The Chicago Bulls have a lot of decisions to make heading into the 2021-22 season. After making some big moves at the trade deadline this Bulls team fell flat. They now find themselves trying to figure out what pieces to keep. One piece of this Bulls team that has yet to wear a Bulls jersey is 2020 2nd round pick Marko Simonovic. He’s a 6’11” 220lb big man who currently plays for KK Mega Bemax in Serbia. After the Bulls drafted him the front office said they would keep him playing in Europe for “at least a year”. Here we are heading into the 2021-22 season and we wonder if Simonovic will be on the court for this Bulls team. Simonovic on the other hand is continuing to play and hone his skills.
What a picture from today’s game for Chicago Bulls 2020 second-round Marko Simonović 😱
Get up or get out of the way!
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) June 1, 2021
Breaking down his stats
Simonovic has played in European leagues since 2017. In that time he’s improved quite a bit. So far this season he has played in 29 games and is averaging 15.3 PPG, 47.6 %FG, 9.14 RPG, & 1.76 APG. He has recorded 11 double-doubles so far this season for KK Mega Bemax. He’s performing well for his squad in the Serbian league. That’s great to hear from the Bulls 2nd round pick but the biggest concern is can his game translate to the NBA level. There are a lot of people wanting to compare Simonovic to Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic. Most of that is due to the fact that he was also drafted in the 2nd round by Arturas Karnisovas. That’s still to be determined but the Bulls first need to make a decision with him.
Should the Bulls bring him over?
The toughest part about evaluating whether the Bulls should bring him over or not is what are their plans? With Simonovic’s build, he wouldn’t fit as a typical center. The Bulls have centers Nikola Vucevic and Daniel Theis so they are good there. His build would however work as a forward and the Bulls are likely parting ways with forward Lauri Markkanen. If the team is looking for a cheap replacement for Lauri then they seem to have their man. That’s not to say that Simonovic couldn’t hit the weight room and bulk up once he gets here. But if he looks good for the Bulls he would certainly take over the role Lauri was attempting to fill.
It also depends on how the Bulls want to play this offseason. We still don’t know if they are going to act as an above-the-cap or under-the-cap team. This will determine who stays and who goes. I think regardless of who is let go and who stays, Simonovic is a good cheap option for this team. He’s performed well in Serbia and the hope would be those skills translate to the NBA. In my opinion, bringing Simonovic over this summer to compete with the team is a no-brainer.
He is part of the Bulls plans
At the end of season press conference, Simonovic was brought up. When asked about the Bulls plans with Simonovic, Arturas Karnisovas had this to say
Well, he’s in our plans. We’re going to look at it. He is still going to play some of his season I think for the Serbian league, but once the season is over we’re going to evaluate all of his season and see what we can do. But he is in our plans for sure.
To me, it sounds like the Bulls front office is going to evaluate his play once they have already decided what to do with the current team. By that I mean they are going to make their moves and then determine if he should come over or not. Being on a rookie contract would certainly help the Bulls financially. If they believe he can come in and make an impact the front office will absolutely get him in the building. It would be nice if he could participate with the Bulls this summer. That would at least allow everyone to get eyes on him in person and make their own opinions. This could become an intriguing story this offseason so keep your eyes peeled for more to come with the Bulls European big man.