The Bulls’ Summer League schedule ended with a 93-85 victoryover the Minnesota Timberwolves. That gave them three straight wins and a 3-2 record overall. Rookie James Johnson led the team with 18 points and 7 rebounds. In five summer games, Johnson compiled some nice all-around averages: 16.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 3.6 APG. His 40 percent shooting was a little low for a big man, but the Bulls are used to that.
Fellow rookie Taj Gibson missed the team’s final three games with a sore foot. In the two games he did play, Gibson averaged a double-double (13 PPG, 10 RPG) while shooting 55 percent. One concern, other than the injury, is that he swatted only one shot…and this is a guy who finished his college career as USC’s all-time leader in blocked shots– third Pac-10 history. He also racked up 19 fouls in those two contests.
The Summer League pretty much confirmed my suspicions about the two rooks. They have talent and potential, but they’re pretty raw. Fortunately, they won’t be expected to do much heavy lifting this season, barring an injury to Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah or Brad Miller. Still, it’s nice to have the added depth in the front court, especially since the back court depth is wafer thin.
Summer League Info
Chicago Bulls: Summer League Central
I love the NBA Summer League. It provides the perfect opportunity for rookies (and a handful of non-rookies) to pad their stats so the media and fans can get way too excited about contests that are slightly less meaningful than preseason games. Golden State’s Anthony Randolph “ravaged” the Bulls for 42 points while Chicago rookies James Johnson (21 points) and Taj Gibson (12 points, 14 rebounds) looked mighty impressive.
Reality check: Adam Morrison led the Summer League in scoring before his rookie campaign…after which he went on to average 11.8 PPG on 37 percent shooting and lose his starting job midway through the season. (And he was playing for a 33-win team that wasn’t exactly loaded with talent.) Heck, Adam’s averaging 20+ points in Summer League action right now. What does that tell you?
I’m not saying some of these kids might not turn out to be good. They might even be great someday. But let’s try to keep things in perspective. I will say this, though: I was pretty hyped up about Gibson’s seven offensive rebounds. Hitting the offensive glass is a pretty sure sign that somebody is working their butt off. Let’s hope that’s a continuing trend.
In other news, Scottie Pippen has a message for Bulls management: get better players before Derrick Rose burns out. Said the Pipmeister: “As good as he is, you can beat a dead horse only so much. If he’s not motivated here by winning as his career continues, then he’s going to start looking at guys like Ben Gordon who made a move [to Detroit]. Playing this game is a lot of fun. But the meat-and-potatoes of this league is winning. If you’re not on a team that’s winning, it takes a lot out of you as a player.”
This is only going to be Derrick’s second season, right?