Denzel Valentine may be a rookie, but he's already playing like a veteran in the NBA Summer League.
After being the 14th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Valentine is already proving his worth in the summer league. His Saturday debut wasn't great shooting-wise, going just 4-for-16 from the field and 0-for-9 from 3-point range in a 71-62 victory over the Celtics.
But his eight points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists and plus-minus of +8 showed just how much of an impact he can make even when his shooting may be off. His defense also played a big part in Celtics guards shooting a combined 9-of-26 in that game.
That's the kind of impact NBA veterans make. When their shot isn't falling, they find other ways to impact the game, something Valentine did for much of his career with the Michigan State Spartans.
"My shot wasn't falling, but I tried doing all the little things — defend, get some rebounds, add energy to the team, lead," Valentine said, via the Chicago Tribune. "Even if my shot's not falling I can bring other things to the floor. I feel like that's probably one of the best things I can do anyway — make plays."
Valentine put his full arsenal on display Sunday in a win over the 76ers. He chipped in 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-5 from deep.
Denzel Valentine rainbow shot. pic.twitter.com/mBaOf7Zc8v— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD_) July 11, 2016
Valentine also had six rebounds, three steals, two assists and led the Bulls in plus-minus at +21. His best play was a tough and-1 at the rack:
Denzel Valentine and 1. pic.twitter.com/AfQAllfkgw— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD_) July 11, 2016
As long as Valentine can keep making an impact in multiple ways, it's going to be very hard for the Bulls not to give him significant minutes in his rookie year.