Summer League 2019: Update 1

Coby White shows off his blazing speed, flashing past his defender in his Bulls Summer League debut. Picture from Getty Images.

Summer League and the living is easy as the old song goes, or something like that. The Chicago Bulls started off their rookie showcase in strong fashion, clobbering the Los Angeles Lakers, 96-76, on Friday night. Coby White had a strong first game as the Bulls latest point guard of the future, showing off his speed and mid-range game. He had some nifty passes, some careless turnovers, and didn’t hit a three pointer, so he has some room to improve. He did show effort on defense and his size and dedication helped lead to some turnovers, but again he has some room to grow on D.

As good as Coby White looked, the game belonged to the other Bulls rookie, Daniel Gafford. The big man ruled the paint, throwing down monster dunks on lobs from his teammates, setting screens, grabbing rebounds, and swatting shots. He was a real presence on the court and was a big reason why the Bulls won by 20 points. Something I noted while watching Gafford play was his ability to draw loose ball fouls with his positioning on the offensive glass. He forced multiple Laker players into rebounding fouls, giving the Bulls extra possessions on offense. If he can continue to draw those fouls in the regular season, Gafford will have a long and productive career.

Chandler Hutchison played some quality minutes in the game. There was a small stretch of time in the second or third quarter where asserted himself and helped expand the Bulls lead, it was encouraging to see from the second year wing.

Shaq Harrison had a very Shaq Harrison game. He played some strong defense, forcing turnovers that led to easy buckets for the Bulls, but he also missed some easy shots at the rim and turned the ball over more than I was comfortable with. It will be interesting to see if the Bulls keep him on the roster (Editors Note: They didn’t).

Injury News:

Wendell Carter Jr will miss all of Summer League recovering from surgery to repair what is believed to be a sports hernia. All the reports I’ve read say he should be healthy for training camp.

Coby White seems to be nursing a tweaked ankle. He thinks he’ll play through it and finish Summer League, we’ll see if the Bulls allow that to happen or simply shut him down until training camp.

Transaction News:

Last week, the Bulls signed Adam Mokoka to a 2-way G-League contract. Mokoka is a 6’5” 190 lb combo guard out of France. He made his Bulls debut in the game against the Lakers. He started at Small Forward (the Bulls started a three guard line up) and scored 10 points while grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists. Not too shabby.

I started writing this post Saturday morning after Friday nights game, and by Saturday evening the news broke that the Bulls have waived both Shaquille Harrison and Walter Lemon Jr. They needed to make room on the roster for the recently signed Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky, and Luke Kornet. Unfortunately, both Harrison and Lemon Jr are on the Bulls Summer League Roster. I don’t know if that means they can play with the Bulls for the rest of Summer League or if they are now Free Agents looking for a squad. I guess we’ll find out later today when the Bulls play their second game. Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!