Monday, November 29, 2021

Nikola Vucevic praises Bulls’ huge free agent acquisition

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The Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic may be incapacitated while going through COVID-19 logs, but he shouldn’t be excluded from the team’s celebration in Los Angeles. The Bulls did a Staples Center sweep on Sunday and Monday as they invaded the City of Angels and handed over the Los Angeles Clippers and LA Lakers losses on their shared home floor.

In the two games, Bulls star DeMar DeRozan averaged a whopping 35 points per game. The LA native, who talked about signing with the Lakers in the off-season before the team decided to chase Russell Westbrook, was apparently on a mission to show it off to his home teams.

DeRozan ended up with the Bulls thanks to a sign-and-trade deal with the San Antonio Spurs. Apparently, Vucevic, who was a DeRozan’s college teammate at USC, made a recruiting call to the former Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs star to convince him to consider the Bulls.

It worked, and Vucevic took the time to pat himself on the back for his efforts.

DeRozan was arguably the best free agent acquisition in the NBA this season. While technically acquired through trade, DeRozan had to be ready to sign his new deal with the intention of playing for the Bulls.

In 14 games, DeRozan averages 26.9 points per game. While he will never be Kawhi Leonard on the defensive, DeRozan wasn’t the complete responsibility in that regard that some would lead you to believe he would be when he signed. DeRozan averages just under one steal per contest and is unusual where he has to be defensive. If you deliver like he did on the offensive, that’s acceptable.

No other NBA player joining a new team this year has had a greater impact on their team’s success.

On November 16, DeRozan was third in the NBA with 26.9 points per game. That average is just behind Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. The scoring in its simplest form is valuable in itself, but it is more impressive when DeRozan scores his points.

Among the players who have played at least 8 games this season, DeRozan is tied in the NBA lead in the fourth quarter with 7.5 points per final phase. When you consider the Bulls have won four games by 10 points or less this season, you know how big DeRozan’s late goals have been for Chicago.

While DeRozan was strong, Zach LaVine was almost as good as last season. His number of shots has decreased somewhat, mainly due to a thumb injury, but he is still seventh in the league. The Bulls are the only team in the NBA with two players ranked in the top 10 in football.

Neither LaVine nor DeRozan seem to care about each other’s successes. In fact, you can see the two stars have a solid local relationship, and LaVine often retweeted pro-DeRozan tweets.

The cops still need a power forward, Vucevic to come back strong after COVID-19 and Coby White to get a factor off the bank, but they’re in a good position overall.

Yes, Vucevic’s interview was a winner.

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