3 Bulls who impressed in 2022 Summer League debut against Dallas

Marko Simonovic, Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Marko Simonovic, Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Look, I’ve just got to say that Summer League was not supposed to be this fun. Since all but two members of the main Chicago Bulls roster have opted to sit out, there seemed to be very little reason to tune into this year’s festivities in Las Vegas. Alas, it took just one game for this group to show everyone they’ve got something to prove.

Down 16 points in the third quarter, the Bulls were able to rally and force overtime against Dallas’ dynamic duo of Jaden Hardy and A.J. Lawson ⁠— who each dropped 28 points on Chicago. It took a masterclass performance from a certain Montenegrin big man, but the Bulls fought back and scraped out an intense 100-99 victory. Again, the Summer League has no right being this fun to watch.

This was also our first look at the Bulls’ rookie and 18th overall pick, Dalen Terry. While he struggled to take over on the offensive end, Terry showed many signs of being able to affect games positively with his playmaking and defense. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more from him as the Summer League progresses. It’s already hard not to love the energy and emotion he’s brought to the team as a vocal leader early on.

As for the big win against Dallas on Friday, these 3 players had standout performances and should continue to play a big role for this team in the next three games.

With most of the main roster sitting out, these 3 players made the most of their opportunity to shine on the Chicago Bulls Summer League team.

1. Marko Simonovic

As the clear star of the show, this list wouldn’t be right without Marko Simonovic at the top. While many fans have been cautiously optimistic about Simonovic’s future with the team after a lackluster rookie season, he clearly showed he can be a solid rotation piece if he continues to polish his game.

Simonovic registered 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks against the Mavericks, all team-highs. What’s more, he did it all on great efficiency, going 10-for-19 from the field, 7-for-8 from the charity stripe, and only committing two turnovers.

It’s possible that Marko’s improvement could be attributed to the 25 pounds he claims to have gained since last year; he clearly had a size and strength advantage against every other player on the court on Friday. It will be interesting to see how Marko continues to perform against teams that have legitimate big men that can patrol the paint.

2. Carlik Jones

Scoring just 6 points on 1-for-7 shooting from the field, I wouldn’t blame someone for thinking Carlik Jones had a bad game based on that stat alone. But if you watched closely, it became obvious how the team became a better unit as a whole whenever Jones was on the court.

This is why he had a game-high +18 plus/minus, and all of Dallas’ runs seemed to come whenever Carlik was on the bench. Jones also led the team with a game-high 9 assists. His vision and passing were just on another level compared to every other player on the court.

Even when he wasn’t scoring, his dribble-penetration made an enormous impact by forcing help defenders to the lane and allowing Jones to dish it out to open shooters. This is the style of play the Chicago Bulls are likely looking to emulate in the regular season, so it’s nice to see how effective the system can be with a competent point guard at the helm.

Although Jones did miss the game-winner at the end of overtime, I would like to point out that he was the one who stripped the ball from Hardy and dished out a perfect assist to Simonovic to force extra time in the first place. Even his missed go-ahead shot attempt had enough gravity to force Marko’s defender to help, which ultimately led to a wide-open offensive rebound and the game-winning points from Simonovic. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else Carlik can do in these next three games.

3. Malcolm Hill

Many were puzzled by the Chicago Bulls’ decision to lend the qualifying offer to Malcolm Hill, but he showed exactly why he’s worth the small investment on Friday. Hill is a jack-of-all-trades that rarely makes any glaring mistakes when he’s on the court.

Hill posted 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and another 2 steals in the win against Dallas. What’s most interesting is the way he scored his points, shooting an efficient 4-for-6 from the field but actually scoring an equal amount of points at the free throw line, where he shot 8-for-10. The Bulls as a team were awful at drawing fouls last season, so this may be another indicator that the coaches know a change in the formula was necessary.

Already 26 years old, Hill’s upside and potential are probably quite limited. But even if he never becomes a star, that doesn’t mean he can’t carve out a quality role on a team.

Even Javonte Green didn’t play a single minute of NBA basketball until he was also already 26 years old. Green is now a valued member of the Chicago Bulls’ bench depth, so I wouldn’t put it past Hill to attempt to replicate the same energy and hustle that has made Javonte so cherished here in Chicago.

Next. Bulls aren’t just built to win now, but for years to come. dark