The Chicago Bulls have crumbled since the All-Star break, and with it has come the collapse of DeMar DeRozan’s MVP campaign.
While it never quite felt like DeRozan would take home the award, his heroic play for the resurgent Bulls this season certainly kept him in the conversation. The 32-year-old veteran earned his fifth All-Star appearance this season and has maintained his spot at the top of the NBA’s total points leaderboard. His MVP case reached its peak in February when he strung together 10-straight 30-point games. Over that stretch, he also had an absurd streak of eight-straight games with 35+ points on 50 percent shooting, breaking a record previously held by Wilt Chamberlain.
Unfortunately, DeRozan has fallen back down to earth since the end of February. While he’s still averaged a solid 24.8 points per game over that stretch, he’s shot just 44.9 percent from the field in the last 13 games, a stark contrast from his 51.7 percent over the first 57 games of the season. A team he previously kept in the top-3 of the Eastern Conference has also fallen off a cliff. The Bulls have gone just 5-11 over the past 16 games and will have to fight to keep themselves out of the Play-In Tournament over their final eight contests.
ESPN recently conducted another unofficial poll to see where the MVP race stands. A total of 100 media members were asked to rank their top-5 candidates. When analyst Tim Bontemps did this back in December, DeRozan sat just outside the top-5 with the 6th-most total votes. Considering his historic February run that followed, I think it’s fair to assume the veteran forward had real potential to creep into the top-5. Now, however, it appears DeRozan may not even finish within the top-10.
The latest results from a pool of 100 media members put DeRozan 12th on a list of 13 players. He finished one spot ahead of Trae Young, receiving just three 5th-place votes.
You can check out the full list below:
New ESPN story: The results from the final MVP straw poll are in — and they show a major change with less than two weeks remaining before ballots are due. https://t.co/Bi5qax8An2
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) March 29, 2022
For what it’s worth, the race at the top remains as tight as ever. Nikola Jokic reclaimed the lead in these latest results, but Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo did not fall too far behind. The middle of the pack also seems like it could fluctuate over the final handful of games, but it does appear that DeRozan is officially out of the mix for a competitive finish. I know, it’s a bummer, especially after an absurdly strong two-thirds of the season.