The Bulls will tip-off the first of five Summer League games from Las Vegas later this afternoon. Patrick Williams, Ayo Dosunmu, and Marko Simonovic will headline the team’s roster, giving Bulls fans one of the more exciting summer showcasing in quite some time.
With that said, even if those three players feel like rotational pieces for the Bulls this season, everyone should walk into these next couple of weeks with tempered expectations.
Bulls summer basketball starts today!
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 9, 2021
• What if Patrick Williams drops 28!? It’s Summer League. What if Ayo Dosunmu hits five 3s!? It’s Summer League. What if Simonovic breaks the backboard with a poster dunk!? Awesome … but it’s Summer League (and they probably need to get better backboards). To be clear, I’m not saying we can’t get hyped to see these guys in action, as well as other intriguing roster talents like Devon Dotson, Simi Shittu, Tyler Bey, and Omari Spellman (you can check out the full roster here). What I am saying is that we can not holistically look at a player’s statistical performance as something that will directly translate to the NBA level or truly reflect their rookie year trajectory. Must I remind you of Derrick Rose’s 10-point outing against 2008 No. 2-overall pick Michael Beasley, who looked worlds better with 28 points and nine rebounds? What about Denzel Valentine winning Chicago the Summer League Championship in 2016?
• Again, I am not saying we all have to watch Summer League with our analyst hats on (overreact, be my guest), but we should not let it change our opinion(s) of a player too far in one direction or the other. Instead, we should simply watch for little things like comfort, effort, court vision, passing, screen-setting, spacing, etc. Those qualities will be what stands out most to coaches and executives as they look to round out their official rosters and stuff their G-League teams. Not to mention, for guys like Dosunmu and Simonovic, those are actually the qualities that could get them on the court sooner than later.
• Patrick Williams gets a very tiny exception. We still can not turn exactly what he does into some important overarching storyline, but he is an expected starter who is coming off an All-Rookie Team first year. Chicago has invested a lot in his development, and while he bought himself more time to develop offensively with the team’s additions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, the team will still need him to take a step in the right direction this season. Williams has his first real offseason to hone his craft on this side of the ball, and today will be the first time we see what has added to his bag of tricks. Honestly, what I’ll be looking for the most is just a sense of aggressiveness. Williams has one of the most elite frames among young NBA players, and there is no reason he should not be bulldozing his way to the rim for higher-percentage looks.
• Did I mention we should not read too much into Summer League?
Antonio Blakeney shined in his Blazers Summer League debut 🤩
➤ 27 PTS
➤ 9-10 FG
➤ 7-7 FT pic.twitter.com/C34RALvGR9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 9, 2021
• The Chicago Bulls finally gave the people what they wanted.
Officially Official: Chicago Bulls Announce Lonzo Ball Sign-and-Trade!https://t.co/WLQzFd4aK5
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) August 9, 2021
• With Ball officially announced, one has to imagine the DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Tony Bradley deals are just around the corner. After all, the team also did make the Daniel Theis departure (sent via sign-and-trade to Houston for cash considerations) official earlier this morning.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 9, 2021
• Also, I wrote this in the post above, but I want to reiterate: Making the Ball signing official does not mean the tampering investigation is over. The expectation was always that the NBA would still allow the deal to go through, and the potential punishment would focus around a hefty fine or loss of draft picks.
• Speaking of tampering, ESPN’s Bobby Marks posted a video on Instagram sharing his thoughts. He told viewers he believes both Chicago and New Orleans could get “nailed” for their role in this sign-and-trade.
My thoughts on Tampering. A look at the most recent contracts (Danny Green, Kelly Oubre and more…) signed, including some more info on Chris Paul, Spencer Dinwiddie and Mike Conley. https://t.co/tRZr9xaW30
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 9, 2021
• Cristiano Felicio is officially off the Bulls books and headed out of the NBA. According to Eurohoops, the Bulls long-time big man will continue his basketball career in Germany.
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) August 9, 2021
• Look, I’ll fully admit that I’m happy to have Felicio off the books. The guy appeared in just 252 games (starting 20) or a possible 465 despite being paid a total of $33 million over his six seasons with the franchise. I know, seeing that number feels like a cup of hot coffee down the pants, but let’s remember it’s not Felicio’s fault the GarPax regime handed him a bag. I’m sure we would all take that money to sit comfortably on the bench and sip some Gatorade. Also, I can’t help but think Felicio has some truly awesome stories to tell about the last half-decade of Bulls basketball. I would love to hear what he has to say about all the drama.
• Fun fact: Blake Snell is dating Zach LaVine’s fiance’s sister. So, yeah, that is why he is in San Diego.
No wonder Snell pitched lights out pic.twitter.com/1rLZuX4r21
— Jim Russell (@JimRussellSD) August 9, 2021
• lol wut
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 9, 2021