Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Chicago Bulls Suddenly Have An MVP Emerging In Summer League


The Chicago Bulls already have a good team in place for the 2022-2023 season. It would be welcome news if they had some younger talents ready to take a big step forward. One of them is Marko Simonovic. He was a 2nd round draft pick for the team back in 2020, the first of what many hoped might be a solid pipeline to Europe under Arturas Karnisovas. He only appeared in nine games last season. So hopes were high he might be able to take a step forward going into the 2022 Summer League.

It seems the Bulls got their wish. The team pushed their regular season to 4-1, tied for the best record. There is no question that Simonovic is the biggest reason for their successful run. He is shooting a respectable 50.8% on field goals, averaging 5.4 rebounds, and has topped 17 or more points in three of their four victories. There is little doubt that if the Bulls can navigate their way to a second Summer League title, he will be their MVP.

Chicago Bulls need to see if Simonovic deserves more minutes.

Right now, the hierarchy at center is set for the Bulls. Nikola Vucevic remains the starter, while veteran Andre Drummond was signed as a free agent to back him up. That means Simonovic will compete with Tony Bradley for a chance to be part of the opening day roster. Undoubtedly, he can offer some help in the paint as a scorer. The Bulls need to know whether he’s worth anything on defense and on the boards.

The good news is Summer League MVP is hardly an arbitrary award. Players that have won it in the past have had productive NBA careers. Brandon Clarke is one example. Kyle Kuzma is another. The Chicago Bulls don’t need Simonovic to fill a crucial void in the roster. They want to know if they can trust him if one of their primary big men gets into foul trouble. How he finishes this coming week will say a lot about his progress.

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