Bulls vs Warriors (Summer League Game 1) thoughts

James Johnson looked really good to me, and let me tell you the Bulls are very high on this guy.   It will be interesting to see what type of role he’s able to fill for them this year.   Judging by this game he’s clearly playing with a SF skill set. 

On offense he was knocking down his jumpers, finishing at the
basket, leading the break, and made great passes all night.   All in
all, about the only negatives I could say about his game offensively is
that he seemed to struggle to get involved off the ball, and that he
looked pretty awkward in the post during the one post up attempt I saw.

Defensively, Johnson was a bit more suspect.   He lost focus on
his man a few times even if his man didn’t necessarily make him pay for
it.    He seemed to struggle with Joe Ingles size at times, though
again, Ingles didn’t necessarily make him pay.   It wasn’t a terrible
performance, but it was enough to give you a little pause on how
Johnson will fit defending the four.

I was hoping the Bulls would switch Johnson onto Randolph who was absolutely torching Gibson for most of the game.

of Gibson he had an okay stat line offensively and on the glass, but he
was just destroyed by Randolph defensively.   Gibson still looked okay
to me though.   Several of the fouls he was called for were straight
BS, and much of Randolphs work was done in transition.   Much of
Randolph’s success appeared to be great offense rather than poor

James Augustine had a great stat line shooting 10 of
11 from the field, however most of his attempts were of the garbage
type variety or attempts where another player created the shot for him
by drawing his man away.   Still, even though his baskets weren’t
coming from set offense he was playing hard and effectively on the

I don’t think there’s a place for him on the Bulls
roster, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Bulls to pull
Gray’s QO and replace him with Augustine if he’s impressive enough.  
However, Gray’s bulk probably fits what the team needs otu of a deep
reserve moreso than Augustine. 

Anthony Roberson and DeMarcus
Nelson showed us why it’s a good thing the Bulls came to terms with
Jannero Pargo.   The duo looked to be competing to see who could shoot
their way off the team first.  Both guys were jacking shots, both guys
were missing shots, and both guys seemed to get frustrated and throw up
some crazy bad shots in isolation.

Linton Johnson also did
little to distinguish himself looking very poor handling the ball and
missing both of his attempts.    On the plus side, at least he didn’t
jack up 12+ shots.  

From a scheme perspective, the Bulls
seemed to really lack playmaking out of their guards.   Roberson and
Nelson both played poorly.   The offense came down to Johnson,
Augustine, and to a lesser extent, Gibson playing well while the rest
of the team combined for a 7/36 night from the floor. 

In the
end, the Bulls lost the game to a stacked (from a summer league
pespective) Golden State team, but wins and losses in Summer League
aren’t as important as the play of the players, and the most important
player had a very nice debut.


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  • On offense James Johnson shot the ball well, has nice handles for his size and took good shots. Very efficient and has a nice inside/outside combo game. It's only game 1 of summer league but I've watched previous summer leagues and Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas wern't even close to looking as good as Johnson offensively. Defensively he was slow laterally and looked very lathargic. Didn't get off picks well. Maybe if he sheds a few pounds he can play quicker but I think his current combo of size and athletism plays in his favor on offense, he has beast potential. I'm excited about seeing this kid play, don't be surprised if he replaces Deng as the starting 3 before the season ends. His game reminds me of a young Paul Pierce!

    Taj needs to bulk up, he struggled to get low post postion on offense and was pushed around on the defensive end. He has nifty post moves. His low post scoring potential should be much better than anything we currently have on the roster, that's not really saying much. You're write about Augustine, no spot for him with the great Aron Gray standing at 7 ft 270 lbs of nothing. He would've been 11/11 from the field if he didn't miss an open put back layup. Like you said, none of the guards looked good, esp. in their decision making with the ball (handling/shooting). We really need a SG and it doesn't look like anyone on the summer league team is an option.

  • I was just writing wonderful prose about the bulls summer league game, when Bill Gates decided my computer needed be updated and shutoff without warning. Stinkin Bastard.

    Anyway, I would agree with the above assessments. Johnson's offensive game looks good, the Pierce comparison is apt. Obviously he's not that good yet, but he may have the type of ability to get there. However, he did seem a bit loosey, goosey with the ball at times, that is not always being as secure with it as one might hope. His defense looks very suspect. He does seem to be playing with a three skill set. I wonder if he will have the speed to play that position. He looks a little slow to me at times, but that might just be because he's smooth. I always have the same impression of Pierce and Salmons too, and things seem to work fine for them.

    I was pretty impressed with Gibson. I had expected to see a completely terrible player and he's not. While he was having trouble with Randolph I didn't think his D was too bad. (Doug is Randolph going to be any where near this good? I've seen him is two games this summer and he looks very impressive.)
    He for sure needs to bulk up. He was not able to box out very well, but his length and reach help him considerably in the post. I was quite impressed with his small set of offensive skills. He was able to catch the ball comfortably and has a bit of a post game, with decent foot work. He, as well, seems to have good body control, unlike our friend Tyrus; of course he's not at all the athlete of Tyrus. Also, in the interview afterward he seemed like a very humble and good kid. Vinny seems to really like him too. David Aldridge loves the guy too, take that for what you will.

    Overall it was nice to see our two best players were our draft picks.

    Other thoughts: James Johnson should not have a mo hawk, Demarcus Nelson is not good at basketball. Either are Roberson or Johnson the 3rd, but we knew that already. I'd have no problem with exchanging Augustine for Arron "Plain and Tall" Grey.

  • It's amazing that a guy with James Johnson's skill set was still available at 16. The guy can shoot, dribble, finish off the dribble. He was poor defensively, and didn't attack the boards like I'd like, but those things can be fixed in the NBA. You aren't going to teach a guy the offensive skills that Johnson possesses.

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