Rising stars Dunn and Markkanen represent the new look Bulls at All-Star Weekend
CHICAGO – For the most part, outside of an unfortunate fight during training camp, the Bulls have remained relatively out of the spotlight.
Rebuilding teams can often do that since they’re often filled with younger and role players trying to find their way on the team. The goal of these squads, while still hoping for victories, is simply to develop a little bit each game. It’s not exactly headline-grabbing stuff, but it’s a necessary part of getting a franchise on track.
Hence the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday at the Staples Center won’t be featuring any of the Bulls for the first time since 2009. But the team won’t be without representation in at least one part of the game – and it ‘s a fitting part of the weekend which two of their players will take part.
Guard Kris Dunn and forward Lauri Markkanen will suit up for the NBA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday nigh at 8 PM, a game which features the best young players in the league.
“We’re definitely having fun with it,” said Markkanen on Wednesday before the All-Star break, discussing his excitement in facing his teammate in the game on Friday.
In some ways it’s a victory for the team that they were able to acquire two of the better prospects in the league, considering the struggles they’ve had to do so at times in the recent past.
Dunn is averaging 13.5 points per game along with 6.3 assists were game in a dramatic improvement from his rookie year in Minnesota. He was acquired in the Jimmy Butler deal along with Markkanen, who has shined in his first NBA season with 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.
They’re critical parts to the attempted rebuild of the Bulls, one that expectedly has led to a less-than-stellar 2017-2018 season that’s not caught the attention of the league. But for an exhibition game on Friday, Dunn hopes to give the NBA a glimpse of what the Bulls have and what they could be.
“We’re creating pieces,” said Dunn. ” With Lauri in the game, I’m fortunate enough to be in the game, we’ve got a lot of pieces on this team. With Zach coming back, him being a two-time slam dunk champion, he’s great himself. We’ve got Bobby (Portis), Denzel (Valentine), RoLo (Robin Lopez), Justin (Holiday).
“We’ve got so many pieces and I think we just want to show people that we got pieces and we’re working on it and trying to develop into being one of those playoff teams eventually.”
In the meantime, it’s up to him and Lauri to show the potential of the team in the Windy City.