DeRozan Addresses the Haters, Can LaVine Finally Make a Two-Way Impact? Media Day Highlights, and Other Bulls Bullets

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DeRozan Addresses the Haters, Can LaVine Finally Make a Two-Way Impact? Media Day Highlights, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Despite finishing second in total points scored and earning an All-NBA Second Team honor, DeMar DeRozan still had to address the doubters during his second Media Day in Chicago.

Be it questions about his age or being referred to as one of the NBA’s most overrated players, the five-time All-Star can’t seem to catch a break: “It’s like, god damn, what did I do to y’all,” he laughed when asked about the lingering haters.

  • While DeRozan admitted that some of the ongoing criticism can irk him at times, he also sounded ready to turn any and all negativity into a positive:

“At this point, I always find humor in it,” DeRozan said at Monday’s Media Day. “You always try to find reasons to be motivated. At this point, I have so many other motivational factors – that becomes laughable to me. But I always use whatever I can take as free energy. I indulge in it. And just let them eat their words whenever they eat it.”

  • We saw just how well DeRozan can transform questions into answers when last season tipped off. Arguably nobody received more offseason criticism than the Chicago Bulls for signing the veteran forward to a three-year, $81.9 million contract. But not only did he instantly mesh with Zach LaVine and put together turn one of the best seasons of his career, the chip that sat on his shoulder seemed to radiate across the roster. With doubt, yet again, starting to creep over Chicago thanks to Lonzo Ball’s injury and the Eastern Conference improvements, perhaps we’ll see the entire team take another page out of DeRozan’s book.
  • As it pertains to concerns about DeRozan’s age, I think he hit it right on the nose with this response: “Who comes up with these theories? It’s not like I’m 48 … I think a lot of people overthink so much when it comes to anything in life. All I can do is work my butt off to continue to try to get better every single moment. I don’t look at it as, ‘oh my god, I’m going into this year, maybe I can’t do this.'”
  • Look, I’m sure when DeRozan’s body starts to break down, he’ll adjust. The guy has shown in recent years that he’s open to adapting elements of his game. But after the season he just had, why would he walk into the 2022-23 campaign any different? As he went on to put it, he’s going to keep driving until the wheels fall off, and he hasn’t even gotten a flight tire yet. Constantly worrying about when that flat tire might come will only have an adverse impact on his play.
  • Some of my thoughts from Media Day warrant individual posts, others deserve nothing more than a brief bullet. This fits the latter: PLEASE STOP ASKING ABOUT PLAYING ANDRE DRUMMOND AND NIKOLA VUCEVIC TOGETHER!!!! I’ve already seen this idea brought up multiple times over the last 24 hours, and my brain is about to explode.
  • These two can not and will not share the court. As well as Vucevic has spaced the floor in the past, he isn’t a power forward. Not to mention, he even spoke yesterday about how he hopes to re-establish a greater presence in the paint this year. The main reason this would be atrocious, though, is because of the defensive deficiencies both players possess. Neither Vucevic nor Drummond is equipped to adequately guard an opposing four, especially in an era where most teams are playing smaller anyway. So, yeah, let’s please stop asking Donovan about this potential lineup. He knows it’s silly, and he said that in the kindest way possible this morning on Mully & Haugh.
  • I’m not sure LaVine is given enough respect for the kind of season he put together last year despite the injury trouble. Not only did he play on a knee that was far below 100 percent, but he also dealt with a pretty serious thumb injury during the first few months of the season. The fact he was able to still put together an obvious All-Star-caliber campaign is extremely impressive, and I think it speaks to how much better a fully healthy version of him can be this year.
  • If one thing is for sure, head coach Billy Donovan sounded extremely optimistic about the Bulls’ new max player. Here’s what he said this morning on 670 The Score:

“Zach’s got the ability to be I think a really really outstanding two-way player,” Donovan said on Mully & Haugh. “I think he’s focused very much on his defense. I think there were things last year that really inhibited him from being the kind of two-way player that we all believe he can be. But I think the biggest thing is being that two-way player, being who he is. I think he plays with the right intentions.”

  • I know we’ve heard about LaVine’s ability to take the next step defensively for the last several seasons … and it still hasn’t happened. But I also think there are valid excuses in place. Before last year the Bulls’ ship would sink on a nightly basis without LaVine scoring his butt off. Then, once they finally got him the kind of help that would allow him to exert more energy on the defensive end, he suffered multiple injuries. So, as long as he can stay healthy, this does feel like the year where we should finally see improvement on this side of the ball. Especially with Ball sidelined, LaVine has to prioritize better two-way play to help his team win.
  • Lonzo Ball’s status remains about as up in the air as ever, which means finding his replacement in the starting lineup will be a training camp priority.
  • FWIW: Ball is expected to address the media later today for the first time since his end-of-season press conference. While it’s hard to imagine he can offer more details on a possible timetable for return (surgery is scheduled for tomorrow), it should be nice to hear how things have gone from his perspective.
  • Speaking of Lonzo, he’s confident that his brother LiAngelo can finally carve out a role in the NBA.
  • Kostas looks ready to recruit his brother not named Thanasis, Alex, or Kostas!
  • Bobby Marks hits it right on the nose when talking about the concerns in Chicago.
  • Zach LaVine made a star-studded appearance in the latest New Balance add:
  • As many questions as there are for the Bulls this season, it’s so nice to see everyone together and smiling again. This group enjoys spending time with each other, and that’s half the battle in today’s NBA.
  • A 3-1 start would be huge.
  • Hey, wait, the Bulls can’t play on that!?

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.