It's Summer League Time(!) and Other Bullets

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It’s Summer League Time(!) and Other Bullets

Chicago Bulls

I’m still in New York City.

Yesterday, I was roaming the streets of Time Square (as one does when they visit New York) and among the mass of off-brand Pikachu mascots was a singular Elmo. Rather than going to take an actual picture with these disturbing figures, I decided to just sneak a quick Snapchat video to send over to my siblings, ya know, just for a quick giggle.

Then, what happened next, made me fear my life:

Okay, I’m being overdramatic, but creepy Elmo totally caught me sneak the video and then tried to approach me. I quickly turned the other way.

All right, onto basketball and stuff now!

  • It’s Summer League time! Tonight we’ll get a first look and new roster additions Coby White and Daniel Gafford against the Lakers (disgruntled) Summer League team at 6:00 p.m. CT. Just look at how happy these two are though!

  • I know you all can’t wait to see Walt Lemon Jr. and the dude with the hair ball out. In all seriousness, with the Bulls slated to play five games over the next week or so, I think it’s important we preface all of this with something: don’t take this too seriously!
  • Summer League is not a place to hardcore judge what rookies are actually capable of on the court. Time and again top prospects from the NBA Draft have a bit of a rude awakening during their first glimpse of NBA competition. Not to mention, I wouldn’t be surprised if guys like White and Gafford were advised not to go all-out. Of course, this doesn’t mean watching the players isn’t worth it, you will still surely see glimpses of what White and Gafford are capable of, plus get a better feel for how their game might translate down the road. For these upcoming Summer League games, it’s just more important to focus on the broader skill set of each player or even the intangibles.

  • With that said, a guy like Lemon Jr. in the picture above has a bit more to play for. The players that still remain without a clear path or NBA franchise to call home will, most likely, be leaving it all on the court. Overall, while you may be seeing a limited White and Gafford, there will still be some meaningful basketball played by a number of players on the Bulls roster.
  • Speaking of the Bulls roster, if you haven’t made yourself aware of who Chicago will be throwing out onto the court, make sure to check out our recent article for a quick overview.
  • As reported by the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, White tweaked his ankle earlier this week (nothing serious) but his availability for tonight’s game remains a bit unclear. He got shots up yesterday during shoot-around, but when your No. 7-overall prospect has even the slightest of injuries, you’ll be sure to take precautious measures. Anyway, in one of Johnson’s latest piece, he helps drive home a point I was making earlier: “Summer league is less about statistics and final scores and more about starting to learn about the NBA game. White’s numbers aren’t that important. His nuance — reading defenses, knowing when to push and when to get into half-court sets, decision-making in the half-court offense — will be.”

  • The Eastern Conference got better this offseason, but Kawhi Leonard’s decision will determine who is classified as the outright favorite to head to the NBA Finals. If the superstar returns to the Raptors, it’s safe to say we know who will be right at the top of the conference standings through most, if not all, of next season. The bottom group has gotten more competitive though, with teams like the Magic, Heat and (well, duh) Nets all showing signs of development. In many people’s eyes, the Bulls are viewed as a low-end playoff team right now, but fighting their way into a No. 7/8 seed will not be easy for this young, inexperienced team. NBC Chicago Sports’ Mark Schanowski does a solid job glancing over the Eastern Conference, and I recommend taking a look to know where the Bulls playoff hopes may stand to head into next season.

  • By the way, Zion Willamson and RJ Barrett also play each other tonight in Summer League, so for the love of basketball, I’d recommend tuning in.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.