Koenig sees first preseason action in Bulls win over the Bucks

By Marlon WhiteEagle

Ho-Chunk NBA player Bronson Koenig saw his first preseason action as a Chicago Bull point guard during the Bulls victory over the Milwaukee Buck at the United Center in Chicago on Friday, October 6.
The Chicago Bulls won 114 to 101 over the Milwaukee Bucks, and improved to 2-1 in preseason play.
Koenig was signed by the Chicago Bulls on Sep. 28, just a week after being waived by the Milwaukee Bucks.  Terms of the contract were not disclosed according to NBA policy.
However, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony first reported that Koenig signed an Exhibit 9 training camp contract.
Koenig joined the Bulls amid training camp, and just two days before the start of the preseason schedule. He didn’t appear in the first two preseason games.
The Bulls beat the New Orleans Pelicans by five points in their opening preseason game, 113 to 109.
Then they lost by 47 points to the Dallas Mavericks, 118 to 71.
Against the Bucks, the Bulls had five players in double figures, Justin Holiday leading the way with 21 points.
Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis, and Denzel Valentine all added 15 points for the Bulls. Bulls center Robin Lopez also add 12 points in the game.
The Milwaukee Bucks got 24 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was voted Most Improved Player last year by the NBA.
Khris Middleton added 14 points, while Greg Monroe had 10 points to round out the Bucks double digit scorers. Malcolm Brogdon recorded 7 points, and Tony Snell scored 6 points in the Bucks’ losing effort.
The Bulls shot 50 percent from 3-point range against the Bucks, going 17 of 34. This is an area were the Bulls need the most improvement from last year’s stats.
With only 1:01 remaining in the game, Bulls point guard Bronson Koenig entered the game.
Koenig played against his summer league teammates. He hustled for rebounds and looked for shots, but no opportunities came to him.
“I was waiting. It felt good to finally get out there. I wish I had a little more time out there, but that’s how it goes. I just got to stay ready for my opportunity when it comes,” Koenig said.
His practices with the Bulls are going good, he said. Koenig is working hard to break into the Bulls playing rotation and stay on the roster.
“That’s the plan right now. I’m just trying to stay ready for my opportunity. And take full advantage of that,” Koenig said.
The Bulls have two more preseason games, October 10 at the Cleveland Cavaliers and October 13 at home against the Toronto Raptors.
Koenig went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, but was signed by the Milwaukee Bucks on July 6 to a two-way contract.
Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Jon Horst called Koenig a “virtual No. 61 pick,” since they called him nearly immediately after the draft was done.
Koenig was signed to play with Milwaukee Bucks summer league team and to play with the Bucks G league team, the Wisconsin Herd in his two-way contract.
His deal with the Bucks was worth $75,000 while playing for the Wisconsin Herd, and $5,000/day for up to 45 days on the Bucks’ NBA roster.
Two-way contracts are essentially the sixteenth and seventeenth spots on NBA rosters, where any player with three years or less of NBA experience can play on NBA teams’ G league team.
During the summer league, Koenig averaged 5.2 points per game, shot 29.4 percent from the field, played 15.8 minutes per game, and averaged 1 rebound per game in the Bucks’ five games.
Koenig’s summer league play was highlighted by a 9 point performance, going 3 of 5 from 3-point range, in 22 minutes.
To remain on the Chicago Bulls roster, Koenig needs to outperform David Nwaba, Diamond Stone, Jaylen Johnson, and Jarrell Eddie.
The Bulls have signed Ryan Arcidiacono and Antonio Blakeney to their two two-way contract spots.
The Chicago Bulls are a young team, the average age of their current players is 24.7 years old, with some rebuilding to do. They lost three key players in the off season.
Dwayne Wade went to Cleveland, Jimmy Butler was traded to Minnesota for Zack LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 overall NBA draft pick, Lauri Markkanen, and Rajon Rondo was waived by the Bulls and picked up by New Orleans.
The Bulls current 20 man roster include five rookies, five players with one year of NBA experience, five players with two years of NBA experience, two players with three years in the NBA, one player with four years’ experience, one player with five years’ experience, and one player with nine years’ experience.
The Bulls signed guard Quincy Pondexter on Sep. 1, signed center Diamond Stone on Sep. 14, and signed forward Jarrell Eddie and forward Jaylen Johnson on Sep. 25. Koenig was signed on Sep 28.
Zack LaVine is out with a torn ACL. Quincy Pondexter is out with a hamstring injury. Cameron Payne is out with a foot injury. Kris Dunn will be out two to four weeks with a dislocated finger, which occurred in the Bulls’ win over the Bucks.
With Kris Dunn out, Jerian Grant has moved into the starting point guard position for the Bulls.
Last year the Bulls finished at .500, with a record of 41 wins and 41 losses.
Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is in his third year, with a record of 83 wins and 81 losses. Hoiberg and Koenig have a little history, as Hoiberg recruited Koenig out of high school while he was head coach at Iowa State.
The Bulls will need to focus on team and player development and understand that they are rebuilding while they face a lot of adversity in the 2017-2018 season.
If Koenig makes the cut, his contract with the Bulls will be worth $816,615.
NBA experts believe he’ll end up on the Bulls’ G league team, the Windy City Bulls, out in Hoffman Heights. Koenig’s former Wisconsin Badger teammate, Duje Dukan, will be a familiar face on the team.
Koenig is the first Ho-Chunk in history to sign an NBA contract.