The NBA Summer League is underway. Where every year a mix of draft picks, D-League standouts, and low-experience NBA players go to show off their talents, in hopes of landing with an NBA team.
Marquis Teague and Jimmy Butler are the only players under contract from the Bulls. However the work that these guys are putting in now will equate to championship trophies one day.
How the Sumer League works, is a little different than a pre-season. Every non-contract player is in the spotlight for scouts and team executives for all 30 teams. So you could be wearing a Bulls jersey, but that means very little. The other complications include D-League contracts, and the teams who are direct affiliates to be able to claim players similar to, but not exactly like Minor League Baseball’s “farm system”. Players not under contract can be retained by their sponsoring team, however, with the tightness of most team’s NBA caps, the Summer League invite doesn’t guarantee you a contract for either the Bulls or the Iowa Energy. Confused yet? Well, in short, everything is dependent on each player’s commitments.
This year’s invite roster includes:
Jake Anderson, G, Illinois State University
Olek Czyz, SF, University of Nevada
Demetri McCamey, PG, Turkey
Leon Powe, PF, Ex-NBA(Celtics)
Jamie Skeen, PF, Israel
Jermaine Taylor, SG, Ex-NBA
Ramone Moore, SG, Temple University
Malcolm Thomas, PF, Ex-NBA
Chase Simon, G, University of Detroit
Henry Sims, C, Georgetown University
Edwin Ubiles, G/F, Dakota Wizards
Charles Abouo, G/F, BYU
Jimmy Butler is playing good basketball. After one game, he is among the best of the entire Summer League. His awareness was off the charts on both sides of the court. He scored 25 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, most of which, was very impressive, because you could tell that he was trying to give his teammates opportunities to shine, while he sits cool on contract.
Marquis Teague was shaky. He certainly wasn’t impressive, but not a disappointment either. He was very conservative for most of the game. His shot lacked a lot of confidence. He would hesitate on open opportunities and then keep his eye on the ground to see if he was within range. All of his issues can be coached and improved fairly quickly, so the concern is not there. Teague’s floor vision was decent, although very one-dimensional at times. He kept looking for the open man in the paint, or relief on the wings. Stats: 8points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, and 6 turnovers.
The early gems so far, have been Malcolm Thomas and Henry Sims.
Sims (7’0″ C, Georgetown) was projected to be a late 2nd rounder at best in the draft, but on the court, he looked incredibly polished for a rookie. The Celtics drafted Syracuse Center, Fab Melo, in the mid-first round, and Sims went undrafted. However, from this game, Sims looked more NBA ready, and like the better prospect, if only by a slight margin. The Bulls may have stumbled onto something here, if he continues to progress in the Summer League.
Thomas also did well defensively. He put up 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. He could very well be picked by an NBA team to make it into the 12-15 man rotations.
Leon Powe was expected to be a steal for this team, after being a filler-starter for the Celtics last season. There is no way to judge whether or not Powe is worth retaining, because he simply looked like a guy who hasn’t picked up a basketball, since his last NBA game.
Also, the Nebraska swingman from Poland, Olek Czyz, was impressive for an undrafted rookie. He is explosive and athletic. Very aggressive. In 10 minutes, he contributed 5 points, 2 rebounds and a steal. His skills are very raw, but he would be a low-risk, high reward type of player that could contribute at the NBA level within a season or less, and a good option for a Bulls team rebuilding their identity along with filling out the roster to survive the speed bumps ahead.
This first game highlighted a lot of bad. Bad footwork, positioning, communication, and reading on and off the ball. Ramone Moore doesn’t look close to being NBA ready, although on this roster and in this game, he is the best of the rest. There is still a lot to be seen in the coming week, thus why this was merely a first impression. Bulls lose 79-74 to the Boston Celtics.
The Bulls play the Rockets at 5PM on Wednesday. Because of conveniences, we could also get more clarification from the Omer Asik situation, and whether or not his offer-sheet was ever formalized due to the Jeremy Lin signing. The Bulls summer league team could wind up hoisting up the trophy or possibly some awards by the time it’s over.
You can see the rest of the Summer League schedule here.