave the Sixers loaded front court seems to be Jahlil Okafor, with talks of a possible trade to the Boston Celtics for the third pick in next month’s draft. For now, the Sixers have a choice to make at the top, but should they receive the third pick from Boston or any other lottery pick for that matter, Providence point guard Kris Dunn should be at the top of their wish list.

Dunn is a 6-foot-4 muscular point guard with a very impressive wingspan that is 6’9.5″. You won’t find many point guards in the NBA with that length and given how the length of the Oklahoma City Thunder has bothered the defending champion Golden State Warriors, that’s very appealing. One of the knocks on Dunn is his age — he turned 22 in March — but for a Sixers team looking to turn things around, an older rookie could be very intriguing.

At Providence, Dunn was the back-to-back Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 16.4 points, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in his junior season. Dunn is one of the most dynamic pick and roll guards of recent drafts and vastly improved his jump shot, hitting 37 percent of his shots from three last season. He can be explosive at times, especially in transition, and reads the floor with tremendous vision.

He’s being labeled as a defensive stalwart and that should be very intriguing for the Sixers if Dunn suited up around Simmons/Ingram, Nerlens Noel and/or Joel Embiid. In fact, there is not enough praise to go around about Dunn’s defense.

That’s very high praise from Mike Schmitz of Draft Express. After watching Dunn work out against NBA prospects and established pros, ESPN’s Chad Ford had this to say about the former Friar.

"No one in the gym could score on him with any regularity. Blessed with size, strength, length, speed and aggressiveness, he has the potential to be an All-Defensive team member in the NBA someday."

Now, how exactly would Dunn fit into the Sixers plans? First and foremost, should the Sixers select Brandon Ingram, Dunn is a phenomenal fit. However, all signs are pointing to Ben Simmons coming over to the City of Brotherly Love. The Simmons-Dunn fit has gotten a lot of criticism and skepticism, especially from Derek Bodner, who covers the draft as well as the Sixers. But there’s reason to believe Dunn could fit well with the Sixers.

The biggest knock on Dunn’s ability to fit with Simmons is his erratic and inconsistent jump shot. As Bodner has noted time and time again, Dunn will swish one three and then badly miss the next. However, Dunn greatly improved his shot in college and he’s been working on it ever since his college season ended.

It’s unlikely Dunn ever shoots at a clip like fellow draftee Jamal Murray, another candidate for the Sixers, but if you invest in improving his jumper, he very well could become a good knock down shooter from outside. Dunn also is definitely aware of this red flag, and like most prospects has been working out for months. For all we know that jumper could have already improved.

The only other major problem that could come up between Dunn and Simmons is both guys need the ball in their hands. Interestingly enough, Providence ran a few plays regularly with him off the ball with the purpose of getting him open looks from deep. So he can play off ball.

Additionally, it really is a myth that if you draft Simmons, Dunn can’t get the ball in his hands. Look around the NBA and you see the need and desire for multiple, strong ball handlers. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving; C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard; Steph Curry and Draymond Green.

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Simmons cannot and will not initiate all of the offense. Of course, Dunn won’t be having the ball as much as he could or should have, but he could have a role as the secondary ball handler and as the point guard to lead the second unit when Simmons rests. If you partner that with his defensive size and all-NBA defensive potential, you could even oversee his shooting deficiencies. And if the Sixers take Ingram then Dunn is a perfect fit. If the Sixers believe they can turn him into an above average shooter, Kris Dunn provides too many intangibles to not draft him if the Sixers get a second pick in the lottery.