With training camp underway, the Chicago Bulls have been active in filling out their roster. They currently have 19 players and not everyone is going to be there when the regular season tips off on October 23rd. Chicago has brought in some players they are interested in developing as prospects or to fill out the end of their bench. Some of these players were on their Summer League team, came from their G-League team, or were on Chicago’s draft board this past June. Here is a quick primer on the four guys Chicago has brought in for training camp.
Justin Simon should be a familiar name if you watched the Bulls during the Las Vegas Summer League this past July. He was a part of their roster, averaging 6.8 points with an effective field goal percentage of 51.6 in the five games Chicago played. Simon’s biggest contributions came defensively in Vegas. He was able to stick in front of his man with his 6’5 frame and also caused some havoc by knocking the ball loose to force turnovers. Simon had a steal rate of 3.12 in Summer League and flashed the defensive prowess which earned him the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2018-19. With a 6’11 wingspan, Simon can more than hold his own defensively and it’s the strongest part of his game.
However, he has had his share of struggles offensively. In his three seasons in college, Simon recorded an effective field goal percentage over 50 percent only once. He can move the ball, averaging 4.1 assists per game in his final two years at St. John’s. Yet when it comes to stretching the floor, defenses will be more than happy to let him shoot. Although Simon shot an okay average of 35.1 percent in college, he barely took any attempts. He averaged 1.7 three-point shots per 100 possessions and took just five shots from behind the arc in Summer League.
Chicago signed Simon to an Exhibit 10 deal and it could turn into a two-way contract. At the moment it seems like Chicago will be keeping Kris Dunn, making it a tough mountain to climb for him to crack the guard rotation. Simon will need to show some flashes of being more well-rounded offensively but can be a defensive stopper for the Windy City Bulls if the Bulls want to develop him in the G-League.
Like Simon, Callandret is a familiar face to the Bulls organization. He was also on their most recent Summer League team but barely got any playing time. Callandret averaged a mere eight minutes of action in Vegas. He spent five years at Idaho for college and at 6’2, he is another player vying for point guard minutes on the team.
Offensively he has shown the potential of running an offense, averaging around three assists his final year with Idaho. Callandret averaged 40 percent from deep last year as well but we would need to see an uptick in volume before declaring it a real strength of his game. Defensively, his size will limit him to guarding only point guards and he’s not an aggressive defender, averaging less than a steal per game during his entire career with the Vandals.
With his limited showing in Summer League, there isn’t a big sample size to work with when looking at Callandret. It’s possible Chicago could sign him to a two-way contract and he will be battling with Simon for point guard minutes during the pre-season.
Chicago was also active with their G-League franchise. They made a trade for Milton Doyle in exchange for JaKarr Sampson and the fourth pick in the G-League draft. Doyle was a solid player for the Loyola Ramblers from 2013-2017, with a career point per game average of 13.3. He was an average three-point shooter and also could dish the ball to open teammates along with providing some help on the boards. Yet he struggled with his overall offensive shooting numbers.
Doyle spent some time with Brooklyn Nets as a two-way player. He played 10 games for the main team and started 44 games for the Long Island Nets in 2017-18. Doyle averaged 20 points per game in the G-League, showcasing his skills as a guard who can do multiple things offensively. Doyle shot 37.2 percent from deep on 8.8 attempts per game along with 4.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds. In today’s NBA, you can never have enough shooting and Doyle can give the Bulls another threat from deep, during the pre-season at least.
Chicago sees something in Doyle, otherwise, it would seem like a waste to trade both Sampson and a top-five pick for him. He spent last season in Spain so it’s been a while since he’s had any NBA action. Doyle should get some minutes during the pre-season and will be one of the main key contributors for the Windy City Bulls. If he impresses during training camp and preseason, the Bulls could be inclined to offer him a two-way deal. Since he will be playing an hour away, they can also monitor his progress during the season.
Shittu worked out for the Bulls this past summer during the draft process. The forward from Vanderbilt went undrafted but played for the Grizzlies. He played three games for them with the first two coming in Salt Lake City. He averaged 3.5 points and three rebounds in those two games. In college, Shittu gave Vandy some inside scoring with 10.9 points per game and helped out on the glass with 14.6 rebounds per 100 possessions.
Offensively Shittu is primarily an inside scorer, rarely venturing outside the paint. At 6’10 and with a 7’1 wingspan, Shittu makes for an interesting defensive prospect. He can match up with both positions in the frontcourt. The wingspan will aid him when it comes to defending switches and protecting the rim. With Wendell Carter Jr. now healthy along with the signing of Luke Kornet, it’s unlikely for Shittu to make the roster but it shouldn’t be surprising if he gets some pre-season minutes.
Having played only one season of college basketball, Shittu is a very raw prospect. He has the potential to be a solid backup big in the NBA, particularly cause of his defense and wingspan. There is a lot for him to work on and Chicago could be inclined to have him play in Hoffman Estates this season.