Two games into the Chicago Bulls’ run at the Las Vegas Summer League and there’s quite a bit to like. After handling the Memphis Grizzlies 81-67 in the first game, the Bulls cruised to victory against the Denver Nuggets with a 93-81 win behind Andrew Goudelock’s 31 points and Malcolm Thomas’s 22 rebounds, a LVSL record.
As in the first game, the Bulls starters did most of the damage. After scoring a 2013 LVSL high 26 points on Saturday, Goudelock topped himself by pouring in a hyper-efficient 31 on 10/13 from the field, 5/6 from three and 6/6 from the line. Thomas, who had a double-double in the first game with 11 points and 10 rebounds, snagged 9 boards just in the first quarter en route to a 13-point, 22-rebound performance that was highlighted by this vicious dunk:
Marquis Teague was quiet early and disappeared for a chunk of the first half, presumably with some minor injury, but returned to score 15 points and hand out 7 assists. He even flashed a confident jumper, going 3/4 from outside, including making his only three-point attempt. Second-round pick Erik Murphy struggled mightily in the first game, but bounced back nicely with 18 points on 7/10 from the field and 4/5 from downtown. If he can hit those shots consistently in the NBA, he’ll give Tom Thibodeau a lot of options in the frontcourt.
Tony Snell was arguably the worst of the five starters, but he still scored 11 points despite going just 2/9 from the floor by getting to the foul line seven times. He also continues to show a good feel for the game, as shown in his steal that eventually led to the aforementioned dunk by Malcolm Thomas.
It is, admittedly, early, but Malcolm Thomas is making a strong case to stick around on the full time roster. He’s good defensively and his motor never stops, which you may notice as two of the key traits that make Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson successful. I’d slot him in as the fourth big, behind Gibson and ahead of Nazr Mohammed, but I’m not the one in charge. If Murphy keeps making shots, he’s a good bet to stick around too.
It’s hard to get a read on the Goudelock situation. On the one hand, he’s been fantastic and the Bulls must have some interest in signing him if they convinced him to play for their LVSL team. On the other, they don’t really need more guards and Goudelock would thus find much better opportunities elsewhere, at least in terms of playing time. It definitely seems like he’ll get a training camp invite from someone, the question is which team. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
The Bulls’ next LVSL game will be July 16 at 7 p.m. central time. Be sure to follow @BullsBeatBlog if you aren’t able to watch. Or if you are, either or.