Advancing to the Summer League Finals is a fun little accomplishment, to be sure. And after defeating the Cavaliers 85-79 in the semis, the Summer Bulls will indeed attempt to raise a Summer League championship banner (if that's even a thing) in Monday night's final. Their opponent, you ask? Yeah, it's the Timberwolves, which makes things all the more interesting from an entertainment standpoint.
Just a wild guess here, but I'd imagine Tom Thibodeau wants to take any-and-every opportunity to beat his former employer. And who could blame him?
At any rate, as for this game against the SummserCavs, it was actually pretty compelling towards the end, which is what makes Summer League so oddly enjoyable. The end of Summer League games are pretty much a wild goose chase. It's a beautiful culmination of panic and courage.
The Summer Bulls 'Three Alphas' of Bobby Portis, Crisitano Felicio and Denzel Valentine carried the team throughout the game -- as they have done all summer, really. The Alphas combined for 47 points and 23 rebounds. Valentine, in particular, has looked especially promising. His jumper might not be all there yet, but he's shown the potential to become a true point forward. I see some Hedo Turkoglu in him, and I really like how his head is always up as soon as he starts to advance the ball up the court.
Felicio and Portis, meanwhile, look to be far superior to Summer League competition, which is definitely encouraging. Both of them are pretty far advanced offensively. They seem to have developed some decent chemistry, too. Portis even attempted to throw a big-to-big lob to Felicio which ultimately failed to connect. However, seeing Bobby Portis throw that type of pass is a win, because I'm pretty sure you can count all the passes Bobby Portis made from all of last season on one hand.
Of course, it's not all rainbows, smiles and sunshine. Of players that will be on the roster come opening night, Jerian Grant has been pretty underwhelming. There's no true point guard 'competition' between Grant and Spencer Dinwiddie in that Dinwiddie is merely a camp invite to this point. Plus, the Bulls have a tendency to keep the 15th spot on their roster open, and they're presently sitting at 14. But Grant hasn't done much to convince me he's significantly better than Dinwiddie, and Dinwiddie's not exactly setting the world on fire, either.
There's still a lot of time for this stuff to figure itself out so this is mostly projecting, but I'm far from sold on Grant. He deserves some time to fully remove the Knicks stank, but I do hope folks realize he'll be 24 in October and that time is no longer a luxury -- no matter how many times Gar Forman reminds us Grant was a 2015 1st rounder.
But yeah, it's only Summer League, which is the most important caveat of all. No real conclusions should be drawn from any of this. Hopefully, enough guys played their way into professional contracts overseas.
As for the championship game, it's too funny that the Bulls actually have to face Thibs' new team. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to see Thibs get some vindication over GarPax after they did him dirty. Is a Summer League title vindication enough? Of course not. Well, unless you're Gar Forman. Because if they Bulls win tonight, you can bet the farm you'll hear about this championship at media day in October.