More From the Drew League, Summer League Merit Badges, Benny Wants All the Smoke, and Other Bulls Bullets

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More From the Drew League, Summer League Merit Badges, Benny Wants All the Smoke, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

In case you missed the awesomeness, DeMar DeRozan got LeBron James to play in the Drew League for the first time in a decade.

To say the crowd went wild would be an understatemet:

  • DeRozan first rumored the potential link-up on Friday night, and he then spoke about inviting James to join him ahead of what would be a closely contested matchup: “I was sitting thinking about it, and I’m like ‘this is just dope for the city,’ you know what I mean? Obviously, LeBron being [here with] the Lakers, me being from here, I just thought why not? It just had to happen.”
https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1548658098113376256?s=20&t=7N4ME68L7sDhm48mK71Yag
  • While James brought the house down with some rim-rocking dunks and stepback 3s, DeRozan looked as unguardable as ever. The Third Team All-NBA member knocked down the same kind of contested mid-range jumpers and off-balance shots Bulls fans saw on a nightly basis last season. Watch the dominance below:
  • Seriously, this whole thing is just so darn cool. DeRozan and James had absolutely nothing to gain from taking the floor alongside those guys, but they did it out of love for the game and its fans. Moments like these just make my heart feel all warm and fuzzy (even if it does involve LeBron!).
  • Once upon a time, I did a thing here on BN where I rewarded Merit Badges at the conclusion of the season. I thought the end of Summer League offered an opportunity to bring back at least an abbreviated version here in bullets, so let’s run through a couple of badge winners! Disclaimer: I was never a Boy Scout or anything of the sort, so whether or not I’m even using these correctly can be left up to those of you who know how to tie knots way better than I.
  • The Big Boy Badge is awarded to a player who has frequented the weight room and shown real physical growth from one season to the next. To no surprise, Marko Simonovic earned himself this honor after an overall encouraging display where he averaged 15.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in five Summer League contests. After starting the event off with a 27-point, 13-rebound performance, Simonovic finished things with a similarly strong 26-point, 8-rebound performance on Saturday night.
  • We learned during Summer League training camp that Simonovic jumped from 215lbs to 245lbs between Summer League appearances. Elements of that newfound strength showed as he gobbled offensive rebounds and shot 11-15 from the field against the 76ers. For what it’s worth, we also saw him flash more of the versatile offensive game that was praised when coming from overseas. While his 3-point shot may not have been on display, he did show his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack on a couple of nice plays last night:
  • The Whatever It Takes Badge is awarded to the player who impacts the most areas of the box score, and there is no question Dalen Terry did just that. The Chicago Bulls’ No. 18-overall pick lived up to almost every expectation over his five appearances, looking like a player who will go the extra mile to make the winning play. He hunted for rebounds, constantly kept his feet moving off the ball, slid into spots for catch-and-shoot opportunities, found open teammates, and flew around on the defensive end. None of this is to say Terry played like a flawless product, but if the Bulls wanted a versatile and unselfish player who is willing to fill whatever role to influence winning, they got it.
  • The Winner Winner Chicken Dinner Badge is awarded to John Bryant, who led the Bulls Summer League squad to a 4-1 performance during his first-ever stint as head coach.
  • The Think Twice Badge is awarded to a player who made opposing front offices question their decision to pass on him in the draft. Considering he was sitting there for literally anyone to take in the second round, I have to imagine at least some executives are second-guessing their choice not to take a chance on Justin Lewis. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to give him the draft night stamp of approval, but he looked more comfortable than most UDFAs on both ends of the floor. His potential to eventually become a rotational stretch-four or small-ball five could be very real.
  • The Who is That Guy Badge is awarded to the player who nobody knew heading into Summer League but surely knows now. Carlik Jones claims that honor this time around, as the second-year guard scored over 17 points in two of the five contests, as well as dished 9 assists twice. Jones – who stands just six-foot-one – is a streaky scorer and fiery playmaker. I don’t see a role for him opening up in Chicago, but he may have done enough to grab another team’s attention.
  • The ‘I Just Love to Cheer for That Guy’ Badge is awarded to the player who commands your respect. Malcolm Hill continues to do just that with endless hustle and efficient scoring. He made it pretty easy to see over these five games why the Bulls decided to keep him in town over Tyler Cook, averaging 13.0 points (47.4% from downtown), 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steal per game.
  • Benny the Bull would have never let someone knock his head off.
  • Seriously, if AJ Dillon shows up to the United Center, he’ll be butt-first in a pile of popcorn faster than I can scream “Packers suck!” BRING IT ON, YOU STINKY CHEESEHEAD!
  • EXCUSE ME!?
  • You do you, coach.


Author: Elias Schuster

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