Monday, November 29, 2021

Bulls Star DeMar DeRozans LA Demolition Fuels Lofty Award Chatter

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In October, it might come as no surprise that the Bulls had an MVP candidate of their own a month into that NBA season. It’s just that most would have predicted it would be Star Guard Zach LaVine. Here we are in mid-November, however, and the bull getting MVP buzz isn’t LaVine, but new Chicagoer DeMar DeRozan.

After a tough run to kick off Chicago’s road trip against Golden State on Friday, DeRozan dominated two games against the LA teams on Sunday and Monday, scoring 35 points in beating the Clippers, followed by 38 in a high profile match against the Lakers. DeRozan now averages 26.9 points per game on 51.0% shooting, with 37.1% 3-point shooting. He’s also pitching in 5.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

With the Bulls now at 10-4, more than a few watchers have noted that while it might be difficult to get down on Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, DeRozan earned at least a spot on MVP talk earlier this season.

The Athletic’s Twitter account tweeted on Monday: “Is DeMar DeRozan currently an MVP candidate?”

Even before DeRozan’s 73-point explosion in LA, USA Today’s For the Win site asked if DeRozan was “really” a candidate.

Yahoo Sportsbook, the website’s gambling division, pointed out that with a plus of 12,500, DeRozan would be a good choice.

This is undoubtedly sweet justice for DeRozan, who has been maligned many times in the modern NBA for focusing his game on middle-range shots that have become no-gos in an increasingly analytical era. Long 2-pointers aren’t a solid foundation for an offensive attack – at least not for most players.

DeRozan isn’t most of the gamer. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he shoots 28.5% of his shots from 3 to 16 feet and was extraordinarily efficient with these looks, sinking 53.3% of them. Coach Billy Donovan raved about DeRozan’s efficiency this season after the Lakers win:

For DeRozan, the key to his comfort in the current group of cops was starting with his star wing mate LaVine. DeRozan said it was LaVine who was trying to get him to accomplish more while scoring throughout the game.

“He tried to make me turn 40 tonight and I told him I was tired,” DeRozan said. “It’s just us. I’m pretty sure we’ll be playing games where it’s the other way around. “

But DeRozan said playing with a selfless group that includes LaVine, point guard Lonzo Ball, guard Alex Caruso, and tall man Nikola Vucevic (currently not on the team because he is in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols has helped him tap into the best his game has to offer.

“Be myself,” he said. “As I said yesterday, go play outside and not think. Choosing and choosing my spots. Just the hunger to want to be successful tonight – every night, really. Just go out there and compete, have fun with my teammates. The goal is to try to get a victory every night. It’s our job every night and I try to do my job as well as possible. “

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