Here at CHGO, we’re kicking off the Bulls summer with evaluations of each individual player’s season.
Today, we cast our eyes on Bulls forwards Javonte Green, Derrick Jones. Jr, and Patrick Williams.
These overall advanced stats are another piece of the puzzle to add context when evaluating players. Check out this article to learn more about each metric.
In comparison to reasonable expectations, both the box score and advanced metrics for all Green and Jones Jr. read favourable. The same can’t be said for Williams, however, but given his injury-interrupted season, mining into his numbers seems foolhardy.
Two injuries would define the Bulls’ season-long power forward rotation.
Wednesday, Sep. 15, 2021: Patrick Williams suffers a severe ankle injury, one that would sideline him for a month.
Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021: Patrick Williams tears ligaments in his wrist. Such is the damage of the injury, the 20-year-old is forced to undergo surgery and miss the majority of his sophomore season.
Without Williams, the Bulls needed a makeshift solution. In many ways, Javonte Green admirably filled in for Williams.
Acting as a defensive utility, Green was instrumental in shaping the Bulls’ early-season identity of switching, gambling for steals, and forcing transition baskets with expert lane running. Similarly, Jones Jr. added the same qualities to bench units.
Though Green and Jones Jr. were able to provide a necessary defensive, neither could be relied upon to positively impact offensive possessions. This is where the loss of Williams truly hurt.
At least, in theory.
We’ll never know what a fully actualized year two for Williams could’ve been. The hope was he’d show more offensive skills and aggression than his rookie season. All the tools are there. What he has, Green and Jones Jr. don’t.
Unfortunately, we never got to see it.
The Bulls showed no real interest in moving Williams at the trade deadline. Given this, his guaranteed contract, and the faith management has in his upside, it’s safe to assume he will be returning to Chicago.
Green has one year remaining on a deal that is paying league minimum salary. As his production greatly outweighs his contract, expect Green to be back.
While Williams and Green have deals locked up for next season, Jones Jr. is an unrestricted free agent.
Unsurprisingly, Zach LaVine and his status as an unrestricted free agent is the biggest question looming for the Bulls during the offseason. Quietly, though, the decision to re-sign LaVine may impact Jones’ place on the roster.
LaVine is going to receive a massive bump in salary. The Bulls have the means to pay it, in addition to offering Jones a reasonable deal to come back. Doing so, though, will likely require ownership to dip into the luxury tax.
In speaking to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Michael Reinsdorf confirmed the Bulls’ willingness to pay the tax. He did, though, make one caveat.
But when it comes to a team like this (the Bulls), and if we can take the necessary steps next year that allow us to compete for a championship, then for sure we’ll go into the tax. It’s part of the nature of the NBA.
Does re-signing Jones Jr. qualify as a “necessary step” to building toward a championship-level team? If not him, will the Bulls pay for a replacement? Does the Bulls’ first-round exit against the Milwaukee Bucks negatively influence ownership’s opinion on the team?
LaVine will draw the most talking points, though the decision into how the Bulls treat Jones’ free agency may be the biggest clue we have on how willing ownership is to spend, and if they fill this collective is worthy.