[Thanks to TheHungarianJordan for today's recap -yfbb]
The Bulls opened their Summer League season with a very entertaining game, defeating the Timberwolves 84-71 in a game they were comfortably ahead for pretty much the entire time.
The story of the game though was First Round pick Bobby Portis, who visibly outplayed #1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns. Portis scored 23 of the team's points in 27 minutes on 9-14 shooting, adding 7 rebounds, a block, and an assist.
Portis showed off a very versatile game. He had some nice touches in the post, showed some range in going 3/4 on 3 pointers, and was also excellent getting out in transition. He beat Minnesota's bigs consistently down the court and even had two nice alley-oops.
Portis was advertised as a high intensity, high motor guy and he definitely showed that off today. Not only was he all over the place running the floor, but he had a great attitude and aggressiveness while he was on the court. He was glaring at opponents early and often.
Along with Portis' excellent play, Doug McDermott had a nice game offensively as well. McDermott scored 20 points on 9/16 shooting, mostly on aggressive drives to the lane. He flashed a nice ability to finish at the rim throughout the game.
This was also the first opportunity for Bulls fans to evaluate Fred Hoiberg's offense and Jim Boylen's defense. Usually, one of the lower assistants on NBA teams get a shot to take over the summer league team. Since Hoiberg and Boylen are new, the Bulls had them run the team instead.
We were told that Hoiberg's offense would introduce a very fast pace, lots of movement, and creativity. He did not disappoint today. The Bulls ran a lot in transition and got shots very early in the clock. By my count, the team only had four possessions where they shot the ball with less than :05 remaining excluding end-of-quarter holds. Hoiberg also played McDermott at the 4 in some interesting stretches, and we saw some of the cool weaves and off ball movement that he was famous for at ISU.
Hoiball was hyped as a 3 point-heavy offense, and the SummerBulls did not disappoint there either. The team took 34% of its shots from 3, which is a lot. As a frame of reference, the Bulls were 16th in 3 point rate at 27% under Thibs last season. 34% would be good for 2nd in the NBA if maintained over the course of last season.
Even Cameron Bairstow joined in on the action. He went 1/4 from 3, which is four more attempts than he tried all of last season. Hoiberg had him frequently sitting in the corners for that look. That's a great sign for Pau Gasol, who was terrific at corner 3's last year.
There's not much defense played in Summer League, but new lead assistant Jim Boylen has been entrusted with defensive responsibilities and he coached the team to an impressive effort. Minnesota shot just 32% from the field. Boylen, like Thibs, could be heard from the sidelines screaming "ICE!" on pick and rolls. It looks like he may keep some of the same defensive philosophies as last year's team.
Overall, it was exciting to see such a great game from Bobby Portis, who clearly had the best game of anyone on the floor today, and to witness promising signs from the new coaching staff.