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Bulls Summer League game preview: Bulls vs. Cavs

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Summer League title quest begins tonight

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The quest to recreate the glory of the 2016 Summer League championship begins today for the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls will begin their three-game Las Vegas Summer League slate with a matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8:30 p.m. ESPN 2 will televise the game.

Here’s a few fleeting thoughts about the game tonight and Summer League in general.

Blakeney Show

In terms of talent level, the Las Vegas Summer League is very similar to the NBA G League. Many of the guys in Summer League end up on two-way contracts or on G League rosters once autumn rolls around.

Nobody appreciates that little nugget more than the G League legend himself Antonio Blakeney. Last season with the Windy City Bulls, he averaged 32 points on 23.8 shots per game.

Summer League games are shorter than G League games by eight minutes, so Blakeney probably won’t average 30 a game. However, Blakeney will shoot early and often as he’ll surely be featured in the Bulls offense this summer.

Whether he can shore up his playmaking skills and find his offense more in the flow of Hoiball will determine the substantiality of his role with the Bulls next season.

Moral Support

In 2016 when the Bulls were Summer League champions, they were supported every step of the way by Rajon Rondo which was the beginning of an unbreakable bond between himself and the younger players that persisted through all the ‘Three Alpha’ drama.

Will Kris Dunn be the SummerBulls good luck charm this summer in Vegas?

In an Instagram story, Cameron Payne also tagged his location as Las Vegas so he may be out supporting his teammates too. That’s a good sign, right?

All jokes aside, older guys taking time out of their schedules to support the younger guys can only benefit the Bulls in the long run.

Who’s Next?

Last summer, Blakeney earned himself a two-way contract by standing out in Summer League.

Who is this summer’s Blakeney? Local kid Donte Ingram (Loyola; Simeon) is a popular choice. But there are several other candidates.

Will No. 7 pick Wendell Carter Jr. be able to fill up the box score in every category and outperform his more highly touted collegiate teammate Marvin Bagley III? Can Chandler Hutchison flash a higher ceiling than the second-unit role player role many project he will fill? Can Ryan Arcidiacono take another step and show he has an NBA-level skillset?

Or will one of the more obscure names on the roster heat up in Vegas? A lot of the fun of Summer League is in the surprises, and the Bulls should have at least one or two this summer.

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The Bulls play two other “regular season” Summer League games.

On Sunday at 10:30 p.m., they will square off against the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN 2. Then they will play the Atlanta Hawks at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. This game will air on NBA TV. The Bulls record in these games will determine their seeding for the tournament at the end of the Summer League with matchups and dates to be determined.