Bulls: 3 winners and losers from the 2022 Summer League

Chicago Bulls, 2022 NBA Summer League (Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bulls, 2022 NBA Summer League (Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) /

When Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu were officially declared to be foregoing playing in any actual games during the 2022 NBA Summer League, I imagine most Chicago Bulls fans — like myself — were disappointed at the news and began preparing themselves for a few preseason beatdowns.

That, however, never happened. Not even close. In fact, the Bulls would go on to post a 4-1 record, with their lone loss coming against the eventual Summer League champion New York Knicks. For a roster that was expected to feature two, maybe three low-end NBA players, this was a shocking success.

While Chicago had a few standout performers, not everyone reveled in personal success. Here’s a look at three players I believe positively impacted their future outlook, and another three who perhaps suffered as a result of the 2022 NBA Summer League.

The Chicago Bulls experienced several highs and lows en route to posting a surprisingly dominant record in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Winner: Carlik Jones

Following two consecutive Summer League stints where he’s looked far and away the most well-rounded player on his roster, it’s hard to deny that Carlik Jones likely deserves a two-way spot on an NBA team at this point. Jones led the Bulls in assists, steals, and 3-point percentage in Las Vegas while chipping in 11.6 points per game on 53.7% shooting from the field. Based on his play and what we learned during our interview with Jones, he may very well already be on a collision course with the NBA.

Loser: Akoldah Gak

When the Summer League roster was first announced, Akoldah Gak was among the most exciting names on the list. Making the trip from Australia, Gak looked to prove himself and earn a shot in the NBA after a promising season with the Illawarra Hawks. Unfortunately, Makur Maker would end up consuming most of Gak’s minutes and potential play time, as Maker’s game simply looked far more polished at this point in time.

Winner: Marko Simonovic

Before Williams and Dosunmu were formally ruled out of Summer League play, I doubt anyone expected Marko Simonovic to be Chicago’s star in Las Vegas, yet here we are. Averaging 15.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, Simonovic was the Bulls’ most dependable source of production and helped propel the team to its 4-1 record.

Starting with a 27-point explosion against Dallas and concluding the Summer League with another 26-point performance against Philadelphia, Marko has a lot to be proud of as he returns home from Las Vegas.

Loser: Tony Bradley

Already suffering a blow after the Chicago Bulls’ decision to bring Andre Drummond on board, things aren’t looking any easier for Tony Bradley not that Simonovic appears willing to battle for a spot in the rotation. There are still several clear weaknesses in both Bradley and Simonovic’s games, however, so whichever player manages to overcome said weaknesses stands the best chance at seeing the floor next season.

Winner: Dalen Terry

Despite a rough start, Dalen Terry continued to improve in each subsequent Summer League. Taking on a large offensive role was something he did not have to do in his two seasons at Arizona, so it’s understandable there would be a few growing pains.

But as we saw more of him, he demonstrated an ability to shoot the open 3-ball, dish out impressive assists, be a quality on-ball defender, and cut to the basket for easy looks. These are all skills that will translate to the main roster and will help Terry find a sizeable role if he can do these things consistently.

Loser: Justin Wright-Foreman

Already competing with Malcolm Hill, Javon Freeman-Liberty, Ethan Thompson, and Sindarius Thornwell for minutes at the two-guard slot, Justin Wright-Foreman did himself no favors with his Summer League play. Of those five players, Wright-Foreman finished 4th in both points per game and field goal percentage.

He did look very fluid while on the court, but considering he doesn’t offer much in the way of playmaking, rebounding, or defense, it’s hard to justify putting him out there if his shot isn’t falling. Soon set to turn 25 years old, this Summer League may have put a damper on his NBA aspirations.

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Now that the action in Las Vegas has wrapped, we can expect Terry, Simonovic, and two-way players Hill and Justin Lewis to carry on fighting for minutes with the Chicago Bulls. Most of the Summer League roster will never play for the Bulls again, and that’s ok. We wish the best for Carlik and all the others who helped this team enjoy a very memorable Summer League, and good luck on the next step in their professional basketball journeys.