Collegiate star Carlik Jones fighting for roster spot with Bulls

Carlik Jones, Chicago Bulls, NBA Summer League (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Carlik Jones, Chicago Bulls, NBA Summer League (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Among the most interesting prospects to watch in this year’s Summer League, Carlik Jones is someone worth following as the Chicago Bulls are set to begin their slate of five games in Las Vegas.

As Jones prepares to play his first game of the 2022 NBA Summer League, he has one advantage on his side ⁠— this won’t be his first rodeo. That’s because Carlik also played in last season’s Summer League for the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged 14.2 points, 3.6 assists, and 3 rebounds across five games.

After leading the Mavericks Summer League roster in both total points and assists, Carlik conveyed his success into a spot on the G League’s Texas Legends. When COVID-19 struck the Mavericks, he’d go on to be called up on two separate occasions to play alongside Luka Doncic in Dallas. He would even be called up a third time, to play with the Nuggets in early 2022.

Now with the Chicago Bulls, Jones will have ample opportunity to let his game shine.

I spoke to standout guard Carlik Jones about his goals and expectations for his upcoming Summer League stint with the Chicago Bulls.

Jones first grew his national image as a star at Radford, the same university current Chicago forward Javonte Green attended. “I know Woo Green because we both went to Radford,” says Jones, “That’s my guy.” As a junior, Carlik averaged 20 points, 5.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per outing en route to being named the Big South Player of the Year.

His playmaking skills and elite 40.9% shooting from deep helped him transfer and finish out his college career starting for the Louisville Cardinals. Despite the big move, Jones tells me remained unfazed, “The guys and the team at Louisville welcomed me with open arms so, honestly, it was a pretty smooth transition.”

Although he’d go undrafted in 2021, Carlik didn’t let his NBA aspirations die there.

The Summer League grants players a chance to thrive in a team environment, but ultimately they’re still out there competing to make a name for themselves in the end. We asked Carlik if he had set any personal goals for himself entering the season

“It’s important that I continue having fun with what I’m doing.  This is a slow, steady process, and I’m enjoying it,” says Jones, “Specifically, for next season, my goal is to earn an NBA roster spot and really start to make a name for myself in the NBA.”

Jones tells me he spends the most time reviewing film and modeling his game after NBA superstar Chris Paul. “I take pride in making my teammates and my team better,” he says. Carlik does acknowledge there’s still work to be done to continue improving. Since his shooting stroke has been lights out at times and a little disappointing at others, Carlik says finding consistency in his shot is one of the biggest priorities he’s working on.

Carlik seems to perfectly fit the mold of the high-energy jack of all trades that Chicago has sought after in recent years. His willingness to put his own production aside for the good of his team are shared qualities of the recently drafted Dalen Terry as well as the aforementioned Green. When asked about the best advice he’s ever received, Jones said he was once told, “Always stay ready.  I haven’t always been ‘the guy,’ I haven’t always started on every team I’ve ever been on, so you’ve always gotta be prepared.”

With one two-way spot still open for the Bulls, it’s entirely possible that Jones’ preparation could pay off as he attempts to play himself into the team’s final roster spot this summer.

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