I’m not ready to call it a full-scale bromance, but Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan have been getting along just fine.
DeRozan told reporters on Media Day that he and his new teammate spent plenty of time together after the Bulls acquired him this summer. Additionally, we know LaVine was part of the organization’s recruiting efforts this offseason, implying LaVine played a role in DeRozan’s decision to make Chicago his new home. Only time will tell whether or not this relationship continues to blossom, but if DeRozan’s recent comments to Stadium’s Shams Charania serve as any indication, I’d say the Bulls are in good shape.
“The talent Zach has in this league is incredible,” DeRozan said. “It’s a shame that he hasn’t been able to be on a main stage and show that. Obviously, he had a chance with the Olympic team this year, but when you play in the NBA you want to see what it’s like in the postseason. So just having a dynamic guy like that in my career, I haven’t played with a talent at that wing position like Zach before.
He’s incredible, he can score the ball, his athleticism, he’s one of a kind. And when I put everything I’ve been through in my career and share that with him – and also win together – that was one of the big reasons why I decided to even come to Chicago, is to play with a guy like Zach. Experience winning, experience something he hasn’t, and something I haven’t in a while either.”
LaVine demonstrated last season that he has what it takes to be a winning player, but the next step is to actually put those wins on the board. While DeRozan’s talented game alone can help accomplish that, it’s this excitement to play alongside LaVine that can take everything to the next level.
People have been concerned about the fit between these two offensive alphas, but the willingness to show LaVine the ropes suggests a willingness to adapt. DeRozan doesn’t want to run the show, he wants to make it better, and this isn’t particularly hard to believe after what he accomplished last season.
The 2020-21 campaign for DeRozan was one of the best of his career. While he still served as the team’s top scorer, it was his playmaking that stood out above the rest. He averaged a career-high 6.9 assists per game, and BBall Index’s Playmaking Metric ranked DeRozan’s overall Playmaking Talent in the league’s 94th percentile. More specifically, his Passing Efficiency (quality of possessions, focusing on limiting turnovers and getting the ball to teammates quickly) ranked in the league’s 96th percentile. So not only was his willingness to set up his teammates at an all-time high, but his effectiveness in doing so was toward the top of the league.
Combine his changing game with the clear desire to play alongside a talent of LaVine’s stature, and the concern over role or fit diminishes even more. But this is now entering a discussion we have talked about at length numerous times before. Give the full interview a watch below to hear DeRozan talk more about his career. Then, if you want more DeRozan-LaVine talk, check this out.
New Bulls star DeMar DeRozan sits down with @Stadium: “I haven’t played with a talent at that wing position like Zach (LaVine). I want to put everything I’ve been through in my career, share that with him, win together.” Also: Lakers, disrespect in free agency, being more vocal. pic.twitter.com/3dWWSZY5PC
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 8, 2021