The Bulls fell to the Orlando Magic 85-73 on Saturday night, with some sloppy play and rebounding woes being the main reasons for the loss. Here are a few takeaways:
Chandler Hutchisonâs rough Summer League continued on Saturday night.
In his 30-minute stint against the Magic, Hutch shot 3/10 from the field, which included going 1/2 from the 3-point line. Hutchisonâs 3-point shot still has a long-way to go and itâs not just about the fact that he shot 20 percent from 3-point range over four NBA Summer League games. Hutchison has had his fair share of particularly bad misses in Vegas that are reminiscent of his rookie season in which he shot 28 percent from 3-point range.
It wasnât all bad for Hutchison. He was aggressive on offense throughout Summer League despite his shot not falling, especially against the Magic on Saturday. Hutchison led the Bulls–by a wide margin–with 9 free throw attempts and chipped in 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. He missed rotations on defense here and there and had a few moments where he put in a weak effort in transition defense as well. But Hutchison averaged a combined 1.5 steals + blocks per game over four games in Vegas and was mostly active.Â
Summer League wasnât great for Hutchison but he is still entering a big sophomore season in which the Bulls are likely to be a much better team. He projects to be a plus defender but there is still much to be discovered about his offensive game.
Though his line of 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks isnât overwhelming, Daniel Gafford yet again he showed that he may be ready to contribute in a role that he clearly understands. Gafford has a soft touch around the rim and has been dominant in the paint throughout Summer League.
Gafford continued that on Saturday, shooting 7/8 from the field, including one back-breaking dunk that definitely sent a clear message: Gafford is always looking to finish with authority.
DANIEL GAFFORD đ„
The man just touched the back of his jersey with the ball before dunking it: pic.twitter.com/1Esvwuyb3F
â Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 14, 2019
Gaffordâs dunk even caught the eye of new teammate Thaddeus Young.
Ok big fella … say it with your chest … https://t.co/sfsDUAcySD
â Thad Young (@yungsmoove21) July 14, 2019
The fact that Gafford only collected 3 rebounds in just around 20 minutes is a bit concerning but he did spend most of the night with Hutchison or someone much smaller playing power forward next to him, contributing to that low figure.
Orlando was quick to double-team Gafford in the rare moments that he put the ball on the floor to make a move and he generally had multiple blue jerseys around him in the paint. He can play a bit out of control at times (6 personal fouls in 20 minutes) but doesnât turn the ball over a ton since his shot selection consists of putbacks and dives to the rim.Â
Developing a midrange jumper and improving his ability to attack of the dribble will be logical next steps for Gafford to become a more well-rounded center. But in the Bulls loss to the Magic on Saturday, Gafford yet again showed how devastating he can be as a simple shot-blocking, rim-runner.
While the dunks and blocks will get the headlines, my favorite play of the night by Gafford was a solid screen he set when the Bulls ran a nice âHornsâ set. His screen freed up Walter Lemon Jr. for a nice alley-oop.Â
What a play đ
Walt Lemon Jr. shows off his vertical for the oop: pic.twitter.com/IZeut2Jb06
â Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 14, 2019
New Bulls big man Luke Kornet figures to factor into the rotation somehow but there is a good chance we see Gafford get real minutes in the 2019-20 regular season.
The Bulls got a good look at their two 2019 draft picks over Summer League but they also got to see two-way contract player Adam Mokoka and G-League player (Windy City Bulls) Mychal Mulder. Mokoka is a 20-year old, physical wing out of France. He last played for Serbian club Mega Bemax and looks like he should at least be ready for the physicality of the NBA game.
Mulder is a 25-year old Canadian guard who played his college ball at the University of Kentucky. He is a great shooter and was one of the few perimeter threats on the Bulls Summer League roster outside of Coby White.Â
Mokoka and Mulder combined for 25 points and hit 5 of the Bulls 8 3-point field goals on the night. They wouldnât have gotten those 3-pointers up without White, who is starting to look more like an NBA point guard.
White couldnât get his 3-point shot going in Vegas, shooting a very disappointing 3-for-26 from 3-point range over Summer League. But he played like a floor general on Saturday night, racking up 8 assists and only 3 turnovers. It was perhaps his best âtrue point guardâ game despite the fact that he only chipped in 7 points.Â
Whiteâs play has been what you should expect from a one-and-done point guard who is a score-first player.
He has been erratic at times with his decision-making but White ultimately got better with the ball in his hands as the games went on. He often blew past his man so fast that he drew multiple defenders, only to see a teammate miss the wide open 3. White will be fine as long as he continues to make those same, simple reads at the NBA level, as players like Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine will not be missing open looks.Â
The biggest thing I saw from White in Saturdayâs game against the Magic was his ability to get off a shot in the midrange after getting free with a snake dribble in the pick-and-roll. Since he isnât the most explosive finisher–in terms of finishing over length–Whiteâs ability to function at a high-level in the short midrange area will be a key development over his career and Saturday night was a step in the right direction.Â
The Bulls didnât produce a lot of wins in the 2019-20 NBA Summer League. But they were able to show that for the second summer in a row, they are adding two intriguing, young players to a steadily improving core.