After narrowly losing to the Cavaliers and missing out on the Summer League playoffs, I wouldn’t blame the Chicago Bulls for resigning themselves to a relatively uninterested performance in their final game in Las Vegas last night. That’s not what we got from this team at all, however, as they played hard to trump the Wizards 90-85 to close out a very solid Summer League showing.
Dalen Terry in particular impressed, especially considering he struggled significantly in the team’s first four games. Averaging 10.8 points on 27.3% shooting entering Saturday’s game, a great many fans were down on Dalen after failing to use Summer League as a launching point to bigger things.
What we saw from him last night was certainly something to be impressed about, as the sophomore chipped in 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and converted 70% of his shots from the field. This strong outing helped the Bulls push past the Wizards, finishing with a 3-2 record and a top-10 finish in the Summer League standings.
Dalen Terry’s bounce-back performance should silence his doubters in the Bulls fanbase, at least for now.
Moving forward, it becomes far easier to envision Terry’s role with this team if he can maintain this level of play. A versatile wing that can play stout defense, switch on the pick and roll, push the ball with his playmaking in transition, and hit open threes is a very valuable asset in today’s NBA. But first, he just has to prove he can do these things consistently.
As it currently stands, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Torrey Craig are the only forwards who are locked into the rotation with guaranteed big minutes next season. This means there’s room for at least one more player to get heavy minutes. Barring another significant free agent signing, that means we’re likely to see Terry and recently drafted Julian Phillips battle it out for these minutes. Given his status as an 18th overall pick and the fact he already has one year of experience in Chicago’s system, he has to be considered the frontrunner for the role right now.
Terry was far from the only player to impress in Las Vegas, as both Javon Freeman-Liberty and Adama Sanogo capped off an already great Summer League showing with some of their best performances yet. Sanogo shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the field to score 15 points and reel in 9 rebounds, while JFL once again led the Bulls with 24 points while also contributing 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and even 2 blocks.
Since this roster lacked the star power and high draft picks that many other teams had, not many people expected much from the Bulls in the Summer League. It’s clear to see the Bulls have three very interesting prospects here now, and I look forward to seeing their development over the next few years.