It’s hard to believe, but the NBA Summer League is almost over. The championship game is tonight between the Bulls and Wolves, and the NBA Odds have the Bulls as -4½ favorites with a total of 166½. Can we expect Chicago to win it all against the upstart Wolves?
Bulls Young Depth
The Chicago Bulls were at a crossroads this summer. They probably should have gone the road of building up their young talent and rebuilding around Jimmy Butler, however, they signed Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade in a potentially sorry excuse for being no better than the fifth or sixth seed in the Eastern Conference next season.
The Bulls should have focused on finding their young talent playing time, because as the Summer League has shown, the Bulls have plenty of young guys who can play. With even more young guys like Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls’ offseason has been puzzling.
However, their Summer League has been spectacular. The Bulls’ young core four of newly drafted Denzel Valentine, along with Bobby Portis, Jerian Grant and Spencer Dinwiddie are all averaging double figures, and with the exception of Dinwiddie, the other three guys are likely going to be big cogs in the Bulls’ rotation next season.
That’s something most Summer League teams cannot boast. Having one guy, let alone three that will get minutes with the big club next season is a huge advantage for the Bulls.
Portis and Valentine have been the most impressive. Valentine’s reported knee issues didn’t scare off the Bulls and at least through six Summer League games he has not disappointed. He has already put up one double-double, and he is averaging 1.5 steals per game.
Portis is just picking up where he left off. He and Cristiano Felicio have been very good in the Bulls’ frontcourt this summer, and Portis is coming into tonight’s championship with three straight games of at least 17 points and eight rebounds.
Will Wolves Summer League MVP Be Enough?
Tyus Jones has been tearing up the Summer League, and with his backcourt mate of Kris Dunn, the Wolves have had a very good Summer League. The two young Wolves are combining to average more than 43 points per game in Summer League and Jones has won the MVP of the league with 19.4 points, 6.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
However, where the Bulls succeed is with their size and length in the frontcourt, and right now the leading rebounder for the Wolves is Dunn at seven per game.
They are not going to get it done against the size of the Bulls. While Adreian Payne has played well, he is going to be no match for Portis and Felicio down low. Plus, even though the Wolves have had an advantage in the backcourt all Summer League, the Bulls being able to throw Valentine, Grant and Dinwiddie at Jones and Dunn will make it tough for the two Wolves guards to both go off. For our NBA pick, Chicago is likely going to shut down one of them, which should lead to a Chicago win and cover the spread posted on the NBA odds at select sportsbooks.
Free NBA Pick: Bulls -4½
Best Line Offered: at Bovada