As the Chicago Bulls walked off the United Center court with their first eight-game winning streak in nearly a decade, DeMar DeRozan walked back on.
The NBA’s 6th-leading scorer just finished posting his 11th game of the season with at least 29 points. Sure, it could have been better without a 7-13 performance from the free-throw line, but at least it was good enough to extend the longest active winning streak in the NBA, right?
Wrong. I’m pretty sure “good” and “enough” are two words that have never joined hands in DeRozan’s brain.
As workers began to tear apart the court to prepare the ice for Tuesday’s Blackhawks game, DeRozan kept his feet planted behind the charity stripe.
“I probably made 250,” DeRozan told reporters when asked how many shots he tossed up after the game.
Bulls game ended about 30 min ago. They’re breaking down the United Center court to switch over to hockey
But DeMar DeRozan after going an uncharacteristic 7 for 13 at FT line is out here still shooting FTs pic.twitter.com/Ri5bjJejHy
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) January 4, 2022
— chuck swirsky (@ctsbulls) January 4, 2022
The 32-year-old veteran who averaged the 5th-most trips to the line per game has shot 87.6 percent on his freebies this season. With that being the case, most could forgive and forget an off-night, especially when it comes tied to a win. DeRozan isn’t most.
“We understand what’s our task, and that’s to continue to keep getting better,” DeRozan said. “Yeah, we won some games, we’re on a win streak, but we’re not satisfied with none of that.”
Whether it be his masterful footwork, his smart ball-handling, or his insanely efficient midrange jumper, it’s clear that DeRozan has been built off moments like this. He’s a player who not only holds himself accountable and leads by example, but he’s one with a clear obsession for the process. It’s likely why he chose the Chicago Bulls in the first place, explaining recently on the Knucklehead Podcast that deciding to wear red “took me back to that undergo mentality that I had my whole career.”
A four-time All-Star with another nod surely on the way, the last thing DeRozan needs to do is chuck up 250 free throws after the third game in four days. But the man practices what he preaches, and it’s that kind of mentality that has started to define the new era of Chicago Bulls basketball.
For more on DeRozan:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 3, 2022