The Chicago Bulls are off to a 6-2 start and getting strong play from a variety of guys. The team is playing exponentially better than they have over the past few years largely because of the new free-agent additions made to the roster over the offseason.
However, one of the most effective two-way contributors on the team has been Derrick Jones Jr., whom the Bulls got in their three-way trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers. As you can see from the NBA Math tweet below, DJJ is among the highest-ranking players on the roster when it comes to defensive points saved and offensive points added.
While he has only been firmly placed in he rotation since Patrick Williams‘ injury, DJJ hasn’t wasted the opportunity to show the Bulls what he’s capable of when given the chance.
A Closer Look at Derrick Jones Jr’s Performance as a Bull
If you only look at DJJ’s raw season averages, it’s easy to miss his value. After all, he’s only averaging 4.3 points, 2 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1 steal and shooting 60% from the field, 25% from three and he’s made all four of his free throws.
The block and steal numbers along with his shooting percentage is impressive, but there isn’t a ton of volume. He’s only played in four of the team’s eight games and he’s averaged 14.8 minutes per contest.
Still, to see the true value you have to look at his plus/minus. DJJ is an insane +41 in his four games and he’s had a positive impact in this regard in all but one of his appearances. The only time he was on the negative side of the plus/minus stat was in his 2-minute stint in the Bulls’ 128-112 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on October 22.
DJJ has shown the versatility to play either forward spot defensively, and his athleticism has been huge on both ends. Few can rise and slam like DJJ and his impact in transition or as a baseline cutter provides the Bulls with an opportunity to for easy buckets.
There have been speculative trades that have included DJJ, but the more he plays and performs well, the harder it may be for the team to part ways with the 24-year-old.
Who Loses Minutes When Coby White Returns?
The Bulls have done a good job filling in for Williams, but soon the team will have another potential roster dilemma. Instead of finding a fill-in for Williams, the Bulls will have to determine which guard loses minutes when Coby White is healthy enough to hopefully bolster the bench.
Rookie Ayo Dosunmu has been excellent off the bench. His play has pushed veteran Troy Brown Jr. to the bench in Billy Donovan’s rotation. When White returns, Dosunmu seems like the player most likely to lose minutes.
While Dosunmu is already a better defender than White has proven to be through his two-year career, Chicago desperately needs the latter’s offense for a second unit that is devoid of playmakers.
The Bulls may have to make the sacrifice and hope that what White provides from a scoring standpoint weighs heavier than Dosunmu’s defense.
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