I’m in DC this weekend and will likely miss the majority of tonight’s Summer League conclusion. So consider this my formal request for Dalen Terry and Co. not to do anything too cool while I’m gone.
A couple of highlights here and there are allowed, but any poster dunks or ankle breaks must wait until the preseason. Cool? Cool.
- All things considered, I’d deem this Summer League a success even before the final game tips off tonight. Terry demonstrated real growth from game to game, while a guy like Justin Lewis flashed enough of his jumper and smart defensive playmaking to justify the front office’s decision to snag him immediately following the draft. Marko Simonovic has also shown significant improvement when we compare his skill set to this time last year. Whether or not that will actually amount to any meaningful minutes at the NBA level is unclear (unfortunately, I bet it does not), but progress is what this time of year is all about, and we’ve seen that on several fronts!
- We also can’t forget how important these fives game could be for assistant coach John Bryant. As someone who has never served at this level before, the Summer League head coaching experience should only make him that much more of an asset on the Bulls’ bench, especially when it comes to coaching up Terry.
- Alex Caruso recently spoke with Heavy’s Jonathan Adams, and he puked sunshine and rainbows when asked about his experience thus far in Chicago:
“I think it worked out great for me. I think I got the most money I could get. I got the best opportunity I could get. Went to the best team and organization that I think really supports me and believes in me and gives me an opportunity to play basketball the way that I play best. I don’t think I’d change it for anything.”
- Considering Caruso rose to fame and won a ring in Los Angeles, it’s pretty high praise that he feels this comfortable in Chicago. Comments like these speak volumes about the culture and community we’ve seen this new front office establish in just a few years. And I think we can sometimes lose sight of just how impressive that is.
- As underwhelming as this offseason has turned out to be for the Bulls, we’re still talking about a franchise that will head into next season with more respect than they’ve had in arguably a decade. While this comes from the on-court success we saw last year, it also comes from the environment Donovan, Karnisovas, and Eversley continue to build. Look, I know Dragic and Drummond might not be the sexiest signings, but those are still two well-respected veterans who likely had several win-ready options to pursue this offseason. They still chose the Bulls.
- Caruso also made an appearance on The Old Man & the Three podcast with JJ Redick for an NBA mailbag. The conversation eventually turned to Caruso’s thoughts about the Bulls’ ability to take the next step, and the defensive stopper sounded confident they can do just that under one condition …
“I really think it’s just about us staying healthy and making sure we get to the end of the season with a full team. Having that full season to build that continuity, see how teams are going to guard us, make adjustments. We didn’t get to do a lot of all that last year with having people in and out of the lineup.”
- I got to admit, I’m a little hot and bothered about how much this group continues to clutch onto health as the lone way to show significant improvement. No one is denying that it’s always important to keep your best players on the floor, but there are also ways to ensure injuries don’t hurt a team’s ceiling as bad as it did for the Bulls last season. In other words, they simply could have been more aggressive about filling gaps on their roster this offseason.
- Caruso also had some interesting remarks on the many trade requests we see in today’s NBA. Do you agree with him?
- Speaking of aggressively pursuing free agents, the Bulls did throw plenty of eggs in the Gallinari basket. According to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, the organization did offer him more money, but the veteran couldn’t turn down the possibility of playing for a franchise that meant so much to his family. I would have really liked Gallinari on this Bulls team, but I can’t really blame the Bulls for not sealing this deal. The heart wants what the heart wants.
- The Bulls having actual, like, good players is still something I’m getting used to.
- So much drama.
- Bears might suck this year, but I’m still so excited to watch Justin Fields.
- The Youth Movement is upon us.