The Chicago Bulls are doing their due diligence on second-round and potential undrafted prospects for the upcoming NBA Draft. As it stands, the Bulls have the 38th overall pick in the draft as their lone pick. Chicago's first round pick, which stands at number 8 overall, went to the Magic in the Nikola Vučević trade. There are several solid options that could be available at pick 38, but it seems like the Bulls are also checking out players who will likely be undrafted free agents. One of these potential options is Louisville point guard Carlik Jones. According to Daniel Greenberg, Jones met with the Bulls for a pre-draft workout.
Who is Carlik Jones?
Jones is a 6-foot-1 senior point guard who played for three seasons at Radford before transferring to Louisville for his senior season. The guard was a stud in the Big South during his sophomore and junior seasons at Radford, but junior year is where he really took off. Jones averaged 20 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 5.1 RPG on 48.8% shooting and 40.9% shooting from three.
If there were questions about whether or not Jones could still be a great player in the ACC, he answered them pretty quickly in his lone season at Louisville. On the season, Jones averaged 16.8 PPG, 4.5 APG, and 4.9 RPG, albeit on lower shooting percentages – 40.2% from the floor and 32.1% from deep. The 23-year-old finished second in ACC Player of the Year voting and earned First Team All-ACC honors.
The scoring prowess stands out. Jones is a pretty strong finisher around the basket for someone of his stature. He uses his body well to find pockets where he can finish around the hoop. While not outstanding, Jones does have a 36" vertical and 6'5" wingspan to aid his 6-foot-1, 174-pound self. His strongest asset might be his feel for running an offense and having the ball in his hands. Jones finished 4th in the ACC in assists/turnover ratio with a 2.18. He sees teammates well and utilizes a full repertoire of passes to move the ball around. He isn't too shabby when it comes to playing passing lanes and pressuring ball handlers either. He averaged 1.4 steals per game at Louisville which was right on par with his career average.
When it comes to getting drafted, two factors can particularly harm a player: being older and being smaller. Jones has both of those attributes. As a 23-year-old senior who will be 24 in December, Jones is very much a "higher floor" type of player. He doesn't come across as a guy bursting with the potential to become great given time. Also, for a smaller guard, Jones isn't much of a knock-down shooter. He has a bit of a set shot and lower release. While he shot nearly 41% as a junior at Radford, that is the outlier in his collegiate career. Over his four years, Jones averaged 32.5% from three.
Carlik Jones's most likely path to an NBA role is to improve his shooting and serve as an end-of-the-rotation guy. The good news is he could probably come in and fill that role in the next couple of years because of how well he handles the ball and plays within an offense. The other good news is that it wouldn't cost an NBA team much to get him. If Jones is drafted, it will be at the end of the second round. More than likely, Jones will be an undrafted free agent ready to sign with any team.
For the Bulls, Jones may be appealing as a replacement for a Ryan Arcidiacono-type player because he offers more athleticism and scoring potential. A team with a weak group of point guards like the Bulls would probably be appealing to Jones, too, as he looks to make it in the NBA. The fit could definitely be there; it is something to keep an eye on if Jones isn't drafted.