2 Studs and 2 Duds in Bulls’ first weekend of Summer League play

Marko Simonovic, Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Marko Simonovic, Dalen Terry, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Javon Freeman-Liberty, Chicago Bulls, NBA Summer League
Javon Freeman-Liberty, Chicago Bulls, NBA Summer League (Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) /

Stud: Javon Freeman-Liberty

With so many members of last year’s Summer League roster sitting this year’s festivities out, an opportunity presented itself for someone to step up and take advantage. So far, it looks like no one has understood that assignment quite as well as Javon Freeman-Liberty.

After failing to secure a two-way contract spot with Chicago last year, Freeman-Liberty has been nothing short of electric thus far. Perhaps this should come as no surprise after he averaged 18.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game on the Windy City Bulls last season, but even that doesn’t compare to how he’s fared against better competition in the Summer League thus far.

Javon was the star of the show against Memphis, as he contributed 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while drilling 60% of his shots from the field. If he keeps playing like this, I see no reason why the homegrown talent can’t play his way into a two-way deal with the Bulls.

One Bulls guard has been scorching hot, while the other’s flame seems to be flickering out.

Dud: Nate Darling

With so many interesting players worth giving a thorough look at on this year’s roster, you could color me surprised when I saw Chicago’s decision to run Nate Darling out in the starting lineup in the team’s first two Summer League games. Darling has logged 51 minutes (third-most on the team) and taken 27 shots (second-most on the team), despite converting on just 10 of those attempts.

Now I’m all for giving the young talent a fair chance to display their talent, but giving this long of a leash to a supposed high-volume scorer who’s converting at a 37% clip feels a little unreasonable. This is especially true when a few promising prospects such as Jontay Porter, Tyree Appleby, and even Chicago’s newest rookie Julian Phillips have seen limited playtime on the bench behind Darling. It might be time to shake things up to see what the rest of the roster is capable of now.