The two Chicago Bulls rookies have had an impressive start to the 2018 NBA Summer League. Both Chandler Hutchison and Wendell Carter Jr. have shown out over four games, doing a little bit of everything. Seventh pick WCJ is averaging 16.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, proving particularly efficient on the defensive end. He had one game in which he recorded 5 blocks, and has proven he can guard multiple positions. He has even earned the nickname ‘The Block Panther’. The Bulls’ 22nd pick, Hutchison, has also been successful as both a scorer and a facilitator. Averaging 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3.8 assists, Hutchison has been efficient in running the floor and creating shots for his teammates.
One of the main selling points of both the rookies up to this point has been how both WCJ and Hutchison can impact a game defensively. Carter Jr. is being noticed league-wide for his ability to block and alter shots, such as the shot from Ante Zizic which he consumed. Both fans and analysts are also praising Carters ability to remain vertical when contesting shots, as well as moving his feet extremely well when guarding the perimeter. Furthermore, a key feature of his game to this point has been his drive to never give up on a play.
Hutchison is also proving himself a solid defensive player, with the ability to break up plays. Averaging one steal per game, he is able to use his length and versatility to pressure ball handlers into errors and bad shots.
For a Bulls team which struggled defensively last season, these developments will come as a welcome relief. Carter Jr. will provide solid interior defense and take some of the strain from Lauri Markkanen. Hutchison can play as a competent defender, and together this team can be a high-level defensive team when combined with the talents of Kris Dunn.
Scoring At Will
WCJ and Hutchison have both shown the ability to score from all over the floor. Carter has already shown both an inside game and the ability to hit contested mid-range. He has even stepped into some smooth looking threes. His early offensive showings have some wondering if there’s anything he can’t do. Averaging close to 17 points, his ability to connect from a multitude of places on the court is another bright spot in the Bull’s rebuilding process.
Hutchison has shown his ability to be explosive, taking the ball to the rim and drawing fouls. He has been shooting threes at a consistent rate and providing a scoring spark where necessary. Hutchison has also shown his ability to involve his teammates and make the right pass when needed.
In drafting WCJ and Hutchison, the Bulls weren’t looking for volume scorers, already having both Zach LaVine and Markkanen. However, both the organization and the fans must be happy to see that their two rookies are able to take and make shots when required.
Translating Their Game
No matter how well a player performs during Summer League, there are always those who will make the comments that “Summer League doesn’t matter”. Whilst it is not the be all and end all, or even a complete representation of the NBA, seeing both the Bulls rookies performing this well over the first four Summer League games has to be a positive for Bulls fans.
Of course, both players will still have to prove that they can perform in the proper league. However, a starting front-court of Carter and Markkanen could prove deadly, with their games complementing each other tremendously. Hutchison will have to battle with Denzel Valentine and Justin Holiday for playing time at the small forward spot. He is proving that he can compete at a high level, both scoring and facilitating.
Only time will tell on this ambitious Bulls team, however, their two newest players are providing a lot to be excited about, both now and into the future.
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