After Sunday’s game against the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls hit the halfway point in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Summer League. Pre-season play gives NBA teams the opportunity to see which players are ready for the next level of competition and which still need time to develop. Summer League teams are comprised of the NBA’s young stars; such teams are headlined by rookies taken in the NBA draft. The Bulls Summer League team is no different as fans are getting their first glance at rookie Dalen Terry. While the sampling of play we have seen from the young Bulls shows they have talent, their overall performance has been less than superb.
Starting with the positives, Chicago had an impressive comeback win in their first game of Summer League. June 8th, Chicago kicked off Summer League play against Jaden Hardy and the Dallas Mavericks. During the second quarter, Dallas reached their highest lead of the game with 16 points. Late game heroics by Marko Simonovic pushed the game into overtime; his four points lead Chicago to a 100-99 victory after one overtime period. Chicago’s young roster displayed a great amount of determination during the game. The aforementioned Simonovic is our second positive of the Bulls Summer League. In the game against Dallas, Simonovic looked like a center who was ready to contribute during the regular season. Simonovic lead the team in points and rebounds; his 27-point performance can partly be attributed to his efficient 87.5% free throw average. While the game against New York did not go well for any Chicago player, Simonovic still managed to lead the team with 7 rebounds.
Another takeaway from the Bulls Summer League is that Dalen Terry has already shown flashes of versatility. Although his statistics have not necessarily translated to great basketball, Terry is currently being played in a role unfamiliar to him. Despite this, Terry is still averaging 11 points per game and 3 rebounds. Terry has already been challenged to play both guards and forward which is what will be expected of him in the future. Terry has also shown flashes of his transition ability. All of these things are good signs that Terry will become a formidable player.
If you watched the game against New York, it will come as no surprise that the first negative of the Bulls Summer League was that entire game. After a 101-69 loss, it is hard to find any bright spots; there were no lead changes as New York jumped to a large lead almost immediately. Chicago was thoroughly beat as New York led in every statistical category. In one of the most noticeable categories, Chicago allowed 42 points inside the paint. Over two games, Chicago has a 25.85% three-point average; this could be worrisome to the organization as Chicago shot a league-low in three-pointers last season. Unless one of the players from the Bulls Summer League roster develops a respectable shot, Chicago’s roster could put up similar three-point statistics. Even though Terry was one of the positives, his play is not without criticism. In their two games, Chicago has used Terry as a ball-handler; it is evident Terry is uncomfortable in this role as he is averaging 6.5 turnovers per game. While Terry is getting valuable experience, his volume of turnovers may make coaches wary of trusting him during the regular season. Despite all of these negatives, the Chicago Summer League roster still has two more games to improve.
Chicago has two games this week; the first of which will be played against the Toronto Raptors. Toronto played well against Brooklyn resulting in a 10-point win. Rookie Christian Koloko played a large part in the success of that game. Chicago will also need to be aware of Armoni Brooks coming off a 25-point performance. Two days later Chicago will face the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte is led by 15th overall pick Mark Williams. Simonovic’s defense and rebounding will be tested by the 7’1 center. Big Baller Brand product Liangelo Ball is also featured on Charolette’s Summer League roster. Dependent on how Chicago plays, they may be playing in the post-Summer League tournament.
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