The initial few days of free agency for the Chicago Bulls has been a bit head scratching and frankly, a bit underwhelming. Nevertheless, the NBA schedule moves on and we are at the day where the Bulls tip off their 2022 Summer League campaign in Las Vegas.
Some younger Bulls will not be participating in Summer League, including both Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams. From Dosunmu’s point of view, it makes sense. Despite struggling in Vegas last season, his play quickly leapt off the screen and he found himself in the rotation in no time. Williams missed most of the season due to an injury and was inconsistent when he returned as it took place right before the playoffs started. Given he didn’t have a Summer League his rookie season, it wouldn’t have hurt for Williams to play a little bit in Vegas.
Still, there are some familiar names on the list along with a couple of players who could impress given playing time. Let’s take a look at the roster.
previously: part one - the fringe tryout guys
Guys We Know
After coming over from Europe last summer, we didn’t see a lot of Marko Simonovic during the season. He appeared in only nine games and there were even times where he didn’t even play during blowouts/garbage time. The only real film we have of Simonovic is from his time in Vegas last year. He averaged 12 points and 3.4 rebounds in five games. We saw that Simonovic can score in the post and can create his own shot from that area. He also has a bit of a mid-range game but mainly operates below the free throw line. However, the main problem was that he needed to get stronger. This was evident on both sides of the court. He failed to assert his dominance against bigger defenders in post offense and defense and had trouble grabbing rebounds as he was muscled out of position.
As with many second league players, the hope is that Simonovic worked on his game during the regular season and makes a leap in play during Summer League. He should be one of the better players on the roster and will absolutely have a starting spot. His development will be one of the main things to watch for during Chicago’s five games. He will be again fighting for backup front court minutes come fall. It’s a tall task with Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond ahead of him in the pecking order.
Malcolm Hill was signed early this year when the Bulls had to deal with numerous absences and injuries. He appeared in 16 games, averaging 10.4 minutes and 3.2 points. He was just there for backcourt/wing depth as Chicago tried to manage through having a handful of guys being out for what seemed like every game in December and January. Initially with was a 10-day which turned into a two-way contract. He stopped getting regular minutes after February and only appeared in blowouts after that. Like Simonovic, Hill will be looking to show he is one of the best players on the floor and in turn, earn himself a reserve roster spot on an NBA team come training camp time. He is turning 27 shortly after the season begins, so he should be overqualified for this league.
Guys We Scouted
All eyes will be on Dalen Terry whenever the Bulls play in Vegas this summer. There will be a couple parts of his game to watch for during Summer League. The first and most important will be his defense. It will be interesting to see how Terry matches up against fellow Summer League players and if he can seamlessly fit into defending at an NBA level. Another part of the equation is how many positions he will be able to guard. At 6’7 and with a wingspan over seven feet, he projects to guard positions one through three. Let’s see how he does against bigger NBA wings.
Offensively, Terry is a really good passer and can find open teammates even from the tightest of windows. There is a lot of playmaking potential when he has the ball in his hands. The hope for him in Vegas is that he creates a lot of open shots for his teammates. Even if the assist isn’t completed, just showing off his passing skills will be good enough as the hope is that in the regular season, his teammates will take advantage of those looks. Vegas will offer a chance for us to see just how willing of a passer he is.
His shooting will be heavily scrutinized as he struggled with this the most in college. There is a bit of a problem with the release and he had some bad misses last season. He showed to be a streaky shooter and got hot from three at times in college. This is the biggest question mark of his game and he will get open looks in Summer League. It’s just a matter of if he will knock them down at a sustainable clip or not.
Here is a more in depth breakdown of Terry’s game and how he fits with this years Bulls team.
Terry wasn’t the only addition Chicago made on draft night. Shortly after the conclusion of the second round, it was announced they signed wing Justin Lewis from Marquette to a two-way deal.
In his sophomore season at Marquette, he averaged 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in 32.2 minutes. At 6’7, Lewis is a wing player which the Bulls are banking on to turn into a decent role player if all works out. He can shoot the ball from three, making 34.9 percent of his attempts but the volume attempt is a bit low at nearly two per game. Lewis was one of the Golden Eagles top scorers and showed an ability to score both at the rim and from deep. He uses his size to bully smaller defenders and has a good enough dribble to drive past bigger defenders. He can also help out defensively as his size allows his to cover wings, which is something the Bulls certainly need more of. Lewis showed in college that he is a solid rebounder as well and will help clean up the glass.
Consistency is the bigger factor in his game. There were times when he would bite a little too hard on fakes or get beat off the dribble defensively. Offensively, there are times where his shot selection could improve, particularly when he gets into the paint or gets contested at the rim. Like Terry, he has had some bad misses from three so his shooting will be something to watch for as well.
As a two-way player, Lewis should be a guy Chicago wants to see a lot of during Summer League. It won’t be surprising to see him being named a starter and getting a ton of minutes. Given his contract status, we will see him in training camp and play for the Windy City Bulls. If everything goes right, Lewis could find himself at the tail end of the Bulls bench this year as a depth piece/backup.
Chicago is slated to play at least five games in Las Vegas. We know the time and TV channels for the first four. Here they are:
Game 1 - Chicago Bulls vs. Dallas Mavericks, Friday July 8th, 3PM CT, ESPNU
Game 2 - Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks, Sunday July 10th, 4PM CT, ESPN2
Game 3 - Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors, Tuesday July 12th, 4PM CT, NBATV
Game 4 - Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets, Thursday July 14th, 5PM CT, ESPN2
There will be a fifth game for any of the teams who do not play in the final, which will be announced later.
The Bulls will be coached by John Bryant, who has been an assistant with the team for the past two seasons. Other coaches on the staff in Vegas include current Windy City Bulls head coach and Chicago native Henry Domercant and Billy Donovan’s son, Billy Donovan III who is currently an assistant video coordinator with the team.