LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 8: Kris Dunn #3 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the 2016 Las Vegas Summer League game on July 8, 2016 at Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Dunn Puts On A Show In Loss To Nuggets

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Summer League is weird.

What’s important? What’s not important?

Those are tough questions to answer.

If, say, the Denver Nuggets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, that doesn’t really mean a whole lot. More than half of the Summer League team isn’t the actual team.

But what if the top draft pick for the Wolves looked like he belonged from the beginning and put up 27 points and looked like THE alpha dog on the court? Yeah, that’s probably a little more important.

The Wolves’ No. 5 pick Kris Dunn finished with a game-high 27 points to go with five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block. He shot an efficient 10-for-18 from the field and 1-for-2 from the 3-point line.

Yes, Minnesota lost 88-82. But the emergence of Dunn should be the main focus if you’re a Timberwolves’ fan. And it was especially impressive considering he put on a show against legit NBA guards like Emmanuel Mudiay and Gary Harris.

“It just felt good to be out there playing,” Dunn, who hasn’t played in a real game in nearly four months. “… Just playing with the guys, trying to get that chemistry on the court.”

Dunn had the swag of a five-year veteran and if you had just turned the game on, not knowing exactly what sport you were watching, you would have thought the game had everything on the line. That’s how Dunn (and Mudiay for that matter) were playing, which was refreshing to see. Not all Summer League games are taken that serious.

“My background,” Dunn said on what gives him that mentality. “I’m not going to back down from anybody. I know Emmanuel. He’s a good player and I just wanted to compete. I’m just trying to learn every day and improve.”

Ultimately, Mudiay’s 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists led the Nuggets to the win. Gary Harris added 22 points, while No. 7 pick Jamal Murray added 14 points after a 1-for-7 start from the field.

Third-year forward Adreian Payne finished with 17 points for the Wolves, but shot just 6-for-20. The second biggest revelation for the Wolves was that Dunn and second-year guard Tyus Jones played pretty well together. Jones finished with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double. Offensively, the two meshed. And while it’s way too early, it’s something to keep an eye on heading into the regular season. 

The Wolves fall to 0-1 and Summer League and will play the Toronto Raptors on Sunday at 5 p.m. CST.

Highlight of the Game

To open the game, Jones hooked up with Dunn for an alley-oop on a back-door cut. Not a bad way to say ‘hello’ to the NBA world.

The Numbers Game

  • The Wolves had a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Nuggets outscored them 21-12 in the final 10 minutes.
  • Both teams struggled from the 3-point line. Minnesota shot just 20 percent, while Denver shot 21.7 percent.
  • There was just one lead change in the entire game, and that was when the Nuggets took the lead in the fourth quarter.

Player of the Game

This belongs to Dunn. With his 27 points, he leads all scorers on day one of action. In second is second-year guard Andrew Harrison.

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We have a feeling we’ll be seeing plenty more of this from Dunn.