September 25, 2022

The Chicago Bulls opened their 2022 Summer League roster with a – dare we say, thrilling – 100-99 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Bulls trailed up 16 in the second quarter but recovered to start their Las Vegas 1-0 run.

Here are some observations from the competition:

Simonović’s Forage Stat Sheet

Much has been said as the Summer League approaches about Marko Simonović’s earnings in the offseason. According to the sophomore big man, he’s added 25 pounds since the start of his rookie season, going from 215 to 240.

How did this translate on the field? In a word: Quick.

Simonović started the game by rinsing home the Bulls’ first two buckets – one, a float after reeling a pocket pass while rolling hard to the basket, the other a thunderous comeback dunk. He also buried a 20-foot jumpshot and blocked a Mavericks block on his first-quarter pass.

This hot start hinted that Simonović had a strong presence in the Bulls’ summer offense. He finished the game with 19 shot attempts, 10 more than any other teammate.

The results were mixed, as he missed several looks at the basket in the middle of the game and failed to immediately quell questions on his outside shot by going 0 for 3 from 3 points.

But Simonović gets credit for playing closer to the stretch. In the final minute of regulation, he submitted two solid finishes – one a layup after an offensive rebound, the other a transition slam which he followed up with a double bicep flex – to tie the score 90- 90 and send the game to overtime. In the closing moments of that period, he stole and made a transition layup and one to put the Bulls ahead 99-97; then, after Dallas equalized again, he pulled off a contested offensive rebound and converted a free throw that followed to win the game.

Overall, Simonović finished with a double-double of 27 points and 13 rebounds and added 3 blocks and a steal. His emotional celebrations in the final moments of the game say that, although it was an exposition, this performance meant a lot to the developing big man.

Do-it-all Dalen

Bulls first-round pick Dalen Terry didn’t look much for his shot on his Summer League debut, scoring 9 points on 3-for-7 shooting. But he was active in other areas.

On the defensive side, Terry’s energy level jumped off the screen, especially while navigating screens, chasing loose balls and battling for rebounds as a 6-foot-7 guard. He even used his 7-foot wingspan to block a jump attempt in the first quarter.

Terry has also been deployed as a playmaker on several occasions, with mixed results. He made a few clean cross pennies, and even an all-court touchdown late in the fourth quarter. However, there were enough errant tries for him to finish with a 6-to-6 assist-to-spin ratio.

But playing aggressively and overcoming mistakes is what the Summer League is all about.

Two things were slightly disappointing about Terry’s debut: one, we only got two looks at his jumpshot, which was cited by Terry and Bulls Brass as an area for development. He badly missed a contested pull-up early in the fourth, then missed a 3-point try minutes later.

And second, Terry didn’t have much success finishing the few drives to the basket he did. On three occasions, the Bulls rookie has been called for offensive fouls for pushing back his defenders, underscoring the need to improve his strength. Two of his three field goals have come on quick outings, which is where he thinks he will thrive the most.

Other nuggets to note

  • Malcolm’s Hill, who filled one of the Bulls’ two-way slots last season, continued his bid to do the same this season with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Going 2-for-2 from 3-point range, he also hit half of the Bulls’ four long balls in the game. They shot 4 for 14 from range as a team.
  • justin lewiswho already has two-way insurance from the team, started strong with two dunks in his first quarter stint and finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds.
  • In addition to shooting the ball poorly from the outside, the Bulls, as a team, committed 21 turnovers in the gamea reminder that the Summer League environment is far from analogous to actual NBA competition.

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