The dream of raising a championship banner in July has died in the Vegas sun: the SummerBulls struggled offensively throughout the night in their playoff opener against the Heat, eventually falling 68-62. It was the Bulls' first loss of Las Vegas Summer League, but it's one that drops them to the consolation bracket of the tournament. It appears as if Charles Boozer will have to wait another year to get that career-validating ring.
The SummerBulls' sorry offense could best be tied to the man who entered the game as Vegas' leading scorer: guard Andrew Goudelock. Goudelock torched defenses his first two games in LVSL, but turned in his second straight clunker on Thursday. Goudelock finished 2-for-14 from the field for four points. I accept full responsibility for jinxing him.
Any hope of Goudelock catching on with the big squad might be finished. K.C. Johnson reported the Bulls only want to keep 13 players, and still have interest in signing a veteran big man off the free agent scrap like Marcus Camby. The roster is at 13 right now if you count the unguaranteed deal of Malcolm Thomas, and truthfully, Thomas is probably a better fit at the end of the bench. Of course, the Bulls are allowed to keep 15 players if they choose, but luxury tax (what else?) concerns will likely make Goudelock a casualty.
On the positive side, Marquis Teague continues to play well. The now-second year guard ended the night with a team-high 21 points, shooting 5-of-11 from the floor and getting to the free throw line 10 times. He still had five turnovers, an issue that has been his lone black mark in an otherwise stellar LVSL performance, but it's comforting to know that Teague showed something in Vegas, regardless of the level of competition. He won't be slated to get many minutes when the season opens, but I have a sneaky feeling Hurt Kinrich (copyright: @rightfieldsucks) won't be able to stay on the floor the entire season. Teague should get a chance at some point this year, and hopefully he builds off a strong Summer League to the point where the Bulls will trust him as a full-time backup point guard a year from now.
Tony Snell struggled shooting the ball (2-of-8 from the field, 1-of-4 from three), but he finished with 12 rebounds and looked good defensively. He's so long and skinny and athletic. I didn't love or hate his selection at No. 20, but I've mostly liked what I've seen from him in Summer League. Don't expect much as a rookie, but there's no reason to doubt the Bulls can develop him into something useful.
I will admit: I like watching SummerBulls when the starters are the floor, and I thought it would be funny if they won the SummerChampionship. Alas. At this point, I'm pretty used to the Heat crushing hopes and dreams.