Now may be an appropriate time to remind you that once upon a time now Chicago Bull Anthony Randolph led the NBA Summer League in scoring back in 2009. Randolph’s massive production combined with raw talent oozing with potential actually garnered him a tryout invitation to for a spot on the USA Men’s National Basketball Team following his summer brilliance. Since Randolph’s magical summer in 2009 however, he’s bounced around with four different teams, struggled to reach any form of consistency, and may be beyond the point of a reclamation project.
What’s that have to do with rookie forward Doug McDermott and second-year guard Tony Snell of the Chicago Bulls? Both are off to fast starts through two games in the Las Vegas Summer League, the numbers are pretty staggering – between McDermott and Snell the duo has combined for 91 of the team’s total 189 points in two games and are 17-33 from three combined as well.
Both have played with supreme confidence, stepping-into and drilling jump shots with ease over the course of the two games. Snell especially, who at times during his rookie campaign last season looked as if his confidence had gone begging, has looked aggressive and definitive.
Snell’s leading the league in scoring at 25 points a game, shooting 52 percent from the field and 53 percent from deep. McDermott’s not far behind at 20.5 a game, an even 50 percent from three, and an impressive 16-17 on his free throw attempts thus far.
But alas, of course, the moral of the story here as suggested by the preliminary Anthony Randolph anecdote is that it’s only summer league and it’s nothing to work yourself up over too much. Encouraging? Sure. Meaningful? Slightly. Keep in mind that 80% of guys in summer league won’t be on NBA rosters come October.
If anything, while the numbers look as spectacular as they do for McDermott and Snell, watching how they’ve moved, created shots, and defended present the real takeaways. McDermott, for example, in his 31-point game against the Denver Nuggets displayed a quick release with a sturdy base. His shooting form was touted highly before he was drafted, and has reassured those evaluations through two games. Additionally, McDermott scored off the dribble, he pulled up over-the-top of smaller defenders, and has gotten to the charity stripe 17 times – a great sign.
With the Bulls figuring to be offensively challenged yet again this upcoming season, McDermott’s versatility and Snell’s regained form and confidence is all the Bulls coaching staff and front office could have asked for to this point. But still both will go into this season as wildcards and until we get an effective sample size of regulation games to base and form opinions – it’s only summer league, so stay grounded for now.
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