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Las Vegas Summer League: What Does It Mean?

July 22nd, 2012 at 10:06 PM
By Caleb Nordgren

The Bulls finished their Las Vegas Summer League run today when they were unceremoniously run out of the gym by the Milwaukee Bucks. They went just 1-4, but Summer League isn't really about wins and losses.

The biggest takeaway from this year's summer league team is that Jimmy Butler should be ready to get some solid minutes this year. Butler was named a Summer League All-Star after he averaged 20.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 4 games. Butler showcased his ability to get to the free throw line — something he flashed in his minimal playing time last season — averaging almost 10 free throw attempts per game and making about 90% of them. That's going to be important this season if Butler and Taj Gibson are going to successfully anchor the Bulls revamped bench unit.

Aside from Butler, the results were fairly mixed. Malcolm Thomas, a power forward formerly of San Diego State, was excellent, as he averaged 11.4 points and 12.4 rebounds over five games. He shot 53.5% from the field and 78.6% from the foul line and is pretty much a lock to get invited to training camp and possibly snag a roster spot. The consensus is that he's something of a poor man's Taj Gibson, although not as good defensively just yet. He provided the highlight of the Bulls' time in Vegas when he attempted to end Marcus Hubbard's existence with this dunk.

(Side note: Former editor of Bulls 101 Jay Patt and I had a brief discussion on Twitter about the possibility that the Bulls might pass on retaining Taj next summer after his contract expires because they had Thomas to take his places. This pretty quickly devolved into angry yelling about how stupid that would be, but sadly it has to be discussed.)

On the other side, first round pick Marquis Teague was…less than stellar. He averaged 10.6 points over the five games, but shot just 29% from the field and couldn't seem to hang on to the ball, averaging 3.8 TOs. That being said, he also showed some flashes of the potential he has; he's as fast as pretty much anybody I've seen on a basketball court when he gets going and when he gets himself under control he can get to the rim. He has all the requisite skills and athleticism to be a solid NBA player, he just needs to learn the game and figure out how he fits in.

Former Boston Celtics forward Leon Powe had a rough go of it in Vegas. It wouldn't surprise me if he got an invite to camp anyway, but he didn't do himself any favors. Former University of Illinois point guard Demetri McCamey had a couple of nice moments but was pretty terrible overall and figures to head back overseas. 

Nobody else really stuck out for better or worse, although my impression of Polish forward Olek Czyz was less than favorable. Butler and Teague will be on the team for sure and Thomas and possibly Powe figure to get invites to training camp. So, to answer the question posed in the headline? Very little. Very very little.

Tags: Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Demetri McCamey, Jimmy Butler, Las Vegas Summer League, Leon Powe, Malcolm Thomas, Marquis Teague, NBA, Olek Czyz, Taj Gibson

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