As this extended offseason has continued we haven’t been given much insight into free agency. However, that changed this week as reports came out about the Bulls being linked to a young Miami Heat player.
The Chicago Bulls are expected to have interest in free agent Derrick Jones Jr, per @flasportsbuzz.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) October 19, 2020
The Bulls are joining a list of quite a few teams that have an interest in Small Forward Derrick Jones Jr.
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 20, 2020
Additional teams rumored to be interested include the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets. Derrick Jones Jr. is coming off another season where he’s shown improvement. This year with the Heat he averaged 8.5 PPG, 52.7 FG%, 3.9 RPG, and 1 APG. His stats have improved every year since joining the Miami Heat in 2017. This has generated a lot of interest in the 23 year old small forward this offseason. The Bulls already have a very young roster so this certainly wouldn’t help in the age department. But he has shown that he can improve year over year with the right coach.
Does he fit with the Bulls?
One thing to take note of, Jones Jr. is an above-average defender. This is most likely why the Bulls have an interest in him in the first place. The Bulls ranked 24th in team defense last year and they are in need of someone who can light a fire defensively. Jones Jr. can be that spark off the bench that anchors the defense and keeps the bench rotation in check. With the Bulls still uncertain about their future with Guard Kris Dunn the team may need someone off the bench to replace him. Don’t get me wrong, Jones Jr. isn’t an All-Defensive Team type player but he’s still above average on that end. He also has the potential to get better as a defender under a defensive-minded coach.
Another thing of note about Jones Jr. is his explosiveness/aggressiveness to get to the rim. He attacks the basket and he does it for good reason. Last season Jones Jr. shot around 72% from shots within 10 feet of the basket. If he gets in close he is most likely going to make the shot. While he is good once he gets inside there’s still a lot of room to grow with his offensive game. That’s where the risk comes for the Bulls.
Should the Bulls do it?
Whether the Bulls should do it or not all comes down to price. If they can get him at a reasonable price then it could be worth the gamble. He has shown improvement over the last three years but it could be possible that he has met his ceiling. He may be a solid player coming off the bench for his career but the Bulls would need to make sure they pay him accordingly. With the speculation that a lot of teams will be interested in Jones Jr. this offseason that has to make you think the price tag will rise for him.
If the Bulls can get him for the right price it could absolutely be worth it for this team. This adds a nice defensive player that can come off the bench and fill a role similar to Dunn’s. If the Bulls swing for the fences and give him a big contract it would show that they are betting on the skills of head coach Billy Donovan to improve Jones Jr’s offensive skill set.
Bull’s Twitter has been having fun with the idea of Jones Jr. joining the team. This would put two NBA Slam Dunk Champions on the roster in shooting guard Zach LaVine and Jones Jr. Many fans agreed that if the Bulls get Jones Jr. the Bulls will need to have a mini slam dunk competition before each home game. They also joked about adding Aaron Gordon to the team to round out the slam dunk squad.
This is fantastic news. Now we just need to get Aaron Gordon and we have the best dunking team in the NBA.
— Artūras Karnišovas Fan Club (@arturasfanclub) October 19, 2020
The overall opinion from Bulls Twitter is they don’t want Jones Jr. Maybe the Bulls see something in him that the fans don’t. Either way, it will be interesting to see who the Bulls decide to target once free agency starts.