Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen selected to play in 2018 Rising Stars Game
January 24, 2018 - The NBA announced today that Bulls guard Kris Dunn has been named to the U.S. Team, and forward Lauri Markkanen to the World Team, for 2018 Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars at NBA All-Star Weekend, as selected by NBA assistant coaches.
The fifth-overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Dunn ranks third among rookie and sophomore guards this season for assists per game (6.4) and is tied for fifth in points per game (13.7). He dished at least eight assists in seven-straight games from Jan. 3-15, which is a career-long streak that also ties for the fourth longest such streak in the NBA this season, behind Russell Westbrook (10, 9) and John Wall (10). Dunn scored a career-high 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting at Dallas on Jan. 5, including matching a career best with four 3-pointers made, to go along with nine assists. And he joined Michael Jordan as the only two players for the Bulls to have a game with at least 20 points, 12 assists, four steals and two blocks, as he did at Milwaukee on Dec. 26.
Dunn, who was acquired by the Bulls in a draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to this season, has considerably increased his averages from his rookie year to his sophomore campaign: He is averaging 13.7 points per game compared to 3.8 as a rookie, 6.4 assists per game compared to 2.4, and 4.6 rebounds per game compared to 2.1. His field goal percentage has also jumped from .377 his rookie season to .433 this year, and his 3-point percentage from .288 to .324.
Markkanen was the seventh-overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. He became only the 13th rookie to start for Chicago in a season opener, and tied for the most points in such a debut (17). He recorded a double-double in only his second game played with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Markkanen currently ranks fourth among rookies in points per game (15.5), second in rebounds per game (7.7), seventh in field goal percentage (.430) and fifth in 3-point percentage (.363).
The 20-year-old from Finland owns 33 games with multiple 3-pointers made, which is the most among rookies, and he’s had two streaks of 10 or more games with multiple 3-pointers made: 10 from Oct. 19 to Nov. 10, and 12 from Dec. 27 to Jan. 17, which ties for the longest such streak by a rookie in NBA history. Markkanen is also the fastest rookie in NBA history to reach 100 3-pointers made, recording 101 through 41 games. He is now at 103 treys through his first 44 games.
Markkanen scored a career-high 33 points to go along with 10 rebounds at New York on Jan. 10, making him one of three rookies this season to have a double-double with 30 points. Markkanen made a career-high eight 3-pointers in that game, becoming the only rookie to do so this season, and the only 7-footer other than Dirk Nowitzki to have that many makes from beyond the arc in a game in NBA history. He grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds in a double-overtime game at the Pelicans on Jan. 22, which is the second-highest rebound total in a game by a rookie this year.
The 2018 Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game will take place on Friday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. CT at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The game will air on both TNT and ESPN Radio. For the fourth consecutive year, the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent during NBA All-Star will pit 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the U.S. against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world. The 24th Rising Stars is the first with Mtn Dew Kickstart as title partner, with the brand expanding the event into a yearlong platform showcasing up-and-coming NBA players. Tickets for the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars and the Rising Stars Practice at Verizon Up Arena at the Los Angeles Convention Center on the morning of the game are available at NBATickets.com.