The Chicago Bulls made several moves this offseason with executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas following through on his vows to address three-point shooting and point guard. And it’s one of those moves – signing point guard Jevon Carter – that land as the “biggest win” of the Bulls’ offseason, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report.
“Carter made our early ‘best value free agents’ list before free agency started,” Swartz wrote on July 24. “Overall, swapping [Patrick] Beverley for Carter was an upgrade for the Bulls this offseason.”
But Carter’s ability to play on and off the ball either off the bench or in the starting lineup unlocks a lot of lineup combinations for head coach Billy Donovan. Carter shot 42.1% on 4.2 attempts from beyond the arc last season. That’s a much-needed skill to have on a Bulls team that ranked 18th in three-point efficiency and 30th in threes taken.
Carter, 27, averaged a career-high 8.0 points with 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2022-23. The Chicago-area native’s offensive development is a bonus for a player who is also a top-notch defender.
“The Bulls can certainly use his…three-point shooting and playmaking ability,” Swartz added. “Getting Carter for under $20 million over three years was a great signing.”
It’s not just adding Carter, however. It’s that he can be considered an “upgrade” over Beverley.
Patrick Beverley Gave Bulls a Blueprint
“Working around Lonzo Ball’s injury makes everything a little harder,” an anonymous Bulls staffer told Keith Smith of Spotrac during Summer League. “We were a good team before he went down. You build a roster designed to play a certain way, around expensive players, and it becomes very hard when you lose one of those key guys. But we’re figuring it out.”
The Bulls went 14-9 with Beverley after the All-Star break, perhaps reinforcing their belief. Swartz considers Beverley, a vocal leader, the Bulls’ “biggest loss” of the offseason.
Carter will have lofty shoes to fill in that regard.
“We’re aware of the criticism about running it back,” a staffer told Smith. “But we have good players. Are we supposed to throw in the towel? We’ll be a playoff team, barring another major injury.”
Chicago won six fewer games in 2022-23 than they did in 2021-22, and fell four spots in the Eastern Conference because of it, clinging to the final spot in the Play-In Tournament even after Karnisovas began the season saying that he expected improvement from their five-game showing int he 2021-22 postseason.
Bulls Need Jevon Carter to be Upgrade Over Patrick Beverley
Karnsovas has touted that 14-9 finish repeatedly this offseason and, if he is to be right, then Carter being an upgrade over Beverley could be as close to a cure-all as the Bulls get.
Much of that came through his defensive efforts and ability to handle the ball, freeing up others to move off it. If Carter is indeed to match that while adding some reliability from three-point range, then Karnisovas’ assertion that he addressed the team’s needs will be valid.