Has Javon Freeman-Liberty earned a spot on the Chicago Bulls? Time will tell for the DePaul alumnus.

16 July 2023

Javon Freeman-Liberty stole the show for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA summer league.

The Bulls came into Las Vegas with different priorities: scouting Dalen Terry’s growth and measuring up the potential of draft pick Julian Phillips and two-way rookie Adama Sanogo. But instead, all eyes were on Freeman-Liberty, a second-year guard out of DePaul who led the Bulls with 21.2 points per game.

Freeman-Liberty was the best shooter on the court for the Bulls, shooting 49.3% and finishing 12-for-26 on 3-pointers. His performance against the Sacramento Kings was a top highlight as he logged 28 points, six assists and zero turnovers in 31 minutes.

Freeman-Liberty was among the top five of summer league players in shooting percentage (49.3%), field goals (35) and scoring (106 points). He scored 24 on 8-for-16 shooting Saturday in the Bulls’ 90-85 victory against the Washington Wizards in their summer league finale. The Bulls finished 3-2

Freeman-Liberty looked set to step into a larger role for the Windy City Bulls this season following the departure of 2023 G- League MVP Carlik Jones, whose contract was converted to the Bulls roster at the end of last season. But is all this enough for Freeman-Liberty to earn a first-team contract?

It’s an unlikely track — but it’s the primary goal for a Chicago native hoping to make the roster of his hometown team.

A product of Young, Freeman-Liberty played his first two years of college at Valparaiso before transferring to DePaul. After going undrafted in 2022, Freeman-Liberty came off the bench for 11 of 17 appearances with the Windy City Bulls last season. But he made the most of that court time, averaging 18.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 49.8% shooting.

The most compelling aspect of Freeman-Liberty’s game is the way he attacks the rim — hard. He brings sharp downhill vision and a lack of hesitation, a crucial combination for any guard to get to the rim. Decisiveness has been a fatal flaw for young Bulls counterparts, such as Dalen Terry and Patrick Williams, but it didn’t seem to be a concern for Freeman-Liberty in Las Vegas.

The caveat, of course, is the circumstance. Summer league is an imperfect gauge of a player’s potential. The defense is less hardy, the opposition less experienced. Top draft picks such as Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson sat out the latter half of the tournament’s opening round, further reducing the level of competition even among the younger stars.

On paper Freeman-Liberty looks to be a viable guard option, but his best stats have been posted against a lower tier of competition.

Freeman-Liberty’s future is affected by another factor: Will the Bulls even need another guard?

As the roster stands, the main priority is securing more size at center and forward. But the Bulls also need to shore up the secondary rotation guard spots. At the end of the season, the goal for that position was clear: re-sign Ayo Dosunmu, who entered restricted free agency.

Dosunmu is another high-motor hometown standout with hefty NBA experience, and his $5.2 million qualifying offer is still a relatively inexpensive deal for a secondary guard.

The Bulls re-signed Coby White while swapping Jevon Carter for Patrick Beverley at guard and Torrey Craig for Derrick Jones Jr. at power forward. If they bring back Dosunmu and Jones, the Bulls will have only be two spots left, both of which will likely need to be focused on bulking up their rim protection and size in the paint.

Like Jones before him, the best option for Freeman-Liberty is likely a two-way contract. The Bulls have used only one of their three two-way contracts so far to sign Sanogo. And a two-way contract benefits the development of a player such as Freeman-Liberty, who could use a high volume of minutes in the G League to keep progressing while mixing in more frequently in practices with the first team.

Regardless of where he lands within the Bulls system, Freeman-Liberty clearly used summer league in the way it was intended — to prove he deserves a shot at the next level.


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