The Chicago Bulls have another MVP.
He averaged 27.1 points per game, 7 assists and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field and 36 percent on threes. He’s Carlik Jones and he’s the 2022-23 G League MVP.
“To start the season it was a goal of mine,” Jones told CHGO. “I thought I had a pretty solid year last year. And my goal was to be on an active NBA roster to start this season. It didn’t happen that way, but I told myself that if I have to play in the G League again, I want to win MVP.”
“It means a lot,” he said. “It just lets me know, you know I set my goal at the beginning of the year, I achieved it and now all the hard work has paid off.”
Jones, 25, took a circuitous route to G League stardom. He signed a contract with the Bulls over the summer of 2022 and joined the team for Summer League. He played well and earned an Exhibit 10 contract in August ’22 and was part of the team with training camp, but waived shortly thereafter.
But he and the Bulls stayed in touch, and was re-signed, this time to a two-way contract, when the team waived Kostas Antetokounmpo in mid-December.
From there, Jones has stuck with the Bulls.
“I started here in preseason, and unfortunately I was waived,” Jones recounted. “But I stuck with it and they stuck with me. With developing me, staying close contact with me. It just means a lot. I didn’t complain, I respected the decision. Just put my head down and worked and grinded, and they decided to give me another chance and I’m forever grateful.”
Jones took advantage and absolutely balled out in the G.
“My whole life I feel like a lot of things were looked over,” he said. “I just really appreciate the organization, the front office, my teammates. Them showing me love, them giving me the praises. It’s really all that matters to me. I appreciate the fans. Them showing me that love means the most.”
He led the G League in scoring. He scored 40 or more points in three of his 24 games played. He hit a game-winner to send the Windy City Bulls to the G League Showcase Cup Final.
“I shot it better overall,” Jones said of his improvements. “From the three, from the field. I just stayed consistent more in what I was going. I had some games last year where I would go on a stretch of shooting well, but it was up and down. But this year I stayed even keeled and my numbers stayed pretty solid.”
After winning the award, the Bulls converted Jones’ two-way contract to a standard roster spot, rewarding him for his work and success with the Windy City Bulls.
A life changing moment for him.
“100 percent [a life changing moment],” he said. “Just from me going to a G League contract to a standard two-way and then getting it converted a month or two later. It’s amazing. A complete blessing.”
Jones says the love his teammates have shown him means a lot, but there was nothing like his parents informing him via video after practice.
“Apparently my parents knew days before I knew,” he said. “They had my parents send in videos congratulating me and just shouting me out. They showed me after a shoot around before the last home game. It was amazing. The feeling was incredible. To see my mom and dad be the ones who told me was pretty fun.”
Despite tasting success at the G League level, Jones is now focused on carving out a niche for himself in the NBA. Having played in only 11 NBA games across two teams, he is ready to take advantage of any opportunity in front of him.
“I’m a hard worker. I love what I do. I love the game. I love the fans. I’m a high energy dude. Whenever I get the opportunity to be myself I will.”