HAWL IN: Summer League excitement? Maybe for the Bulls for the next few years

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LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18: The Chicago Bulls receive the 2016 Samsung Summer League Championship Trophy after the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2016 NBA Las Vegas Summer League game on July 18, 2016 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – The Defending Champion Chicago Bulls. These words are true.

Don’t get flippant, it’s for real. Don’t dismiss it….we’ll maybe you can. Even I have gotten involved in a little Summer League overreaction.

This was a tweet I sent out last year after Denzel Valentine clinched the Vegas Summer League title. I was so excited to make this Jordan comparison that I spelled too with just one “O.” The Bulls were a champion of something for the first time since the era of “His Airness” and it sure was exciting.

So how many times have you rolled you eyes already? I get it. The summer league is to be taken at face value and in the end most people did as well. In the end, it was a nice story in a tumultuous two seasons for the Bulls in the Fred Hoiberg era.

It also remains the one victory the Bulls have over a Tom Thibodeau team – even thought it came against a Timberwolves squad coached by an assistant.

Alas, the time has arrived again. It’s Vegas Summer League time and the Bulls make their way to Sin City getting ready to defend a championship. Yes, Back-To-Back titles for hopefully for the first time since the 1996-1997-1998 Bulls repeated their three-peat.

OK, now the excitement is getting a bit out of control.

But that’s the point – Summer League overreaction is something that consumes you then goes away as quickly as it arrived. Maybe it was the fact that what seemed like impending doom from the upcoming Bulls’ season made rooting for anything positive involving the team worth rooting for.

The Summer League begins at the Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday against the Maverick and there is a level of anticipation that could last for a bit. After all, the Bulls took the necessary step to rebuild the franchise with the trade of Jimmy Butler to those same Timberwolves they won the title against in 2016.

Now the Summer League, which was more of a small piece of summer basketball enjoyment, will be worth watching as it pertains to the future. Bulls fans get a first look at Lauri Markkanen, the team’s first round pick and a key to the Butler deal to Minnesota. Kris Dunn will get a bit of time to make a case for leading the team’s offense at point guard over the next couple of weeks while giving a glimpse of hope that his rookie year struggles were just about inexperience.

Maybe Cameron Payne can give fans any hope at all after an uninspired few months after his acquisition from Oklahoma City at last year’s trade deadline.

Should the rebuilding go as planned, these Summer League weeks could get more interesting. Seventh picks might end up in the top three or perhaps two first round picks will put on that Bulls’ jersey for the first time in Las Vegas. Either way, take this summer NBA basketball for what it’s worth and meant to be – a glimpse of better things to come.

After all, a little Summer League overraction never hurt anyone.





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