Dunn and Markkanen look for bragging rights during tonight's Rising Stars game
Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen answered questions during Friday's media day session prior to the Rising Stars game
All-Star weekend always is educational. Like you never knew people could dress like that. But you also learn about the people you know and thought you knew, but with this young Bulls team we really don't know too much about them at all.
So Friday as the first and second year prodigies prepared for the Rising Stars game later that night, we learned that Kris Dunn used to have a crush on Beyonce (OK, that doesn't make him unique) and his favorite basketball movie is the Sebastian Telfair story. No, didn't see that one coming.
You never much see a lot of the questions coming in the NBA jr. version of Super Bowl media day.
The big guys for the Sunday NBA All-Star game have their open media session, this year for the first time a public event like for the Super Bowl, pushed to Saturday. So the freshmen and sophomores sat for questions Friday in the Los Angeles Convention Center. No, they couldn't get anyone to pay to watch that one.
So Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, facing off on competing teams Friday night, plumbed the depths of their patience to consider some of the curiosities of the worldwide media.
Dunn seemed more dispassionate about the game.
"Nothing too much, friendly competition," said Dunn. "For myself, go out and have fun."
Markannen wasn't so nonchalant. "Looking for a win against Kris so I'll get the bragging rights," he said. "Coming for the win."
Markkanen was asked his choice for Rookie of the Year assuming he were ineligible. Markkanen said the Jazz' Donovan Mitchell. Dunn was politically correct, but with a good cause for Markkanen.
"He threw down 38 (33 actually) in Madison Square Garden," said Dunn. "Had eight threes that game; you're not finding too many people who'll do that. Lauri to be a rookie with so much confidence to play big time games, especially in Madison Square Garden. I keep bringing that game up, but you don't see that from rookies."
Dunn said he most admires guards like Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.
"I heard I was going to Chicago. It was an unbelievable feeling. I got to put the Bulls jersey on, It was one of the best days of my life."
- Lauri Markkanen
"Nobody in the league mentors me," Dunn said. "I'm a big Rondo fan because he's a true point guard, Chris Paul because he's a true point guard. I like how he leads the team, how they get guys involved and are able to be in attack mode at the same time."
Dunn said he likes Donovan Mitchell or Dennis Smith Jr for the dunk contest win and James Harden for league MVP. The first Rising Star player to make the All-Star game? Dunn was quick to say Markkanen.
For his part, Markkanen didn't bite, but he said a goal was to be an All-Star and in the three-point shooting contest when the All-Star game is in Chicago in 2020.
Chicago beef sandwiches or pizza?
"Deep dish pizza," said Dunn. "Chicago is crazy deep dish." Meat lover for him, he said.
Dunn said his all time favorite film was Kevin Hart's Ride Along.
Dunn said being dunked on is worse than being crossed over because you can fake slipping on a cross over. "Dunk you're right there in the picture," he said.
Favorite emoji? Yes, they're getting asked that. Dunn said the 100 sign. Versatility, he explained. Yes, he also was asked for an explanation. Deep, deep depth.
Markkanen did about a quarter of his interviews in Finnish, so perhaps the best stuff was then. But he was more relaxed an open than probably anytime since he came to the Bulls. Though his confidence remained the same as he said, carefully, none of this surprised him because he does expect big things from himself.
He only got the "are you like Dirk" question three times and was particularly patient and laughing about it. He also was quick to correct an observation about Finland sports that it's "rally drivers and ski jumpers." Hockey country, he said.
Markkanen said he did miss Nikola Mirotic, who was something of a guide for him, though Markkanen said Robin Lopez also has been in that role.
"Like Niko, he's helped me a ton," said Markkanen. "He's helped me in the rough stretches, what I need to do to improve and I ask him advice for my haircut."
His sense of humor does sneak up on you.
Markkanen went with Smith for the dunk contest and said he loves that Bulls jersey.
"Unreal draft night," Markkanen said. "I heard I was going to Chicago. It was an unbelievable feeling. I got to put the Bulls jersey on, It was one of the best days of my life."
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