Bulls Insider

Bulls open NBA Summer League action vs. Pelicans

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Bulls Insider

So which logo will Lonzo Ball be wearing when he sits courtside to watch the Chicago Bulls' NBA Summer League opener versus the New Orleans Pelicans on August 9?

That's a light-hearted way to announce that the NBA released the official 75-game slate for the 30-team extravaganza, which didn't take place last year as the pandemic raged. It's typically a hotspot for elder stars to cheer on their young and new teammates, but there's no guarantee, of course, that Ball is planning to attend, will be employed by one of those teams or even have his restricted free agency status resolved.

What is for sure is that second-year forward Patrick Williams, fresh off his stint with the U.S. Select team that prepared Team USA for its Tokyo Olympics run, is scheduled to participate in his first Summer League. It's unclear if 2020 second-round pick Marko Simonović, who is widely expected to sign for this upcoming season, will participate.

Either way, the Bulls are guaranteed at least five games:

  • Aug. 9: vs. Pelicans, 2 p.m. CT on ESPN2
  • Aug. 10: vs. Spurs, 7 p.m. CT on NBA TV
  • Aug. 12: vs. Timberwolves, 3 p.m. CT on NBA TV
  • Aug. 15: vs. Grizzlies, 9 p.m. CT on NBA TV

They will also play at least one playoff game.

Two-way signee Devon Dotson also is scheduled to play for the Bulls' summer-league team, whose roster has yet to be announced. But most eyes will be on Williams, whom the organization is counting on to take a big step after a solid rookie season. Coaches and teammates have implored Williams to become more aggressive, and this setting provides a platform for showcasing that dynamic.

"Regarding Patrick, we’re very excited for him," executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas said shortly after the regular season ended. "He’s been through a ton this year. Learning experience. 19 years old. I don’t think there’s a player on the team that was asked to do more than Patrick. I think he guarded always the best player on the other team. And defensively, he was actually switching and playing different coverages, different positions. When you do pick-and-roll coverages as a primary defender and then as a big defender, there was a lot flying at him. I think he’s a very unique case.

 

"Usually when you get a young player, you build his arsenal. You add certain things to his skill set. Pat has a lot of those skills. It’s just when he is going to choose to use them. And we saw glimpses in the Brooklyn game lately of what this kid can do. I think the sky is the limit for him. He’s going to have a summer for the first time. He knows again what he needs to work on. I’m looking forward to seeing his growth. He came in a situation where winning is important besides the development piece. All that pressure he was facing this year I think will benefit him."

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