Summer League 2019: Final Impressions

The Chicago Bulls split there final two Summer League games, coming from behind to beat the Charlotte Hornets, 75-72, on Wednesday night, and losing to the Orlando Magic on Saturday, 85-73. Rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford both played well, while 2nd year veteran Chandler Hutchison was less than impressive. Let’s break Bulls Summer League down with some Good, Bad and Ugly.

The Good:

Coby White brings the ball up the court. Photo from Yahoo! Sports.

Coby White looks like a promising prospect at the point guard position. From the first tip-off of Bulls Summer League to the last buzzer, he played hard and he played to win. You could see he didn’t like losing. The great thing about White, his emotions didn’t overwhelm him. Even as the frustration of the losing and sloppy basketball pushed him to play harder, he was never out of control. That’s an important quality in any professional, and it’s great to see in the Bulls latest point guard of the future. I was happy too that White avoid the downward spiral of failure. Instead of buckling under a cascade of negative emotion like we’ve seen from other former PG prospects (Cameron Payne, Jerian Grant), White kept an even keel and played his game. If he can continue to play for wins, and play through adversity, he might just make it in the NBA.

Daniel Gafford looks like he can be a solid NBA Big. He is a good screener and rebounder, he throws down monster dunks, and he hosted a week long block party in Las Vegas. He finished with 14 blocks for the tournament, an average of 2.8 per game. With Gafford showing out, we may never have to watch Cristiano Felicio play basketball for the Bulls ever again.





The Bad:

Chandler Hutchison was a turnover machine. He just kept cranking out turnovers. After a solid performance in the first game, and sitting out the second, Hutch committed 11 turnovers in the last 3 games of Summer League. That’s not a good look for a guy who has seen substantial NBA action, and who the team is counting on to make a solid contribution from the bench next season. Hutch is one of the few Wings the Bulls have on the roster, he can’t show up to regular season with a case of the butter-fingers. In his defense, he was handling the ball a lot more than you would expect him to do in the regular season. The Bulls were using him as one of their primary ball handlers, a task he clearly hasn’t quite grasped yet. At least they were working on it in Summer League, and not the middle of December when the games might mean something.

The Ugly:

Coby White needs a shot doctor. His shot is ugly, and it’s not going in. Too many of his shots are clanging off the front of the rim. One of the more attractive parts of White’s game at North Carolina, was his ability to score from beyond the perimeter. So far, his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting hasn’t manifested itself. This could be nothing more than a statistical aberration due to a small sample size, or it could be a sign that Coby White doesn’t have NBA 3 point range. Either way, it wasn’t pretty to watch.

Just as unsightly, Chandler Hutchison is still driving the ball straight into the teeth of the defense and forcing up wild shots. This is a habit you would hope he would have broken as he enters his second season in the NBA, but he still enjoys taking on multiple defenders at the rim instead of passing the ball out to the open man. Someone needs to remind Hutch that when his drives to the rim drag multiple defenders out of position, one of his teammates will be open. He needs to make that pass.

So another Summer League comes to a close for the Chicago Bulls. It was a mixed bag of excitement and potential. The Bulls finished 2-3, but more important than the record, it looks like they’ve drafted a couple of players that can make positive contributions for many years to come. These games have left me excited for the regular season. I’m looking forward to seeing how White and Gafford fit with the rest of the Bulls roster. In the weeks to come, I’ll be looking a little closer at the Bulls free agent acquisitions, and the destiny the Front Office is steering this franchise toward. Certainly more excitement and potential are on the horizon! Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!