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Chicago Bulls Summer League final takeaways

Here are five observations from the Bulls 2021 Summer League campaign

NBA: Summer League-Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It was nice to see Bulls basketball for this first time in months. These past five games in the Summer League held in Las Vegas allowed fans and the coaching staff to get a good look at some of the younger members of the roster in Patrick Williams, Ayo Dosunmu, Marko Simonovic, and Devon Dotson. There were also other players on the roster fighting for either a two-way contract or training camp invite. Players such as Ethan Thompson and Tyler Bey who showed potential to be a solid candidate for those types of contracts.

As with any players, each of them had their respective ups and downs. They showed reasons to be optimistic about their contribution to this Bulls team this season but also displayed the parts of their game they need to improve on.

Patrick Williams Impressed

Overall, it was a solid and successful Summer League campaign for Patrick Williams. There were times where he easily looked like the best player on the court and frankly, too good for summer league. Williams once again flashed some of the offensive potential we saw in brief moments last season. His pull-up jumper was effective and kept defenses honest, he had a couple nice dunks. More impressively, he was knocking down threes, either off the catch or even off the dribble. Williams averaged 21 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in Summer League. As for his shooting, he hit 43.8 percent from three on an average of five attempts. His defense was as usual: while he still did struggle a bit against guys on the perimeter, he showed prowess as a rim protector.

It was nice to see Williams play as the primary offensive option and one of Chicago’s leading ball handlers. But there are also things to work on his game as well. He struggled to beat guys off the dribble on the perimeter at times and then also disappeared offensively for stretches, which is something we saw last season.

But as for his role this season, the three-point shooting and off-ball movement were far more the important aspects of his game to watch for. With all of the Bulls new additions to the team, Williams won’t have that huge of a role on offense in terms of creating a shot. He’ll find himself having a lot of kick-out three-point opportunities or passes into the paint if he cuts in from the perimeter or baseline.

Marko Simonovic could be a solid backup this season

There was a lot of intrigue and buzz surrounding Marko Simonovic before Summer League. This was his first game action with the Bulls after playing overseas last season. With all of their frontcourt departures this summer, the Bulls were hoping that Simonovic would show that he was a player who would at least be in contention for backup big man minutes this season. It’s safe to say that his Summer League campaign did just that. Simonovic averaged 12 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field. There were skills on both sides of the ball which Simonovic impressed at. He was able to knock down shots from mid-range and displayed some nice passing vision. Defensively he played the pick and roll well as a big man and also attacked the glass aggressively too.

Although he did show some nice moves in the post, Simonovic also did struggle at times to finish near the rim. There are also concerns about his strength, as larger big men were able to move him out of position and when he drove at them on offense, he bounced right off them, going backwards or sideways in the process.

Ayo Dosunmu showed some promise

Ayo Dosunmu struggled in his first Summer League game but bounced back with strong performances the rest of the way, averaging 12.2 points and 4.4 rebounds. The rookie was lethal in transition, scoring on multiple dunks while also finding teammates for easy layup and dunks. Dosunmu made really good decisions in the open court, whether he had the ball in his hands or not. He always knew when to make the right move and where.

He was solid in terms of on-ball defense, sticking with his man and recovered nicely even if he was beat off the dribble. It was clear his big frame bothered opposing guards.

But he still did struggle with some of the aspects of the game which hindered him in college. He averaged 1.6 turnovers and he shot less than 10 percent from three on only two attempts.

Dosunmu faces an uphill battle in terms of getting consistent rotation minutes this season. He could be a spark off the bench but is going to have to make an impact in preseason games, with Coby White’s shoulder allowing Dosunmu to getting minutes at the start of the season.

The last two-way spot is up for grabs

With Devon Dotson signing his qualifying offer last week and coming back to the Bulls on a two-way contract, that leaves only one more such contract left for Chicago to offer. There are a couple of guy from this Summer League roster who could be in contention for it.

Ethan Thompson showed some nice shooting off the bench and is a guy who can handle the ball. There is also Tyler Bey, a wing who can defend on the perimeter and whose athleticism can cause problems for any offensive player.

Troy Baxter Jr. should be in the mix too. He showed in college that he can score and in Summer League, his athleticism was surely on display with three alley-oop slams in the Charlotte game alone