Some positives for Chicago Bulls in summer league, but 3-point shooting is awful

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comThe Chicago Bulls top two picks from the NBA draft, Daniel Gafford and Coby White at the Advocate Center in Chicago.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comThe Chicago Bulls top two picks from the NBA draft, Daniel Gafford and Coby White at the Advocate Center in Chicago.

Updated 7/11/2019 6:59 PM

It goes without saying that no one should get carried away with anything that happens in NBA summer league.

At the same time, any player who can be a decent contributor on an NBA team should be able to dominate in summer league. Just think back to the Doug McDermott years.


So where does that leave the Chicago Bulls?

With plenty of uncertainties.

The original plan was for Wendell Carter Jr. to join the Bulls' summer squad, but he had surgery to repair a core muscle injury this week. So that left rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford as the biggest names on the roster, along with second-year forward Chandler Hutchison.

Here's a few takeaways from the Bulls' four scheduled summer games in Las Vegas:

• White knows how to score. His best moments came when he attacked the basket. He was able to score at the rim and had some nice footwork to set up short jumpers.

Playmaking was a mixed bag. White produced 16 assists and 16 turnovers, a ratio that should improve. Pushing the pace hasn't been much of a factor and the limited practice time in the summer might explain that.

The biggest negative is 3-point shooting. White is 3-for-26 from 3-point range in Las Vegas, good for 11.5 percent. The entire Bulls summer squad is struggling to shoot the ball, hitting just 19.3 percent from behind the arc as a team. Long-range shooting help is not on the way, it seems.

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• Gafford has potential. The 6-foot-11 center from Arkansas has had an uneven summer performance. Twice, he has produced 20-10 games. He also has had nights with 6 and 4 blocks.

At times, Gafford brings the high-energy, high-motor, aggressive game the Bulls need. With Robin Lopez gone, there are minutes to be had at backup center. So Gafford has a chance to contribute right away. Consistency is important, but these high notes are a good sign.

• Chandler Hutchison should do better in summer league. Maybe we can cut him some slack since he missed the end of the season while rehabbing a toe injury. But that injury doesn't excuse his 29-percent shooting in Vegas. He went 2-for-13 from the field in the blowout loss to New Orleans.

The Bulls took on roughly $14 million in extra salary to get the first-round pick they used to take Hutchison. Obviously, they need him to at least become a solid rotation player soon.


• Two-way player Adam Mokoka didn't show a whole lot this week. You could argue he was outplayed by St. John's rookie Justin Simon, a very similar 6-5 shooting guard.

It's tough to tell what the Bulls will do with their second two-way contract, but they should at least offer it to point guard Walt Lemon Jr. Maybe he will have a chance to make an NBA roster, but through three seasons, the Windy City Bulls started winning consistently the day Lemon showed up.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls


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