If there’s one thing more professional leagues should consider – it’s a summer league. Well, maybe not necessarily a “summer league” for organizations like the MLB who already play plenty of games during that time of year. But, a handful of games played by first and second year players in the middle of the offseason would be exciting for the NFL, NHL, and MLB. Fortunately, the NBA has already got their offseason tournament figured out, and that means us Chicago sports fans get to enjoy some Bulls summer league games once a year!
Right now, the 2023 NBA Summer League is well underway with all 30 teams set to wrap up their first four games by this Friday. Following those games, all teams will compete in at least one more, with the top 4 teams in the standings finishing playing in a semifinal game, before the final two teams battle it out for the NBA Summer League crown.
Our Chicago Bulls summer league is going pretty well so far. And don’t sweat it if you haven’t been keeping up with all the action. Let’s dive right into how our guys are doing!
Bulls Summer League Recap
The Bulls summer league schedule saw them going up against the Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
In their first game against the Raptors, the team pulled off an 83-74 victory. Dalen Terry logged 32 minutes on his way to 10 points, and despite going 4-14 shooting, he still helped lead the team to a win with his defense.
For their second game against the Grizzlies, Javon Freeman-Liberty led the team with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, but the team ended up falling to Memphis with a final score of 80-87. This game saw rookie draft pick, Julian Phillips, see his first minutes of NBA action after he finally signed his contract with the team with a four year deal.
Game three of the Bulls summer league saw them work their way back into the win column against the Kings. All the guys had a pretty strong game, with Phillips breaking out for 16 points, and Freeman-Liberty dropping 28 in the 107-99 victory. Dalen Terry had a quiet offensive night again with only four points, but it was his defensive play that made an impact on the game. Whether it can be attributed to some summertime rust or a bit of nerves with the expectation of being this summer’s leader, Terry will certainly look to improve his scoring output during the regular season. And if he can get that part of his game together to combine it with his defensive talents, things could start trending upwards fast for the young Bull.
With a 2-1 record, the Bulls entered their final summer league game with a slight chance to earn a spot in the semifinals. Facing a then 3-0 Cleveland Cavaliers team, it was clearly not going to be easier said than done to get the win. Ultimately, the Bulls only lost by three points, dropping to 2-2. Despite their record as a team, many players on the summer league roster showed promise and gave us fans a sign that the future is brighter than it may seem for this team. In the final game, Freeman-Liberty led the team again in scoring with 18.
What’s Next for the Bulls?
The Bulls summer league isn’t said and done quite yet, so the next thing up on the teams schedule is a final consolation game against the Washington Wizards this coming Saturday at 4 PM CST. For those with ESPN access, you’ll be able to watch the game there.
It’ll be awhile before the NBA preseason begins in October and we see some Bulls games again. Until then, the team should seriously consider signing Javon Freeman-Liberty to the main roster after his summer league showing. It’d be a huge miss to not even give him a chance.
Outside of that move, all that we can guarantee for the team between now and October is training camps and practices. To all the Bulls basketball fans out there: stay patient. This team will return to action before we know it!
Featured image credit: Chicago Bulls’ Instagram