Chicago Bulls may have better frontline depth than expected. If what we see from second-year striker Marko Simonovic in the Bulls’ summer league opener is any indication, they may well boast more versatility than expected.
Simonovic led the Bulls to a 100-99 victory in extra time over the Dallas Mavericks, including knocking out the game-winning free throws.
He finished with 27 points, 13 double rebounds, four points in extra time.
But it was his drastic step back at the end of the regulation to send the game into injury time that caused a stir on social media. It also has his teammates and coaches supporting the work Simonovic has done this season.
The Dunk Heard around Las Vegas and Chicago
Simonovic spent most of his rookie season in the G League. He averaged 15.6 points and 7.8 rebounds with the Windy City Bulls. However, when called up to the big club, he is often out of shape, averaging just 1.9 points and 1.1 rebounds in nine games.
That was not a problem in the opening match of the summer 2022 tournament and the fans noticed this early failure and the resulting image below next.
This user responded to that by likening Simonovic’s photo to a famous portrait of French military leader Napolean Bonaparte.
Others joked that this was a sign of future dominance from the Montenegrin big man, who has added 25 pounds this season. He also trains with the Bulls . center Nikola Vucevic who is a two-time All-Star.
All of this is to celebrate Simonovic with the Bull’s social media team acknowledging a fan-made “Tick Time” in the clip.
If we see more of that this season, the Bulls will be delighted.
Terry Sounds Off on Simonovic
After the game, Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry asked Simonivic if his flexing after his header was intentional as it happened right in front of the Bulls bench and head coach Billy Donovan. Simonovic quickly denied even realizing where Donovan and the staff were doing it.
However, Bulls rookie Dalen Terry was also quick to suggest another way while handing out props to his new teammate.
Bulls Summer League Head Coach John Bryant also paid tribute to Simonovic’s efforts in the opener and throughout this season.
Simonvic slipped a bit rough in the match, just 2 to 3 from the floor in the second half after winning 3/6 overall in the opening round. He still finished the shot 52% better than the floor.
He made 0-eat-3 from outside the arc.
But in the summer tournament, and especially in the first game, the process is more important than the result, explains KC Johnson on the July 8 episode of “Bulls Talk Podcast”.
For Simonovic, that means maintaining his level of aggression when things don’t go his way, in addition to not being driven by what is mostly younger competition. He still has a long way to go. But he did it to make this a solid first step.
Enter game 2
The Bulls will next face the New York Knicks on Sunday, July 10 to look to rebuild their rally against Dallas. The Bulls fell to 16 points but still took the win.
Simonovic will definitely want to recreate the three blocks he recorded.
Much has been done thanks to Terry and what he can show in the Vegas showcase. But Simonovic received a three-year contract as a second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft for a reason.
He may be getting close to showing why that is. He will have to do it consistently and prove that he will not be overwhelmed at the highest level. If he can do it, a perceived weakness can become strength for the Bulls.
https://heavy.com/sports/chicago-bulls/dalen-terry-hilarious-reaction-marko-simonovic-big-game/ Bulls’ Dalen Terry reacts to Marko Simonovic’s big game