On Monday night, the Bulls suffered a brutal blowout loss at the hands of the Pacers. Indiana’s frontcourt of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis greatly outsized Chicago. It didn’t help that Alex Caruso and Nikola Vucevic were both out for the Bulls. Given these injuries, the team recalled Marko Simonovic and Devon Dotson from the Windy City Bulls. Down 30 points in the fourth quarter, Billy Donovan pulled the plug and subbed in the back end of the bench. Those were the first NBA minutes Simonovic saw.
Getting to Know Marko
As the 44th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Simonovic was a wild-card selection for the Bulls. With minimal surface information available on draft night, nobody really knew what to expect from him until they did some digging.
Simonovic had a comparable skill set to that of Nikola Jokic, whom current Bulls’ President Arturas Karnisovas drafted during his time in Denver. While Bulls fans know that will be a lofty projection to beat, they still expect Simonovic to grow into a solid rotation piece. Overall, Karnisovas has a reputation for drafting quality second-rounders. Just look at what Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu is doing this year.
First NBA Action Observations
Simonovic played a total of seven minutes against the Pacers.
Offensively, he had just two touches. One was a play at the rim that he drew a foul on. He made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line. Next, he came down on a break and got an open look from behind the arc. The shot almost went in but rimmed out. Despite the miss, his shooting form looked better than it did in his European league highlights. It’s still not a finished product, but Simonovic displayed progress.
Defensively, the 6-foot-11 forward looked much better than expected. While Simonovic only had one rebound, his physicality and length caused turnovers and forced missed shots. Length is a trait the current Bulls roster lacks. Scouts had concerns about Simonovic’s defense, but this small sample size shows surprising improvement.
While these moments constitute a nice bright spot, the aforementioned sequences came against the end of Pacers’ end of the bench. Right now, it’s best for Marko Simonovic to remain in the G League. Seeing a healthy dose of reps combined with his work ethic will help him grow into the type of player the Bulls want him to be.
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