Bulls Pushed to Sign ‘Unexpected’ Summer League Breakout

Billy Donovan

Getty Zach LaVine and head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls look on during a game.

Javon Freeman-Liberty was an undeniable bright spot for the Chicago Bulls during the Summer League this year.

A former standout at DePaul, Freeman-Liberty went undrafted in 2022, joining the Windy City Bulls in October of 2022. He spent the 2022-23 season in the G League, and after his strides became obvious this summer, fans and analysts alike began clamoring for Chicago to add the young shooting guard to its roster.

Over his five summer league games, JFL averaged 21.2 points, 4.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds. He shot 49.3% from the floor and 46.2% from downtown. Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation named JFL one of the summer’s”unexpected” stars who deserves “to make a rotation,” and O’Donnell is not alone in his thinking.

JFL’s Summer League Showing Has Analysts Pushing Bulls to Add Him

“While he’s not an overwhelming athlete, Freeman-Liberty is a crafty attacker who showed his ability to drive and finish at the rim,” O’Donnell wrote. “The big improvement is his three-point stroke, which he comfortably showcased on both pull-ups and spot-ups.”

JFL’s solid Summer League performance was an improvement over what he did in the G League last season, when he averaged 18.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 17 games, hitting 49.8% of his shots from the field and just under 40% of his attempts from beyond the arc.

“The Bulls have too many guards on their roster as it is if Ayo Dosumnu is retained, but there’s enough two-way potential and shooting talent here to give him a spot on the final 15-man roster as a developmental creator bet,” O’Donnell reasoned, tacking on another solid point: “The Bulls once let Spencer Dinwiddie and Max Strus walk off their G League team, and it would be a mistake to let JFL do the same after such a great run in Vegas.”

O’Donnell isn’t the only analyst urging Chicago to sign Freeman-Liberty. Cody Westerlund of 670 The Score tweeted it would be “smart” for Chicago to keep JFL around:

Analyst Larry Golden echoed O’Donnell’s sentiment about Chicago letting promising players walk before:

Others simply pointed out JFL’s performance this summer, particularly when compared to his contemporaries, should earn him a two-way contract with the Bulls:

Freeman-Liberty Named to All-Summer League 2nd Team

Freeman-Liberty’s performance this summer has gained attention beyond the Windy City. JFL was recently named to the All-Summer League second team along with Jabari Smith Jr. of the Houston Rockets, Jalen Wilson of the Brooklyn Nets, Emoni Bates of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Max Christie of the L.A. Lakers and Xavier Moon of the L.A. Clippers.

JFL also credited his time in the G League last season with helping him grow as a player.

“The G League has helped me a lot,” Freeman-Liberty said on July 9, via NBA.com. “It’s a competitive league; it’s going to develop you a lot. Everybody is trying to get somewhere (in the G League). When everyone is trying to get somewhere, it’s like each and every day you have guys giving it their all to get to the next level.”

The 23-year-old Freeman-Liberty is also willing to play whatever role the Bulls may need him to play in the future.

“I’m one of those guys who is versatile. I can play defense and be a point guard to get everyone involved and be a scorer if the coach needs me to,” JFL added.

With Ayo Dosunmu likely a goner, there’s still hope for JFL. Stay tuned.

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