It’s one of the rare times that athletes can be themselves around the media. And with cameras flashing all around them, Buddy Hield knocked down threes like it was nothing, Jamal Murray put on a flight show for his new teammates, Juan Hernangomez and Malik Beasley, and Jaylen Brown asked Thon Maker how old he was.
Some of the biggest names of the 2016 NBA Draft class had gathered at the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown, N.Y. Sunday morning for the Panini NBA Rookie Photo Shoot. Top overall pick Ben Simmons was a little late to arrive, but he joined the other 39 rookies at the annual event where the future stars of the league were snapped hittin’ the dab and looking like they were gonna drop the hottest mixtape of 2016.
But Kris Dunn, despite being the fifth overall pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves, was the one walking and talking like a veteran. Dunn’s confidence is through the roof, and it’s been that way ever since he was a little kid.
Before spending four years at Providence, the guard used to battle kids one-on-one for money, even if he didn’t have cash on him to cover his side of the bet. Dunn showed no mercy then, and he knows he can beat just about anyone that comes his way.
“Who would I beat hands down? All of [the rookies],” Dunn told us. “I don’t think they play at the park. I play at the park. I don’t think they got that park in ‘em.”
His basketball skills don’t stop on the real floor. You don’t wanna mess with him in 2K either. Dunn claims he’s only lost three times.
“Some people think they’re nice at 2K; I’m really nice,” he said. “The only way I lose if like the game cheat me, and that’s like the honest truth. Because I play actual basketball in the video game. So every time I score, they’re like ‘oh, that’s a great bucket.’”
And of course, he’s going to play as himself when 2K17 comes out.
“Anybody I play against, I don’t care if I lose or not, I’m still gonna get 50,” he said.
Dunn can take the youngbloods to school, something that is actually in Maker’s future.
Maker was drafted 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks, being the first person since 2005 to go to the NBA right out of high school. But Maker isn’t done with school just yet. The 7’1” phenom, who has been ribbed about his age throughout the draft process and into the summer, has plans on hitting the books even as a professional.
“I’m always in class. Whether it’s studying video, watching somebody interact with other people, you’re studying, just always using the mind,” said the (on record) 19-year-old. “Actual class class, it’s something I love, you know, cause you’re learning. You use that elsewhere; you use it on the basketball court, anywhere else, just in life.”
Maker said college is something he would like to take up, and he might not even wait until after his career to start “class class,” but he’s “still working on deciding” on what kind of course work or degree he would like to pursue.
For the time being, he’d like to pursue a game of HORSE with his teammate Giannis Antetokoumpo.
“I haven’t played against him, but I’ll ask him during training camp,” said Maker.
We don’t know if there will be a wager on Thon vs. the Greek Freak, but Maker would be wise to channel his inner Dunn and strut around the Bucks practice court with supreme confidence. It just might earn him a few extra dollars.