Marko Falls Back Down to Earth, Caruso Hopes for Health, Pippen Talks Moden NBA, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Marko Falls Back Down to Earth, Caruso Hopes for Health, Pippen Talks Moden NBA, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Me at 11:18 a.m. on Sunday:

Me at 6:06 p.m. on Sunday:

  • The only thing missing from Marko Simonovic’s performance on Sunday night was a slip on a banana peel and face-first plunge into a pie. The big man followed up a surprisingly dominant 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks against the Dallas Mavericks by scoring a singular point against the New York Knicks to go along with 7 rebounds and 7 personal fouls (excuse me as I vomit). The game served as another perfect reminder of why we should never overreact to a strong Summer League performance (or a ghastly one, for that matter). The experience comes with its highs and lows, especially for a prospect as unproven as Simonovic.
  • Simonovic likely isn’t as bad as Sunday’s outing suggested, but that performance could very well be closer to the truth than what we saw in game one. As I mentioned in our pre-game post before tip-off, the New York Knicks’ Summer League squad would give us a much better idea of how Simonovic could compete against more formidable size. The Orlando Magic lacked almost any true big man on their roster, whereas New York had second-year rim-protector Jericho Sims and six-foot-ten center Micah Potter. Sims – an athletic and physical player whose value resides largely on the defensive end – would offer Simonovic arguably his closest look to competing against NBA-caliber size and toughness. He responded to the tune of … well … I don’t want to type out that depressing box score again.
  • Indeed, Sims alongside the backcourt of Miles McBride and Quinten Grimes took care of the Bulls in the way that a group of sophomores should. They demonstrated the value of clocking real minutes in the NBA, even after only one season in the league. Considering Simonovic is also a sophomore, seeing him struggle that much against the similarly experienced competition isn’t the most comforting sign.
  • The Athletic has started to roll out their top-125 player list, and three Chicago Bulls have cracked the 89-125 range. Alex Caruso and Nikola Vucevic both maintain a spot, but Vucevic has dropped from Partnow’s 4A tier to 5A after a down year. Dosunmu also makes his first-ever appearance in the rankings, finishing with his teammates in tier 5A. I know falling in this range may not seem like the highest praise, but go look at the names that fell out of the rankings entirely this year. Tons of solid role players have failed to make the cut, so it’s nice to know several Bulls players are considered this valuable.
  • When Caruso isn’t picking peoples’ pockets, he’s smashing some golf balls. The defensive stopper performed in his first-ever golf tournament this weekend, and NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson spoke to him about the experience:
  • Better than 62nd!
  • Alex Caruso also joined ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy recently for a brief conversation about the Bulls’ upcoming season. When addressing the future of this core, Caruso emphasized what we’ve all been saying — Health is key.

“We didn’t have the time to kind of connect, to feel out how we’re going to play, how we’re going to set the identity of our team,” Caruso said. “I think we did that early in the year. Throughout the year, like I said, we had somethings pop up that were a little bit out of our control. So I think for us it’s about staying out there on the court together and getting back to it and embracing who we can be.” 

  • I got to be honest, I’m pretty surprised Scottie Pippen said this:
  • Older players are so hesitant to praise this version of the NBA. Now, Pippen could be doing this as a means of diminishing what Michael Jordan accomplished (we all know there has been some awkward recent beef), but he surely makes the right point by reiterating how well-rounded players are in today’s league. I think these conversations are always a bit silly to have, for what it’s worth. Times change. Players might be better in certain ways today, but I also guarantee you so many would struggle if they were transported back to the physical style of the 80s and 90s.
  • Vooch loves him some F1. Should I get into it?
  • *eyeball emoji*
  • Development Camp is underway for the Blackhawks this week. Make sure to follow all things BN Blackhawks to keep up.

Author: Elias Schuster

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