In this article series, the Bulls On Tap coverage team will be taking a look at newly acquired Chicago Bulls’ talent. In the first installment, I will be breaking down forward Derrick Jones Jr. If you’re unfamiliar with Jones, he will be entering his sixth NBA season. The Bulls acquired Jones from the Portland Trailblazers in the three-team trade that sent Lauri Markkanen to the Cleveland Cavaliers on August 28, 2021.
Jones went undrafted in 2016 after spending one season at UNLV. He signed a training camp deal with the Phoenix Suns and played a total of 38 games for them between 2016 and 2018. At the time, Jones was a raw prospect with considerable upside. At 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan, Jones flashed the potential of being an above-average defender in the NBA.
After his short stint with the Suns, Jones joined the Miami Heat. This is where his name would generate some buzz as he was the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion. An exceptional athlete, Jones has explosive dunks and is a pest on defense. In limited minutes, he can be the player that enters the game to disrupt the opposing team’s best scorer. When beat off the dribble, Jones uses his length to get back to his man to disrupt the shot.
Jones thrives off the dribble and in transition. Using his length and speed, he has a knack to get to the rim and finish. Jones should excel in his new surroundings with the Bulls, a team that is looking to pace and space. The 24-year-old will be a key piece within the Bulls’ bench rotation. Jones’s career averages won’t jump off the page, but sometimes the intricacies of the game don’t show up on the stat sheet.