Bulls’ Derrick Jones Jr Reveals Decision on Contract Option for 2023-24

Derrick Jones Jr Bulls-Wizards

Getty Derrick Jones Jr defends Monte Morris during a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards.

In a year full of ups and downs for the Chicago Bulls, the exploits of forward Derrick Jones Jr. as a defender and energy player were consistent crowd-pleasers. And those efforts had a measurable impact on winning, too.

Consequently, there has been a level of concern among the Windy City faithful about whether Jones would remain with the club beyond 2022-23. As it stands, the 26-year-old has a player option worth $3.36 million for next season.

Moreover, his usage plummeted to a meager 14.0 minutes per game in ’22-23, his lowest number in five years. So, one could definitely forgive him for wanting to explore his options this summer.

During a recent interview with NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson, however, Jones made it clear that he couldn’t envision a scenario in which he doesn’t exercise that option.

“Like I told [head coach Billy Donovan] and everybody else, I’m locked in for two years. I didn’t sign for two years for no reason. So I’m here for two years,” Jones told NBC Sports Chicago. “I just gotta sit down with my agent and talk to him, figure things out. But I don’t see why not. I got no other plans, yet.”

Bulls’ Derrick Jones Jr Did More With Fewer Minutes Than Many, Especially on the Defensive Side

Jones maintained a healthy level of perspective amid his reduced role, making the absolute most of the time he was allotted. He’s keenly aware of what he does well on the court but also understands the areas where he could do better. And he’s hopeful that he can make headway in those areas with better health in 2023-24.

“I just love being with these guys. I know my role isn’t always what I want it to be. I’ve been through a few injuries that might’ve set me back a little bit. I feel like a healthy DJ for all 82 is very special,” he said. “But I feel like I’ve played well when given minutes. I’ve done everything I can do with the role that I was given. Sometimes, I need to be a little more aggressive offensively. But defensively, I just do what I do.”

What he does is mighty impressive, too.

Over his 893 minutes of court time in ’22-23, the Bulls conceded just 106.0 points per 100 possessions. It’s a mark that tied Andre Drummond for the team lead among rotation regulars and was similarly tied for the ninth-best number league-wide among players appearing in 30-plus games and logging at least 10 minutes per contest.

Meanwhile, opposing players’ field-goal percentages dropped 5.9 percentage points overall and 9.5 from three-point range compared to their norms on shot attempts where Jones was the nearest defender.

“That’s one thing I learned in my career: Defense wins championships. I want to be All-Defensive team one day,” Jones said. “I feel like I could do it. I just need the right opportunity and proper amount of minutes.”

Ex-Bull Lauri Markkanen Debuts New Hairdo

The player who was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to bring Jones to the Bulls, Lauri Markkanen, just debuted a radical new look on Instagram. The pride of Finland will be knocking out some of his required military service back in his home country this summer and will be rocking the required hairstyle as he does so.

Markkanen just shared a picture of himself sans his signature golden locks on his timeline:

“The Finnisher” had a breakout campaign as a member of the Utah Jazz in ’22-23, averaging 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest while shooting 49.9% from the floor and 39.1% from three-point range.

He was selected to play in his first All-Star Game in February and is a finalist for the NBA‘s Most Improved Player Award.

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