Virginia’s Ryan Dunn is one of the best defensive prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft but has limitations on the other end. Should the Knicks look his way?

After announcing his decision to declare his draft for the 2024 NBA Draft back in April, sophomore guard Ryan Dunn is ready to put his two remaining seasons with the Virginia Cavaliers behind him and take a shot at the big stage. The 6-foot-7, 3-and-D wing with elite defense at the wing and a near-7-foot-2 wingspan can be a great role player for the Knicks.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve done your research on Dunn and you’ve noticed his alarming offensive limitations. With that being said, I’m sure you’ve noticed what he brings to the table with his defensive abilities, too. And that right there is the biggest thing when taking into account Tom Thibodeau’s mindset. He definitely possesses a heavy defensive mindset, which is perfect for a draftee like Dunn.

Dunn’s Limited Offense

Ryan Dunn averaged 8.1 points and 0.8 assists, shooting at 54.8% from the field. He shot 62.5% at the rim, per Hoop Math, showing plainly what his major contributions on offense will be at the NBA level.

Although Dunn’s offense in the two seasons he’s played for Virginia has not been super impressive, it does not mean he lacks any offensive skillset at all. Perhaps his biggest impact is when he rises with the rock with emphatic dunks going coast-to-coast or when he cuts into lanes, causing mayhem at the rim with his strong finishes. His height also gives him an edge for much-needed put-back points with some mean slams. He can get pretty stylish with his dunks too, showing off his extreme athleticism on an open court with immense hang time off the rim.

Although Dunn’s length can batter his opponents on the defensive end, on the offensive end it has limited his options quite drastically. In his most recent season with Virginia, he shot a flat 20.0% from three. To put things into perspective, his three-ball once reached 44% at the high school level at Long Island Lutheran. His free-throw percentage in 2023-24 also came up short at just 53.2% — and that was a three-percent increase from his freshman year.

However, it is important to note that much of his offensive struggles are accounted for by his growth spurt. Dunn was once recorded at 6-foot-2 in high school. After growing four more inches, his jump shot has unfortunately taken a hit and was wonky for most of his college career. His confidence faltered with the amount of threes he attempted. He only attempted 16 threes in his first season and 35 in his second season. The man himself even voiced his opinion on this matter. “Confidence-wise, it wasn’t always there for me just letting it go from beyond the arc,” Dunn said to ESPN. “I’m going to have a whole different mindset with that.” That being said, it is not to say that his offensive rhythm cannot improve. With just enough work, his lack of confidence on the perimeter, his jumpers and his overall offensive contributions can be smoothened out over time.

Dunn’s Elite Defense

Dunn’s defense is without a doubt his selling point. His impeccable length and long wingspan are what helps him override the offense. His high reach and quick feet allow for impressive switchability both on the perimeter as well as on pick-and-rolls. He can guard any player of any caliber from one through five, generating a high amount of both steals (1.3 per game) and blocks (2.3 per game) in his sophomore campaign with Virginia. I also cannot leave out his prolific rebounding as his height intimidates guards like none other (6.9 per game).

It’s not just his agility and dexterity that benefits his defensive talents, but it’s his ball IQ as well that keeps him sharp and on his toes for what comes next. His composure and vigilance are what reward him with anticipating his opponents’ next moves. Some could say his defense is timely just like a hawk. He can be listed as an out-of-world on-ball defender who acquires the capacity to close out any space that his opponents attempt to create against him. With smothering defense like that, Dunn can be described as a hard-working player with fluid movements, almost as if he’s in sync with the offense when it comes to timely rejections and denials.

One way or the other, Dunn is always active on the defensive end. He is fearless in the key, contesting any of his opponents’ shots without any hesitation. Patience is the key to the Virginia product. He waits for just the perfect time to lay his hands up in the air and doesn’t do too much for a foul but does just enough to swat the ball out of his opponents’ hands after positioning his feet in all the right places at just the right times. His great awareness and recognition is what keeps him grounded.

Dunn is destined to wow even more people with his remarkable defense.

Overall

All things considered, Ryan Dunn is definitely a prospect that the Knicks should consider eyeing in the NBA Draft. Despite his offense being a major work in progress, his defense certainly motors through them. We’re talking about a player with lock-down clamps and doesn’t back down from any size or height that comes at him. His potential reaches as high as the ceiling. With the Knicks’ bench in need of more assistance as well as the ability to compile more defensive players on their roster, Dunn is perfect for the job.

And not to mention, his hometown is New York. And you know what they say: there’s no place like home.

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