Bulls

Rookies McClellin, Jeffery show why they were high picks

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Rookies McClellin, Jeffery show why they were high picks

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. The top of the 2012 Bears rookie class flashed on Thursday with the kinds of performances that made Shea McClellin and Alshon Jeffery Chicagos first two picks in the April draft.

McClellin, for the first time showing up repeatedly with impact plays, brought a roar from the crowd when he leaped and intercepted a Jason Campbell pass at the line. That was followed later by a sack in the full-team session, another near-sack on which he pulled up before impact, and several plays into the backfield that produced simulated tackles for loss.

The interception in particular was impressive, said coach Lovie Smith. But hes capable of making plays like that. When youre a first-round draft pick, theres a lot of pressure on you to be All-Pro right away. It takes time.

But he has great quickness and speed. He works hard. Good athletic ability. Nothing should stop him from being a real good football player.

Jeffery was elevated to the starting lineup opposite Brandon Marshall as coaches held out Devin Hester, who suffered an ankle strain last Saturday and has not rested it. He caught several mid-range throws from Jay Cutler and showed more of his ability to win strength battles against defensive backs for balls.

Hes got unbelievable hands, said receivers coach Darryl Drake. He has an unbelievable ability to catch the football. Thats one thing that he does have. He has size. His ability to catch the football. Hes a much better route runner than people realize. His route-running style is different so people dont see it. But he takes great angles.

Hes a little herky-jerky at times. Hes big. Hes long. His running style is a little different than some guys. But I really, really like what he does.

McClellins play was notable for reasons beyond just the playmaking. He was left on the field with second and third units and ended up taking more reps than any other defensive lineman.

But the more he was on the field, the more he was involved in plays. He beat tiring linemen with combination moves and clearly gaining confidence even as he works to change from a predominantly stand-up player to having his hand on the ground and engaging offensive tackles and tight ends right off the snap.

I would say Ive got pretty good stamina, Im a grinder and always try to go 100 percent, McClellin said. I think the heavy workload helps a little bit, yeah.

Would Wendell Carter Jr. be picked higher if the NBA Draft was today?

Would Wendell Carter Jr. be picked higher if the NBA Draft was today?

According to Bleacher Report, Wendell Carter Jr. would be taken fourth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies if the NBA were to redraft this year’s class based off of Summer League performances.

It may sound like a crazy concept (and it is), but Carter Jr. averaged the second most points, 14.6, through five July games in Las Vegas. He also averaged 9.4 rebounds and shot 55 percent from the field while averaging 28.8 minutes in his glamorous first-stint with Chicago. Those numbers are even more striking if you consider Carter Jr.’s 42.9 percent shooting from behind the three-point line.

Carter Jr., the real seventh overall pick of this year’s NBA Draft, looked like the all-around player the Bulls were hoping to get this offseason. He made his blocking abilities as a center known from the moment he stepped on the court in Summer League.

In their re-draft, Bleacher Report had Chicago using the No. 7 pick on the New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson, who was actually taken 36th overall in last month’s Draft.

Robinson, a center, averaged 13 points and 24.8 minutes per game over five Summer League contests. He was the best rebounder on his team with an average of 10.2 in the five games that the Knicks played.

The 20-year-old took the second most shots on the Knicks and had the highest field goal percentage at 67 percent, but Robinson did not have any three-point attempts.  What made his recent production seem even more surprising was the fact that the 7'1'' big man did not play a single minute of college basketball.

But would Robinson fit in the Bulls’ system?

Chicago has taken on an offense-first mentality, so Robinson would not be as great of a fit in the Bulls lineup as Carter Jr., but he would still be an impact player. He can be compared to the Bulls’ current center Robin Lopez, who averaged a similar amount of points per game (11.8 points in 26.4 minutes) last season as Robinson’s Summer League average (13 points in 24.8 minutes). And like Lopez, Robinson would be most effecive around the basket and in the pick-and-roll.

Robinson would also have to learn the defensive concepts that a veteran like Lopez has mastered over his 10-year career.

Next season, the Bulls will have an exciting scoring trio of Jabari Parker, Lauri Markkanen and Carter Jr. in the frontcourt. And the fact that Carter Jr. is getting so much love in the national spotlight is yet another reason for Bulls fans to be excited about this upcoming season.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis is joined by Scott Powers of The Athletic to discuss Stan Bowman's comments following the Marian Hossa trade and debate whether they're finished making moves this summer.

They also provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks' top prospects and which players have caught their attention as development camp winds down.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: