(Psst ... DeMar DeRozan is Doing it Again)

Social Navigation

(Psst … DeMar DeRozan is Doing it Again)

Chicago Bulls

It was supposed to be nothing more than a feel-good story.

The Chicago Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan free-agent signing was bashed as arguably the worst of the summer. Few believed the veteran scorer still had any winning basketball left in the tank – let alone next to another high-usage All-Star in Zach LaVine.

What followed, however, was the best season of DeRozan’s career.

The 33-year-old earned an All-NBA Second Team honor as he averaged 27.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists on 50.4 percent shooting from the field. He finished second in the NBA in total points scored and at the top of the league in 4th quarter points. While the rest of the roster deserves credit, DeRozan’s consistent late-game heroics led the Bulls to their first playoff appearance since the 2016-17 season.

But still the doubt persisted. Not only were people (rightfully) questioning what the Chicago Bulls were capable of heading into this season, but they were doing so specifically on the assumption that DeRozan simply couldn’t do it all again.

He’s good but not that good, right? He’s getting too old, right? Wrong. So so wrong.

While the Bulls may not be off to the same hot start we saw during the 2021-22 season, DeRozan’s fire hasn’t gone out. The Chicago Bulls’ All-Star is averaging 25.9 points, 4.4 assists, and 4.2 rebounds. He’s still shooting a highly efficient 52.4 percent and is performing better than anyone who taking at least 4.0 midrange attempts per game (54.3 percent).

Over the Bulls’ past four games, DeRozan has sat third in the NBA in scoring behind only Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic. He’s averaged 33.3 points per game, most recently scoring 38 points on a 14-24 performance against arguably the NBA’s best defensive team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

Whether it be perfectly sinking fadeaway jumpers off the corner glass or tricking defenders with yet another shot fake, DeRozan continues to play like one of the most elite and unstoppable scorers in the NBA. And that’s not it.

Wednesday’s victory over Milwaukee was a perfect demonstration of how DeRozan has grown into the winning player we see today. He dished 8 assists – one shy of his season-high on opening night against Miami – and played a foundational role in promoting the kind of unselfish ball movement this Bulls offense can thrive on. Not only did he assist Coby White on the go-ahead 3-pointer with a beautifully well-timed pass after leaving his feet and drawing the Antetokounmpo help, but he also found Nikola Vucevic with 20.6 seconds left for another 3 that iced the game.

Additionally, the DeRozan of yesteryear would have gasped at the defense he played against a championship-caliber opponent. He recorded two blocks and a steal in an overall +15 performance on the floor. From start to finish he was locked in and fully engaged on both ends, even ramping up the physicality any time he found himself switched onto Giannis Antetokounmpo.

All things considered, it was a complete performance from the five-time All-Star, as well as a reminder that the player we all saw repeatedly make headlines last season isn’t going anywhere. Even if the Bulls’ turnaround doesn’t extend far past what we’ve seen over the past two games clear, it’s becoming seemingly apparent that it will not be for a lack of what DeRozan is bringing to the floor.

Author: Elias Schuster

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