Bulls Eliminate Raptors From Las Vegas Summer League

Bulls 84, Raptors 80 – Box Score

The Raptors were eliminated by the Bulls from the Las Vegas Summer League on Thursday night after they blew an 18-point first half lead.

The Raptors started strong and jumped on the Bulls early through Noman Powell and Bruno Caboclo, the former continuing his Vegas onslaught, while the latter found his shooting touch.  Powell ended up cooling off, finished just 5-16 FG and surprisingly sat for an extended stretch while the Bulls made their run to come back.  He did display glimpses of play that will make you think he’ll be playing meaningful minutes this season.

The Raptors actually shot the higher percentage, dominated the glass but playing without Delon Wright, the main problem for them was TOs, which they committed 19 of and were run back by the Bulls to good effect.  The Raptors had no answer for Doug McDermott who had 28 points on 11-25 shooting, with the majority coming in the second half, and a lot of them against Bruno Caboclo. They also couldn’t cope with Diante Garrett attacking Gary Talton consistently, and creating shot opportunities for guys like Bobby Portis and Cameron Bairstow.

The Raptors will play a consolation game on Friday to round off summer league.

Let’s start with Norman Powell as usual, and let’s focus on skills that are transferable to the NBA, which he displayed plenty of:

Here’s a sweet give-and-go, which you can run with any big. Picture this being run with Patrick Patterson or Luis Scola as part of a horns system, or more simply, on an ad-hoc basis to get a free shot. Powell’s got a drive game so the defense would prefer to go under, and he’s shown this summer league that he can hit that mid-range jumper with confidence.

Here’s a catch-and-shoot out-of-bounds play where he executes that slight step-back at the end to create space and rise over the defense. He gets shot-ready very quickly by taking one purposeful dribble taking him away from the defense. This is a sign of decisiveness that every effective scorer needs to have and, even though it’s just summer league, Powell’s shown he knows what it takes.

The next two plays are him getting blocks via that 6’11” wingspan and pure awareness of what the offense is trying to do. In both situations he’s not the primary defender but has read the situation and has come over to help in the nick of time. He’s clearly an intelligent player that doesn’t just hide on defense by sticking to his man, and is confident in making plays when the initial setup breaks down:

Finally, much has been made of his range and here he knocks down a confident three by lining it up. He shot 32% in college from distance, and this will be what people will force him to do so it’s nice to see him drain one:

Here’s a couple Bruno Caboclo highlights to whet your appetite. He had 15 points on 4-7 shooting and went 6-7 from the stripe which was an improvement. He put it on the floor a lot, and that speaks to his confidence because that is something that wasn’t happening at all last year. I tell myself that it’s the thought that counts when I look at his fluky finish in the second video. He’s moving his feet defensively and there’s clear instruction from the coaches for him to angle offensive players into his arms so he can use them to contest the shot, rather than they going into his body to draw contact. I can’t say it was successful against McDermott, or in general, but at least I believe there’s some coaching going on.  The guy just doesn’t have the strength whatsoever to hold off offensive players right now, and once he gets that, then his length advantage will come into play. Right now he’s just getting pushed around too easily.

Up next, it’s Lucas Noguiera and today he was all about the pass. The Raptors ran a ton of screen ‘n rolls for him and it seemed that passing was his preferred option, even when he could’ve done something else. To his credit, he’s a nice passer and has chemistry with Ronald Roberts and Caboclo, so I give him credit there. I just wonder if he has the confidence to score himself against a defense by pulling off a move or two. I really haven’t seen any of that, but I’ll focus on the positives by showing you instances where he did pass to create:

Here’s a pass he made where I thought he shoud’ve just spun and finished it himself:

Finally, this is where he’s best – basically where he has a free dunk available to him and there’s no defense within shouting distance. This is the low-hanging fruit which is great, but we need him to be a little more decisive and skillful in finishing against defenses.

My favorite Bebe play, though, was the one where they dared him to shoot (with audio):

We’ll round off with some random clips. Here’s Roberts pulling down a pretty impressive rebound over Bairstow. Roberts is a bruiser who struggles to finish in close quarters, and appears to require some runway to utilize that self-proclaimed 46″ vertical. I haven’t seen him go up in traffic and finish strong yet, mainly because he’s usually grounded by his lack of skill in doing so. If you see him as a replacement for Greg Steimsma, he’s a definite upgrade:

During the second quarter when this game was very up-and-down, Jordan Bachynski had a few good moments in a row where he got a couple blocks, got a pass from his teammates (a very rare occasion), and then proceeded to finish. It’s probably the highlight of his career:

Here’s Drew Crawford with a nice play:

This dude faked a FT, I kid you not:

That’s it from me, time to hit the sack. Check more post-game video highlights and interviews here.

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