Give DeMar DeRozan his flowers for putting the Bulls in first place

Don’t look now, but the Bulls have finally found their compliment to Zach LaVine in DeMar DeRozan.
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What a three-game stretch for the NBA’s fifth top scorer, DeMar DeRozan. Mr. Anti-analytics let his mid-range shot fly all season, pushing him to an average of 26.9 points per game. With 28 points and six assists on Monday, DeRozan led the Chicago Bulls in points and assists as they knocked out the Orlando Magic, 102-98. It was the Bulls eighth consecutive victory.

Over the weekend, DeRozan’s clutch baskets helped preserve the Bulls’ winning streak. On Friday and Saturday he scored 28 and 29 points in wins against Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards, respectively. While those mid-range turnarounds and pull-ups accounted for most of those points, they were a couple of 3 points that youth basketball coaches would like to clear from the internet who have won both games.

Against the Pacers,the Bulls were down 106-105 in their final possession when DeRozan pulled away from a leg from the top of the key and buried a triple right in Torrey Craig’s face when time ran out, giving the Bulls a 108-106 win. The next day, the Bulls were down 117-119 against the Wizards in their last possession. DeRozan took the pass in, dribbled in a coffin corner, pump faked and hit a three in Bradley Beal’s face for the Bulls 120-119 win. It became the first player in NBA history to create winning buzzers on consecutive days.

The Bulls currently have a two-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets for the Eastern Conference seed and DeRozan is one of the main reasons for the greater success the Bulls have had since the 2011-12 season. He shoots 49.4 percent from the field while averaging the second-most points in his 13-season NBA career. His score greatly improved a Bulls bout he had struggled a lot in the previous six seasons. They had not finished a season with an offensive score better than 19th since the 2014-15 season. In the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons the Bulls finished 28th and 27th respectively in the offensive standings.

Across 35 games this season the Bulls have the sixth-NBA’s highest offensive score. The Bulls have made many moves this offseason and while most have been praised, what has been questioned has been the sign and trade for DeRozan. With Zach LaVAfter the best season of his career, would he have been able to coexist on the pitch with DeRozan, and what about Coby White that the Bulls selected seventh overall in the NBA draft in 2019?

White has adapted to his new role after wasting time through injury this season, and while DeRozan has the fifth-best scoring average in the NBA, LaVone has the sixth. It turns out that having two of the top 10 scorers in the league is very important in getting an attack from the basement.

DeRozan’s success this season doesn’t mean he should win the MVP, or even join the NBA All-First squad, but it serves as a reminder that at 32, he’s still one of the league’s top scorers.

The friendship between Kyle Lowry and DeRozan was never going to win an NBA championship, so DeRozan was part of a swap to bring Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors and led to the franchise’s first NBA championship. Excellent decision by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, but the exchange did not mean the end of DeRozan’s career. In three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs he averaged 22.7 points per game with 50.1% shooting.

The Bulls knew that DeRozan had a lot of gas in the tank, and by taking him to Chicago they now have a real chance for the best Eastern Conference record for the first time in 10 years.

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