When the game is on the line, the Chicago Bulls want the ball in DeMar DeRozan’s hands. And they’re not the only ones.
HoopsHype asked a pool of 21 NBA Executives to name their Top-5 clutch players in the NBA, and DeMar DeRozan was well-represented. The Bulls All-Star Starter finished with 40 percent of the maximum votes possible, putting him second behind only Kevin Durant on the complete list of the NBA’s best clutch performers. DeRozan finished ahead of superstars Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, and Luka Doncic.
“DeRozan is a tough shot maker who can score from all over the floor,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “His ability to score, pass, or get to the foul line is so hard to defend. You can have your best perimeter defender draped all over him, and he can still find ways to beat you. You just have to tip your cap to those types of guys.”
No one has scored more points in the 4th quarter (472) than DeRozan this season, and his 55.5 field goal percentage sits second-best among players who have scored at least 300 points in the final frame (Antetokounmpo is first with a 56.1 FG%). And if DeRozan isn’t knocking down his shots at an efficient rate, he’s normally forcing his way to the free-throw line. His 138 free-throw attempts in the 4th quarter this season rank second behind Antetokounmpo’s 163.
If we want to be a bit more technical and look specifically at DeRozan’s “clutch” stats (numbers in the final five minutes of a game that is within 5 points), he continues to check every box. His 124 points sit just three behind Joel Embiid for the league-lead, and his 16 assists rank within the NBA’s top-10. The icing on the cake: He’s made this significant of an impact while turning the ball over a total of three times, which is tied with teammate Zach LaVine for the fewest of anyone who ranks top-15 in clutch points.
DeRozan has two massive buzzer-beaters under his belt to go along with 19 double-digit 4th quarter scoring efforts. His midrange game has been impossible for defenders to stop all season long (especially that turnaround fadeaway), and it’s made for the perfect go-to weapon once the game slows down in the final seconds. Even when the defender is within 0-2 feet on his 4th quarter shots, per NBA Stats, DeRozan is 10-16 from the field. Give him a bit more room where the defender is 2-4 feet away (which makes up about 64.0 percent of DeRozan’s 4th quarter shot attempts), and DeRozan is converting at a 53.8 percent mark. Nuts!
DeRozan’s continuously efficient play in the biggest moments is a big reason why he finds himself in the MVP conversation. He’s undoubtedly been one of the most reliable players when the game is on the line, and he’s made it nearly impossible not to notice.
For a more complete look at what the NBA executive had to say, you can check out HoopsHype’s article below:
NBA execs poll: Who are the top clutch players today?
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) February 28, 2022