Grading the Chicago Bulls’ two-way signing of Malcolm Hill

Malcolm Hill, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Malcolm Hill, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The summer of “continuity” keeps on rolling for the Chicago Bulls, as they’ve officially brought Malcolm Hill back on a two-way contract following a solid rookie season with the team.

Although it was just his first year in the NBA, Hill will be turning 27 years old by the end of October and is far from a development project. Hill spent four years in college with Illinois compiling quite an impressive resume before spending four years playing overseas.

Fortunately for Hill, the Bulls have had much success in converting formerly undrafted talent into foundational core pieces, as seen with Alex Caruso and Javonte Green. Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first to break the news of Hill’s new deal with the Bulls on Wednesday.

The Chicago Bulls have officially filled all 17 roster spots for the 2022-23 season following the two-way signing of Malcolm Hill.

With all 15 main roster spots and the Bulls’ pair of two-way contracts now occupied, this means the roster for the upcoming season is now set in stone — barring any surprising last-minute trades.

  • Guards: Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Goran Dragic, Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White
  • Forwards: DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., Justin Lewis (two-way), Malcolm Hill (two-way)
  • Centers: Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond, Tony Bradley, Mark Simonovic

This also means that neither of Chicago’s Exhibit 10 signees in Carlik Jones and Javon Freeman-Liberty will make the full roster, despite each having shown much promise in the Las Vegas Summer League. They’ll now either head on over to Chicago’s G League affiliate, or join fellow former Chicago Bulls Kris Dunn, Devon Dotson, and Tyler Cook on the free agent market.

Hill himself will be spending a fair amount of time in the G League, as his two-way contract only allows him to spend a maximum of 50 games on the main NBA roster. Hopefully, some time with the Windy City Bulls will allow his personal game to thrive, as he averaged an impressive 18.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists on an incredible 71.4% true shooting percentage in eight G League games last year.

Still, it’s hard to shake the idea that the Bulls could have pursued a reclamation project with a higher perceived ceiling. Jarrett Culver, Sharife Cooper, Louis King, and Jahm’ius Ramsey are just a handful of the many talented young players still available in free agency, each of whom I’d have been very happy to see the Bulls give a trial run.

At the end of the day, each of those players were released from their former teams despite the “potential” they were believed to have. Hill, on the other hand, is a Midwestern kid and former Illinois star who has developed a strong rapport with his teammates in Chicago’s locker room. He knows the schemes, plays a position of need for the Bulls, and most importantly provides the energy and hustle you want to see from the end of the bench player.

Even if you’d have liked to see the Bulls sign one of their Summer League standouts or take a home run swing on a project player, it’s difficult to get upset over having a hard worker like Hill as the 17th man in your lineup. This much is especially true when he’s shown flashes of being a quality 3-and-D role player. Whether or not that ability can translate to the NBA level or not will ultimately decide if this was a great signing.

Grade: C

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