Bulls ‘X-Factor for the Future’ Turning Heads in Summer League

Marko Simonivic

Getty Images Marko Simonivic

The Chicago Bulls Summer League team is preparing to play their first game on July 8 as practice began on July 2. For the Bulls organization, this is a good opportunity for coaches and the front office to take a look at some of their younger prospects.

One prospect of interest for the Bulls is big man Marko Simonivic who was drafted by the team in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft. Simonivic spent most of this past season with Windy City Bulls in the G-League and posted some impressive numbers averaging 17 points and 9.8 rebounds with 13 double-doubles in 28 games.


Bulking Up

Since being drafted by the Bulls one of the biggest improvements Simonivic has made is to his body. The 6’11 big man weighed just 215 pounds when the team drafted him and is now up to 240 pounds.

“Everyone said I am looking better than I was before, so I am happy to hear that and just keep working,” Simonović said after Tuesday’s Summer League team practice. “Last year I was a rookie and it was a little bit difficult for me because it was my first year in the NBA and I am learning every day on the court and out of the court, how to live here and understand everything. I am so happy for the last year how I played in the G-League, but I am ready to work and working every day to be better and get some minutes in the NBA.”

His play so far has also caught the attention of Bulls Summer League head coach John Bryant.

“His body looks great and I’m excited to see how he improves from last year,” said Bryant. “I think everyone will be excited to see Marko’s ability. His hands have gotten better along with his body. He’s able to finish through contact because of the body. He was paired a lot (in practices this week) with Ayo (Dosunmu). It was roll after roll after roll, and his decision-making after those rolls either finishing or passing it out to weak side was much improved. We didn’t see him a lot when he came back from the G-league (last season). He’s very much improved, particularly in pick and roll play, him rolling and decision making after rolls.”

Simonivic is trying to impress the Bulls enough this summer and preseason to earn a spot in the regular rotation, so this summer is huge for him.


Role With the Bulls?

It’s no secret that the Bulls lacked interior depth last season. The team did add Andre Drummond recently in free agency, but he isn’t much of a rim protector.

The opportunity for Simonivic is there to crack the rotation if he can improve enough. Bulls insider Sam Smith notes that Simonivic struggled with the physical aspects of G-League play last season and he wasn’t a good rim protector averaging just over half a block per game.

Simonivic definitely has talent on the offensive end of the floor, but with the Bulls needing a rim protector it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to land a spot on the roster.

 

 

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