Bulls need forward Chandler Hutchison to develop lockdown mentality
Hutchison, the 22nd overall pick in 2018, was considered an above-average defender. Injuries hampered his rookie season, but now it’s time for him to show something.
LAS VEGAS — Bulls coach Jim Boylen doesn’t want to put any added pressure on second-year forward Chandler Hutchison this offseason.
That’s fair, considering Hutchison’s rookie season was cut short by toe surgery that sidelined him in late January.
But there’s a reality Hutchison must face: It’s time for him to take some major steps toward showing he can be a defensive stopper, and the Summer League is a good place to start.
‘‘Every level in my career, I have been that guy,’’ Hutchison said Saturday. ‘‘This is obviously the highest level in the world. The expectations I have on myself . . . I am going to do what I can to work toward that and be that person.’’
The Bulls want to see Hutchison put together a solid Summer League, get out healthy, then really move forward with his all-around game, especially his defense.
‘‘I want him to try and become the best defender he could become,’’ Boylen said of his expectations of Hutchison. ‘‘We need a stopper. We need a guy that can be a lockdown defender. We have very difficult matchups just in our division alone, let alone the league.’’
Boylen said he had been in an earthquake before, but he still felt an initial shock when the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Friday near Ridgecrest, California, could be felt in Las Vegas. A couple of Summer League games were canceled.
‘‘I was in my [hotel] room on the 27th floor, and we were two minutes into the first quarter with Paul Miller — my assistant to the head coach — breaking down [game film from the Bulls’ Summer League victory against the Lakers],’’ Boylen said. ‘‘I experienced one in California. It’s still shocking. I took a video of it, and we were kind of having fun with it.
‘‘Then I called my kids and my wife and talked to them about it. I just think it’s the awesome power of nature to think that something can move that building that much. It’s awe-inspiring to me.’’
The Bulls made their three-year, $41 million signing of veteran forward Thaddeus Young official.
The 6-8 Young, 31, is a proven commodity at both ends of the court and has a great reputation in the locker room. The Bulls expect him to give them some much-needed depth, toughness and leadership in the frontcourt. He also can play some power forward with the starters when Lauri Markkanen slides over to center.
In addition to making the Young signing official, the Bulls waived guards Shaquille Harrison, a Boylen favorite, and Walt Lemon Jr., who played high school ball at Julian.