Not even a reserve role can shake Kris Dunn’s resolve.
Continuing his completely different tone from the end of last season in his comments to reporters, Dunn took the news that he’ll back up Tomas Satoransky in stride Thursday in advance of the Bulls’ final preseason game versus the Hawks.
“Just being positive, cheering guys on. Just bringing my energy. I’m an energetic guy. That’s just my personality. I just bring it to the gym and allow that good energy to resonate on the floor and to the other guys,” Dunn said at the Advocate Center. “You need (depth) in the league. There are going to be games where the starters come out flat and the second unit is going to have to pick it up and allow them to come back in and finish the game. Just having depth is a good thing because injuries occur. You need backups you can trust.”
At the tail end of last season, as Dunn got publicly challenged by executive vice president John Paxson and phased out of the Bulls’ core in the team’s public comments, the guard acted sullen at times. But he reported to voluntary September workouts with a renewed energy and mental approach after a self-proclaimed offseason of reflection.
“I just appreciate Coach (Jim Boylen) talking to me and being straightforward and being truthful to me,” Dunn said. “I’m going to do my job and do what’s best for the team.”
Dunn started two of the first four preaseason games but largely played with reserves. Does he feel he got a fair shot at keeping his starting job?
“I’m not really going to speak on that. I feel I’m in a great spot. I love what the coaching staff is doing with me and the team. We have a great group of guys,” Dunn said. “We’re going to play hard every game and hopefully make that playoff push.”
And Dunn, who recorded six steals last Friday in Indiana, believes he still has an important role.
“My greatest strength right now is defense. I know that. My teammates know that. It’s no surprise to the team,” he said. “I bring it each day.”
Boylen is appreciative of Dunn’s attitude.
“Before I could even get out the words, ‘Kris, I’m going to bring you off the bench to start the season,’ he had already said, ‘Coach, I’m going to do whatever you need me to do and I’m ready for what you want me to do.’ Before I could even get it out. It was a two-minute conversation,” Boylen said. “I’ve always said he has great heart for the team. He has always been very coachable. He accepts criticism. He owns his mistakes. His response is all about the team and what we’re trying to build. It’s role definition and it’s role acceptance. His role acceptance is off the charts.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.