Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bulls Summer League Game One: Nuggets

How sad am I that the World Cup is over/desperate for real sports to start up again?

Well, the Chicago Bulls have their very first Las Vegas Summer League match (starting NOW on ESPN3: The Ocho) and I'm goanna watch it and report back for everybody! They're playing the Nuggets, who star Ty Lawson from UNC (28pts, 7ast in their last game) as well as J.R. Smith (what is he still doing playing Summer League?).

First off, let's take a look at the Bulls' roster. A couple of guys have NBA experience. James Johnson should probably be the standout on the team. He's the only guy I expect to contribute for Chicago this season, and if he doesn't play well in Summer League, Gar and Pax better be looking for a replacement.

Other "veterans" on the squad include Joe Alexander, who came from the Bucks in the Salmons trade, Chris Richard, who signed a series of 10-day contracts with the Bulls and played fairly well, and others.

Game on! Chris Richard wins the tip. After a Derrick Byars made three-pointer, Johnson blocks a shot with a foul.

I'll be back with some analysis after the first quarter.

Bulls starters: John Lucas (OK State), Byars (Vandy), Johnson (Wake), Richard (Florida), some other guy I can't spot.

FIRST QUARTER: The announcers note that Jeff Van Gundy is very high on John Lucas III, who has bounced around between D-League, overseas, etcetera. He's only 5-foot-10 but obviously has the NBA pedigree with his dad being John Lucas. Backup PG?

Johnson has played okay but did get an offensive and a defensive foul. The announcers are definitely trashing him in comparison to Taj Gibson, as well they should be, but he has now scored four in a row for the Bulls, and has eight total points early in the first.

Ty Lawson is the only one so far looking like a man among boys (eleven points without a miss midway through the first), though Coby Karl and Lucas have also played well.

Matt Bouldin from Gonzaga takes over running the point for Chicago. Bouldin makes a beautiful inside pass to Samardo Samuels, another rookie from Louisville for the Bulls. Commercial break!

Lucas: not a great shooter.

Announcers on Bouldin: He's a legit NBA prospect. "kind of a tweener 1/2" He has a nice assist and a nice pop-up 3 so far.

SECOND QUARTER: (bulls down 30-21)

Jack McClinton, the gunner from Miami (the U, not the Heat), is in for the Bulls now. Also Bouldin, Samuels. Pete Myers is coaching Da Bulls.

Lawrence Ekparrigan just owned Chris Richard on a drive to the hole. Who?

"You can tell this is game one for the Bulls and game four for the Nuggets." 37-21 Nuggs.

More on McClinton: He was originally drafted by the Spurs. An undersized two, he's basically a gunner. Which means, maybe, the Bulls could use him! "He's utterly fearless" say the announcers. He's also only 6-foot-1. By the way, it's David Aldrich commentating on this game, and some other guy.

Lucas likes the sideways-fading jumper. I've seen him one for two on 'em. Richard is ordering guys around like he knows he's making the team. Chicago is down 45-25 with 3:38 to go in the quarter. Apparently, Tyrell Biggs (from Pittsburgh, no?) was the guy the Bulls added to their roster late.

Derrick Byars, who is 6-foot-7, 220, really likes to shoot the three. But he's only hit his first two, and missed at least three more since then. His teammate, Ogilvy, has yet to get in for Chicago.

It's almost halftime, I promise after the game I'll distill this ramble into some coherent conclusions for everybody, but so far no one on the Bulls has much impressed.

Halftime stats:
James Johnson 17 min, 8pt, 1reb, 3TO, 3fouls. Grade: D+
Derrick Byars has the least lousy plus/minus, at -6. He has two threes and two turnovers. We'll give him a B.
Bulls overall: D-

Ty Lawson: 13pt, 3ast, 0 to, hasn't missed a shot. Grade: A
Coby Karl has a +16 in twelve minutes of very solid play. Grade: A
Nuggets overall: A- They're shooting 21-30. The Bulls? 12-25.

Lotta love for George Karl, who's trying to come back from cancer.

THIRD QUARTER: 54-30, Nuggets.

Lucas hits a big pull-up three. Maybe I need to revise my thoughts on his shooting skills. Lawson continues to play well. He's clearly the best player on the court. Meanwhile, Pete Myers is laying it on James Johnson about his lazy defense. They're talking about LeBron dunking on JJ in the playoffs.. let's see if I can do somethin' about it:

Oh right, that is nasty.

AJ Ogilvy is finally in for the Bulls. But JR Smith and the Nuggets continue to pour it on, they're up 64-33 now, with 6:44 to go in the 3rd. McClinton just got embarrassed by Ty Lawson. These two know each other from the ACC, by the way.

Bulls have another big, goofy white guy in. Let's see, who is this? Aha, Trent Plaisted, who just got a block! Only down 71-35. Ouch. You ready for something awesome? Here's Ty Lawson dunking on DJ Mbenga:

Meanwhile, McClinton is starting to pick it up in garbage time, with a couple of nice drives. He's got eight points now.

Coby Karl just had a great pass to Othello Hunter. Bulls are playing terrible. Well, except for Morris Almond, who has gone 3-block-2 in the last 30 seconds to end the third quarter. Nice little series for him.


Yeah, this is basically garbage time. They're talking about (drumroll) the Heat.

Samardo Samuels is one guy who might have a chance with the Bulls. I guess John Lucas III is another. James Johnson didn't play well, nor did Chris Richard, who didn't do much wrong, but also not much right. I'm wondering why Marquette's Jerel McNeal didn't play at all?

Bouldin looked pretty legit, too.


  1. Did you have money on this game? I don't think i've seen a minute of summer league in my life. If I never saw a game, i don't think i'd be sad.

  2. We got John Lucas III, what happened to JameSon Curry? I know we drafted him with Aaron Grey. We can recreate the OK State Backcourt!

  3. Yeah, sadly I have actually watched Summer League before. It's nice because you get a chance to see who can actually play in the league before hyping up guys. For example, AJ Ogilvy has no chance, at least as he is right now. I thought Plaisted thoroughly outplayed him.

    But Derrick Byars does have some decent upside, as does Samuels, and John Lucas III could eat up 8-10 minutes while Rose is resting, if needed. I'm worried about James Johnson though. he was treating it like a pickup game while Ty Lawson and JR Smith (the other two "legit" NBA guys in there) just looked dominant.