The Chicago Bulls may still have a young (ish) former No. 2 overall pick who last logged a 13-5-5-2 line (while shooting 42.3% from three-point range) locked in at the point guard spot, but the position continues to be the club’s biggest area of need heading into a pivotal offseason.
Indeed, Lonzo Ball was the perfect floor general where keeping a DeMar DeRozan–Zach LaVine-Nikola Vucevic core on the right track was concerned. Unfortunately, the baller hasn’t laced up the high tops for an actual NBA game since January of 2022. And some are concerned about his ability to ever suit up for the Bulls — or any team, really — again due to his lingering knee issues.
Some would point to Patrick Beverley as the ideal standby in the event that Ball can’t come back, and the 14.7 net rating that Chicago’s final starting five posted definitely feeds that fire. At the same time, though, Pat Bev doesn’t add much offensively as an individual. And, as an almost 35-year-old, he may not have much left in the tank.
With all that being the case, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley is pitching another point-man as a Lonzo insurance policy. Namely, Tyus Jones of the Memphis Grizzlies.
B/R: Grizzlies PG Tyus Jones Is the Point Guard the Bulls Should Be Targeting
Buckley recently dropped his list of “dream targets” for each of the Association’s 30 teams on the summer trade market. For the Bulls, that was the 27-year-old Jones, who has been one of the better backup points in the league — and an incredible spot starter — for a handful of years now.
If the Bulls want to win, they have to address their Lonzo Ball-sized hole in the backcourt. Tyus Jones isn’t a carbon copy of the injured floor general, but he is an expert decision-maker and feisty defender. He seems good enough to start—in places where All-Star point guards don’t already reside, that is—with career per-36-minute averages of 12.7 points and 7.4 assists against only 1.4 turnovers.
Buckley is no stranger to taking the baton from a top-flight point guard and running with it; he did so to incredible effect when Grizz star Ja Morant was away from the team this season. In his 22 starts, the Duke product averaged 16.4 points, 8.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds nightly while shooting 50.0% from the floor and 41.5% from three-point range.
He’s also one of the better ballers in the league where taking care of the ball is concerned, boasting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.64 to one.
Jones Wouldn’t Encumber the Bulls Long-Term
As it stands, Jones has just one year and $14 million left on his contract. For a Bulls team that was reluctant to take on stiff luxury tax penalties and long-term salary to improve its roster last offseason, that makes him all the more attractive as a possible trade target.
Jones’ ability to serve in either a featured/starting role or as the backup quarterback makes him an attractive target as well.
Despite everything the Grizzlies’ guard brings to the table, the Bulls’ ideal scenario continues to be the return of a healthy Ball to lead the charge in 2023-24. Fortunately, Jones could simply remain in his spot as one of the game’s best No. 2s if that were to happen.