Patrick Williams is the Chicago Bulls rookie getting the most attention, and with good reason. However, their second-round pick Marko Simonovic is opening some eyes in FIBA play.
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Simonovic With the Jam
Bounce isn’t something that you’ll see associated with Simonovic often, but the 21-year-old Serbian showed off some athleticism that many probably weren’t aware he had in his bag. Take a look:
— FIBA EuroBasket (@EuroBasket) November 29, 2020
Simonovic’s teammate tossed him the alley-oop because he’s likely to run this look out of pick-and-roll with him before. That’s a positive sign out of the 6’11” international prospect.
What You Should Know About Simonovic
The Bulls selected Simonovic with the 44th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft earlier this month. Simonovic is expected to be a draft-and-stash player. Here’s what Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas said about Simonovic:
We’re going to stash him for at least a year, he is going to stay there. But we were really excited to draft him because he is another guy that improved this year. He was 51 percent from the floor, 41 percent from 3. He averaged 16 [points] and 10 [rebounds] in [the] Adriatic League. It was a very unique ability for us to see him because there’s no other league going on – nobody is playing. We were able to actually see his games at least on video, we were not able to travel. So after collecting all the information we, again, identified Marko as our target at No. 44.
Simonovic’s game reminds some of Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis, though he’s not quite as tall. Porzingis is 7’3″ and Simonovic is a shade under 7’0″ according to most records. He needs to add some strength, but most of the positives scouts point out mirror what Karnisovas said about one of his first projects with the Bulls.
Here is a taste of what Carl Berman and Simeon Marinov of NetScouts Basketball, wrote about Simonovic:
An important key for improving his overall defensive performance on the court would be filling out his frame by adding strength to his upper body and gaining muscle. This would allow him to more effectively guard in the post and finish more effective through contact on the other end of the floor. He might be a liability in defensive mismatches against quicker perimeter players due to his average lateral quickness, but he could compensate it with his length, good awareness and shot blocking ability. He’s a solid rim protector, but doesn’t seem to have a big vertical pop, which might hurt his stock in a fast-paced game.
Even with those areas of opportunity, Simonvic’s skill set is an exciting one for the Bulls and their organization. hopefully, he can make his debut during the 2021-22 season if the Bulls can get him away from his club.