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Chicago Bulls Summer League: Grades and Biggest Takeaways from Las Vegas

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Chicago Bulls Summer League: Grades and Biggest Takeaways from Las Vegas
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

On Saturday night, the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the Las Vegas Summer League tournament with an 80-61 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Bulls prized rookie Doug McDermott didn't play as a precaution due to a sore left foot. Tony Snell continued his strong showing in Las Vegas with 20 points, but it wasn't enough.

Here's a look at the final summer league statistics and grades for all the Bulls players who played in Vegas.

Player and Grade G GS MPG FG% 3P% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
Doug McDermott - A- 4 4 28.8 0.442 0.444 4.0 2.8 0.0 0.8 3.0 18.0
Kendall Williams - F 5 1 12.0 0.231 0.500 1.2 0.8 1.0 0.0 0.6 2.0
Brandon Paul - N/A 0 0 0.0 0.000 0.000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Lazeric Jones - B+ 5 5 21.8 0.514 0.667 2.4 4.6 1.0 0.2 1.4 10.8
Billy Baron - D+ 5 0 18.4 0.257 0.263 3.4 2.4 1.2 0.0 0.8 5.6
Tony Snell - A+ 5 5 30.2 0.466 0.500 4.0 2.8 0.8 0.6 1.2 20.0
Austin Freeman - C- 5 0 20.0 0.438 0.273 2.8 0.8 0.8 0.2 0.6 6.8
David Wear - C+ 5 0 14.6 0.556 0.600 2.0 0.2 0.8 0.2 0.4 4.8
Chad Posthumus - C 4 0 12.0 0.400 0.000 2.5 0.3 0.3 0.3 1.5 3.3
Cameron Bairstow - B 5 5 26.2 0.531 1.000 7.0 1.4 0.8 0.6 1.6 10.2
Lance Thomas - C+ 5 5 21.8 0.583 0.000 4.4 0.4 0.4 0.2 0.8 7.6
Davante Gardner - D 4 0 3.3 0.556 0.400 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 3.0
Team Averages 200 0.453 0.423 33.6 15.8 7.0 2.8 11.2 87.2

stats per NBA.com, Grades by Mazique

 

The Takeaways

Defense

Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Even with the loss, the Bulls have to consider this year's stay in Las Vegas a success. Although winning is secondary to player development in the summer league, the Bulls posted a 4-1 record. The 80 points it allowed Saturday night was the most the team gave up in all five games.

The Bulls' approach to defending clearly carried over from the big club to the summer league. That's a testament to the type of players the team brought in and the coaching staff. Adrian Griffin deserves most of the kudos for the way he ran the team.

It's only a matter of time before a team with a vacancy tabs Griffin as its next head coach. He and Quin Snyder both received second interviews for the Utah Jazz vacancy, but Snyder ultimately got the nod.

As for the players, not one looked like a complete defensive liability—not even McDermott.

 

The Rookies Will Fit In

Jack Arent/Getty Images

Obviously, most of the attention will be on McDermott from this group. The Bulls gave up two first-round picks to get him, so the pressure is on and the expectations are high.

In four games, McDermott looked like everything the Bulls should have expected him to be. He made 44 percent of his threes, 95 percent of his free throws and averaged 18 points in just 28.8 minutes of play.

The athletes will be bigger and faster in the NBA, but McDermott's shooting stroke and basketball IQ will ensure he is effective. He should give the team scoring punch off the bench and push Mike Dunleavy Jr. for minutes at the 3.

Less-heralded but perhaps equally as important as McDermott is second-round banger Cameron Bairstow. He's not the most athletic or fleet of foot, but he's a tireless worker on the glass and he knows how to use his body defensively.

Jack Arent/Getty Images

Offensively, he proved himself to be a very dependable mid-range shooter. Knocking down 53 percent of his shots was impressive considering a good number of them came from 12-15 feet away from the basket.

As it stands, Bairstow looks to be the only backup center on the roster. While Pau Gasol could slide over to center when Joakim Noah takes a rest, Bairstow figures to still play at least five to seven minutes a night.

If someone goes down, that number will increase significantly. The 23-year-old Aussie is mature enough to handle an increased workload should that situation present itself. Obviously, the Bulls hope to avoid the injury bug this season.

 

Tony Snell Looks Like a Different Player

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Snell is different. It's not just the fact that he cut off his cornrows; his confidence and demeanor have improved. Take this with a grain of salt considering we're talking about summer league, but Snell's ball-handling skills looked to have grown immensely.

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While he did depend on his ability to knock down the three in Vegas, Snell also showed his comfort in taking the ball to the basket driving left or right.

That's part of the reason he averaged 3.6 free-throw attempts per game. When you mix in that skill with his long-range attack, Snell has what it takes to be a solid bench contributor at the 2 or 3 spots for Tom Thibodeau.

It's really early, but he showed flashes of being the poor man's Kawhi Leonard, which is who he was most often compared to coming out of New Mexico.

 

Other Players Who Might Get a Call During the Season

Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

When injuries occur, teams will often reach out to players who have played for them during summer league.

Lance Thomas has some NBA experience with the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, but he didn't play particularly well in Vegas. In addition to that, the Bulls already have a ton of power forwards.

A more likely candidate to be a Bull at some point during the season is Lazeric Jones. The Chicago native was a high school teammate of Derrick Rose, and he spent two seasons at UCLA.

He started all five games for the Bulls in Vegas and averaged 10.8 points and 4.6 assists. His chances of making the season-opening roster were hurt significantly with a report from Marc Stein of ESPN that the Bulls were close to signing free-agent point guard Aaron Brooks.

If any of the Bulls point guards should go down with injury, Jones might get a look based on his solid play in Vegas.

 

Follow me on Twitter for all things Bulls.

@BMaziqueFPBR

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