Did the Chicago Bulls make a mistake by releasing Mac McClung?

Mac McClung, NBA Dunk Contest Champion, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Mac McClung, NBA Dunk Contest Champion, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

If the name Mac McClung sounded familiar before he captured fans’ hearts at the 2023 NBA Dunk Contest, that’s because he previously played for the Chicago Bulls on a 10-day contract just last season. Although he’d be unsuccessful in his efforts to make the Bulls’ main roster, he would however go on to make history as the first G League player to participate in the Dunk Contest before going on to win it all.

McClung’s aerobatics provided a breath of fresh air for an event that desperately needed to be revitalized. Most importantly, he knew how to play to the crowd and helped put elevate the energy in the arena by making each of his dunks on the very first attempt.

Chicago’s own All-Star DeMar DeRozan and former Bulls legends Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol were all gathered in attendance to see McClung put on a show. And put on a show he did, as you an see all four of his dynamic dunks here in case you missed it live.

Should the Chicago Bulls have given the 2023 Dunk Contest champion Mac McClung more time to prove himself?

As much as I appreciate Mac for potentially helping save the Dunk Contest, there’s no reality in which he would have ever accomplished the same feat for this franchise. Even considering how rough this team has looked at points over the last year, there’s a reason why McClung only saw the court for two and a half minutes of garbage time action in a Bulls uniform.

I’m not saying there isn’t a chance he finds his way onto a roster permanently, but a borderline role player isn’t what a contending Bulls team needed last year with only one seasoned veteran on the roster.

After averaging 15 points for both Georgetown and Texas Tech at the collegiate level, McClung is undeniably a talented player worth consideration. In 18 games in the G League this year, McClung has achieved impressive splits of 17.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.6 rebounds while being a reliable shooter; there’s certainly an argument to be made that he deserves another chance in the NBA.

But if McClung gets that chance, it’s not going to be in Chicago. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As phenomenal of a show he put on at the Dunk Contest, I highly doubt we will look back at McClung as a missed opportunity in the same vein as Spencer Dinwiddie. Bulls fans can rest easy, as they’re not likely to see McClung on the court again until next year’s All-Star Break rolls around.

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