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CHICAGO — Bulls first-round pick Wendell Carter Jr. was named to the NBA’s Summer League first team Tuesday and head coach Fred Hoiberg was impressed with Carter Jr.’s play.
Chicago drafted Carter Jr. with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. The talented big man finished summer league with averages of 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, shooting 55.1 percent from the field.
Carter Jr. showed great patience and footwork while operating in the post and will add rim protection to the Bulls’ defense.
Hoiberg says Carter Jr.’s first team recognition is well deserved.
“I think Wendell had a great summer league,” Hoiberg told Malika Andrews of the Chicago Tribune. “I thought he had a great minicamp with us before he went out there. He showed a lot of things. He showed he’s a very versatile basketball player. He showed he’s a guy who can step out on the floor and knock down the three and he also shows a nice touch in the paint.
“The play that stands out to me is where he pinned the ball on the backboard with two hands from behind. He really showed great defensive instincts and he gives us rim protection, which is an area we really struggled in last year.”
Bulls general manager Gar Forman was also satisfied with what he saw from Carter Jr.
“What I’ve been impressed with is Wendell is a very instinctive player on both ends,” Forman told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “A lot of times you talk about instincts offensively. But he’s got really good defensive instincts — recognizing plays, reacting to situations, coming from the weak side to help. We thought he’d be a plus defender because he’s got size, mobility and length. But Duke played a lot of zone in college. So we were speculating he’d make that adjustment with his tools.”
The Bulls can throw out a starting lineup next year of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker, Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez. Carter Jr. is expected to be one of the first players off the bench.