DeMar DeRozan Doubles Down, Zach LaVine's Best Year? Ime Udoka News, and Other Bulls Bullets

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DeMar DeRozan Doubles Down, Zach LaVine’s Best Year? Ime Udoka News, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

DeMar DeRozan’s first season in Chicago arguably couldn’t have gone better. The veteran made his fifth All-Star appearance and earned his third All-NBA honor. He sat second in the league in total points scored, broke numerous franchise and league records, and carried the franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season. It was a year that Bulls fans will not soon forget, and I think we can say the same about the man himself.

  • In a recent conversation with J.J. Redick on The Old Man & the Three podcast, DeRozan opened up about what he learned from his most recent success. After several seasons of feeling like a fallen star in San Antonio, DeRozan said his first season in Chicago reminded him of the happiness that basketball can bring. He also seemed to suggest that the preparation that went into making that season happen is now the new norm:

“What’s crazy is everything I put myself through physically to prepare for this past season, it’s like I doubled-down around this summer. Knowing that I can with the hard work, knowing what to do with having a blueprint of what you’re working with. Being in a situation where you happy again to hoop. 

With all those elements there is finally a clear sight for me to move forward to continue to keep getting better. Not just for myself but as a leader as well – to make that next step as a leader to help my team move forward.”

  • Having a guy like DeRozan in the locker room is so darn comforting. He’s an incredibly thought-provoking player who I trust to take the right things away from each season. Not to mention, he certainly seems driven to continue his development on the floor and as a leader. This is a big reason why I wouldn’t mind seeing the team extend him down the road. I really do believe (1) his game will age rather well, and (2) his heart is in the right place. My biggest concern would revolve around his ability to adjust to a lower volume of shots, but he’s also developed the facilitating skills over the years to do so effectively.
  • Episode 2 of DeRozan’s offseason docu-series is out!
  • How does Zach LaVine make everything look so easy?
  • I’m probably just drinking too much preseason hype juice, but I really think Zach LaVine is on the brink of a massive year. He just doesn’t seem like the type of player who will put pen to paper on a max deal and plateau. Not only has he shown consistent improvement year after year, but there should be no lack of motivation after an extremely ugly exit in the playoffs. That was the All-Star’s first taste of postseason action, and I’m sure it left him starving for me, especially since he had to play through it on a bum knee.
  • Indeed, the fact that LaVine put together a borderline All-NBA-caliber season while playing well below 100 percent is probably not talked about enough. I think it just speaks to how dominant he could be this season on a fully healthy knee. And it sounds like head coach Billy Donovan is already starting to see the flashes of a possible big year in training camp:
  • With Lonzo Ball sidelined until likely 2023, I do think a door has opened for Dalen Terry to eat some minutes. He may not see the floor every night, but he can provide some of the wing defense and court vision that will be missing while Ball rides the bench.
  • The Bulls do need shooters … (I’m kidding, don’t hurt me).
  • Details continue to trickle out about the ongoing Ime Udoka situation. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has now reported that crude language toward a female employee played a role in his lengthy suspension. The NBA insider also emphasized that a path toward coaching the Celtics again could be closing:

Those investigative findings — which described verbiage on Udoka’s part that was deemed especially concerning coming from a workplace superior — contribute to what is likely a difficult pathway back to his reinstatement as Celtics coach in 2023, sources told ESPN.

  • You can read the latest on the Udoka situation below:
  • Well, good for that mayor.
  • Uh oh, I guess he’s gotta come to the Cubs.

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Author: Elias Schuster

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