The NBA Summer League has given us a look at some of the top young talent in the league and through four games we have seen the Bulls get solid recognition for the performances of their two 2019 draft picks, Coby White and Daniel Gafford. Bleacher Report released their list ranking the Top 25 players of NBA Summer League, with Gafford making the list for his dominant inside presence.
Through four summer league games, Gafford is averaging 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and is shooting an impressive 63.6 percent from the field.
Gafford has been an awesome roll-man, making the Gafford-White pick-and-roll a successful play that could carry over to the regular season when they likely share minutes together on the second unit.
While the scoring has been great, the Bulls coaching staff is likely more excited by the defensive numbers of the uber-athletic big. The Bulls were 26th in the league last season in blocks (4.3 per game) and could definitely use a player who can fly in (at full speed) from the weakside to protect the basket, an element that was particularly lacking after Wendell Carter Jr. went down last season.
While White has been explosive during summer league, averaging 17 points per game, he has averaged just as many turnovers as assists. Gafford has played more under control within his straightforward role, which has been limited to rim runs and rebound putbacks on offense, and active shot-blocking and cleaning the glass on defense.
Of course, NBA Summer League is not a massive indicator of long-term success by any means. But the fact that Gafford is performing so well should definitely give the Bulls front office confidence in the fact that they just signed him to a four-year deal with two guaranteed seasons. With Carter and Cristiano Felicio as the only true centers on the roster-with room for Lauri Markkanen center minutes-Gafford could make a bigger than expected impact in his rookie season.
Bulls get a player on Bleacher Report’s Top 25 NBA Summer League Players list originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago