DeMar DeRozan and the 6-1 Chicago Bulls are looking like the best team in the NBA. The offseason that saw GM Marc Eversley bring in major firepower in DeRozan and Lonzo Ball to combine with the developing talent of Zach LaVine was genius. Early on, the Chicago Bulls are turning heads and putting the NBA on notice that their early play is not an anomaly, but a reality to follow for the rest of the 2021-22 season. After nine good years with the Toronto Raptors and three with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, a career resurgence is exactly what DeRozan needed to stamp his name on the game via the history-laden confines of the United Center. How'd DeRozan get here and what's next for him and his Bulls teammates?
The 6'6" shooting guard out of USC via Compton High School has been a quality player in the NBA and will put up 40 points on any given night on teams with all of his talent. DeRozan is a four-time NBA All-Star and a member of two All-NBA teams in his 13 seasons in the league. He is one of Toronto Raptors' greatest players and is now looking to show Chicago Bulls fans that he is ready to help take them to the next level and bring a winning feeling back to the Windy City.
The nine seasons DeRozan played in Toronto established him as an NBA force and also helped give the Toronto Raptors credibility as a team as they went on to win the title. Though he was not a part of the championship-winning side, his footprint remains on the franchise.
Ree Ree Phillips of Toronto speaks on what DeRozan meant to the city:
"DeMar DeRozan was the proof to the NBA world and the NBA fandom that Toronto is a space, a city, that players would commit to long term. DeMar DeRozan showed us that, although he could go home and play for an American market, that Toronto embraced him so much and gave him so much growth as a player from rookie to where he was that he didn't want to go anywhere else. The city of Toronto respected that to this day, hardcore."
DeRozan signed an US$81.9 million contract to play in Chicago this past offseason. He is currently the Bulls' leading scorer, averaging 25.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game and is shooting the rock well: 49% from the field and 41% from the arc. He is also hitting his foul shouts at a 87% clip. Being a career 28% shooter from the three-point line, and someone who has never shot it better than 34% from the arc, either his three-point shooting will tail off or redefine him as a shooter in just one season in Chicago.
Playing with Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine
The Chicago Bulls' big three is a dangerous combination of skill, athleticism, experience and determined will. Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine each have major shoulder chips and will exact all that passion and incentive on the opposition no matter who. What will be interesting is when the Chicago Bulls are on the road playing an NBA title contender. How will the big three respond?
LaVine's numbers are slightly down in every category except free throw shooting, yet his 25.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists seem more of a welcoming accommodation to Ball and DeRozan than a true dropoff.
Ball is a steady point guard who will fill up the stat sheet and also defend the position as well as anyone. His average of 12.3 points, 4.4 assists, 5.7 boards, 1.9 steals and a block per game is just what Chicago should expect out of Ball, and those numbers will rise as will the continued good play defensively.
DeRozan has a big opportunity to show the NBA that despite all the talk of him simply being capable, he won't dispel that erroneous perception in the press, yet will do the talking on the court. His three-point shooting is a surprise given his past shooting woes from deep, and if he commits to securing such a good percentage from the arc, he will be unguardable.
The floor will also open up for LaVine and give Ball opportunities to attack the rim as the defense folds over to his high scoring teammates. What is evident in DeRozan's veteran game is the resolution of a confident, almost workmanlike attitude that is both team and individual goal-oriented.
That is a dangerous ambition for the opposition to face nightly, and Deebo, true to his name, will simply dominate until the clock goes boom. The Chicago Bulls' 6-1 record looks pretty to others, yet for DeRozan, it's just another number in the way of attaining an NBA world championship goal.
Also Read: Who is Lonzo Ball’s girlfriend, Ally Rossel?
Poll : Will DeMar DeRozan be in line for his 5th NBA All-Star team?
No, there will be more deserving players.