Celtics

4 things to know about Kris Dunn, who the Celtics have reportedly traded for

Dunn has some local ties.

Kris Dunn struggled with injuries in his one season with the Hawks. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

The Celtics got a head start on adding players before free agency by making a pair of trades.

On Friday, the Celtics reportedly agreed to trades to acquire Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando from the Hawks and Josh Richarson from the Mavericks while shipping out Tristan Thompson and Moses Brown. So far, the Celtics-Mavericks trade (Richardson for Brown and the Gordon Hayward traded player exception) has been made official while the three-team deal between the Celtics, Hawks, and Kings awaits confirmation.

While we wait for the start of NBA free agency and the confirmation of the trade, here are four things to know about Kris Dunn:

Dunn and his brother, John, cared for themselves when he was 9-years-old.

When Kris Dunn was a year old, his mother, Pia, took him and his brother to Virginia, separating the boys from their father.

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Years later, Dunn’s mother was arrested, leaving Dunn and his older brother by years alone. The two began living alone in their Virginia apartment.

Dunn rarely attended his fourth-grade classes so he and his brother could make money to help survive. They sold their clothes and gambled on card games. Dunn even played older kids one-on-one in basketball, betting them he would win.

“It was just us two. Just us two — and nobody knew,” Dunn recalled in an ESPN interview. “We wouldn’t let it be known. We were fighters. Every day, we learned how to get what we want in order to survive.”

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When Dunn’s father, John Seldon, found out about his sons’ living situation, he immediately sought to gain custody and bring the boys home with him. When Seldon and a friend arrived at the front door of the Virginia apartment, Dunn didn’t know who it was.

“I was in the house,” Dunn told ESPN. “There were two big dudes banging on the big, glass door and telling me to come to the door. I’m looking at them, I’m like, ‘OK, I’m going to lock it up even more.’ My brother comes out and says: ‘What are you doing? That’s our father.’ Emotions just came out of me so much. I never met my father before.”

He’s got New England roots.

When Seldon gained custody of his sons, New England became Dunn’s home for the next several years.

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Seldon took the kids to his home in New London, Connecticut, where Dunn spent his formative years. Dunn attended New London High School, shining as one of the nation’s top high school point guards.

Dunn received offers from some of the top schools in New England, such as Boston College, UConn, and Rhode Island, before signing with Providence.

After dealing with shoulder injuries in his first two years at Providence, Dunn broke out in his junior season. Dunn scored 15.6 points per game and averaged Big East highs in assists (7.5) and steals (2.7) en route to winning the conference’s player of the year award for the 2014-15 season. Dunn stayed at PC for his senior year, winning Big East Conference Player of the Year again, averaging 16.4 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.5 steals per game.

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Dunn’s strong final seasons at Providence made him a top prospect for the 2016 NBA Draft, in which the Celtics had the No. 3 overall pick. In the leadup to the draft, several draft experts speculated that Dunn would continue his journey north along I-95, but the Celtics ended up selecting Jaylen Brown. Dunn ended up getting selected by the Timberwolves with the No. 5 pick.

Dunn’s been considered as one of the league’s top backcourt defenders in recent years.

Offensively, Dunn hasn’t met the expectations most would like to see a top-five pick perform at. He struggled in his rookie season in Minnesota, scoring just 3.8 points per game before getting traded to Chicago as part of a package for All-Star Jimmy Butler.

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While Dunn’s offensive game improved in his three seasons with the Bulls (averaging 10.7 points and 5.4 assists per game on 43.1/31/75.5 shooting splits), his defensive game shined. In 2017-18, Dunn had the second-best steal percentage (which measures how many steals a player gets per 100 possessions) at 3.3%.

Two years later, Dunn led the league in steal percentage (3.8%) and was second in steals per game (2.0). He was also second in the league defensive box plus-minus (which is an estimate of the points per 100 possessions that a player contributed above a league-average player) at 3.1. Dunn’s impressive season on defense in 2019-20 led to him getting votes for the All-Defensive teams, but he ended up being the top vote-getter to not get a spot on either team.

Dunn’s dealt with multiple leg injuries over the last two seasons.

Dunn’s 2019-20 season was cut short when he sprained his right MCL in February.

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After the Bulls let Dunn become a free agent, Dunn signed a two-year deal with the Hawks before the start of the 2020-21 season. Dunn sat out at the beginning of the season after an MRI found cartilage disruption in his right knee. When he originally tried to return in December, issues with his ankle and lower arose, leading his right ankle to get scoped.

Dunn ended up missing the Hawks’ first 61 games of the season and only played in four regular-season games upon his return. He also played in just four of the Hawks’ playoff games during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals, with most of his minutes coming when the game was decided.

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