Against a Los Angeles Lakers team with solid players like Josh Hart and Mo Wagner, the SummerBulls struggled. They couldn’t seem to get out of their own way as they had 18 turnovers and shot 30.4% from the field in a 69-61 loss. Only one player for the Chicago Bulls scored over double digits and it was Matt Williams Jr. with 12.
But the point of Summer League isn’t wins and losses, it’s more about the development of the players. That is the real focus of it and the spotlight is on the three young guys on the SummerBulls. Let’s take a look at how they did.
It was a disastrous game for Antonio Blakeney as he scored a mere 5 points in 28 minutes of action. He shot 2 of 15 from the field and took some ill-advised shots. Blakeney has the potential to be a dynamite scorer but his shot selection is questionable and he can shoot you out of games cause of it. It’s especially bad when other guys like Carter Jr. or Chandler Hutchison could have used those touches.
This again points to how Blakeney’s flaw as being too one-dimensional as a scorer can hurt his chance of becoming a solid player in the NBA. He has to learn to trust his teammates more and really work on his shot selection. Blakeney can be a good spark off the bench for the Bulls this season but he really needs to tweak some parts of his game first.
The Boise State rookie had an ok night, scoring 7 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. Like Blakeney, Hutchison was poor from the field, shooting 3 of 10 from the field. If there was any positive from him offensively it was that he knocked down his lone three-point attempt, but we need to see way more from him shooting the ball to have any confidence in it.
Hutchison did show a willingness to drive, a skill he used at Boise State. While he could possibly draw fouls (which he did well in college) there is also a solid chance the refs swallow their whistle and we end up watching Hutchison take these wild off-balance layups. Against the Lakers we saw the latter. He went to the line zero times and had a tough time scoring at the rim.
Defensively he was fine and it was really nice to see him come down and crash the boards. One thing which both of Chicago’s draft picks have done well is rebounding the ball. Both have showed they don’t mind doing the dirty work and it’s a great attribute to have.
Wendell Carter Jr.
After a great performance in his opening game, all eyes were on Wendell Carter Jr. to see what else the Bulls rookie could do. In this game Carter Jr. played well considering the limited amount of touches he had along with the fact that he missed most of the third quarter with what looked like a left leg injury.
Carter dropped 9 points and 7 rebounds in this one. He did a good job getting to the line, hitting 5 of his 8 attempts. But the fact that he had only 5 FGA’s was poor from the SummerBulls all round. Carter Jr. is clearly the best player on this team and should be getting more of a look on offense. When he did get the ball, he showed he can make an offensive impact. Like in one possession where he backed down Wagner and finished a fade away left handed hook shot, it was fun stuff.
Hoiberg talking about Carter. Carter scores with the left on Wagner pic.twitter.com/3g77i0Uykx— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) July 9, 2018
Carter also kept on being an amazing rim protector, swatting shots left and right. His ability to play help defense was really good, rotating over to contest at the hoop at the right times. There was one sequence where Carter Jr. blocked a shot, the Bulls turned it over right after, and facing a 3 on 1 fast break he nearly blocked it again. Despite the injury Carter played really well. The issues about lateral quickness seem to be fading away by the day. He has been far and away the Bulls best player in Summer League. Really looking forward to him playing alongside Lauri Markkanen soon.