Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan Defends Embattled Teammate

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls looks on during a break in the game.

There’s a song for everything. For the Chicago Bulls on the heels of their 108-107 loss to the Orlando Magic, they could look to The Beatles, who graced us with the line “I get by with a little help from my friends” from the similarly titled song.

The Bulls saw their season come into full focus in November with a pair of clanked free throws from big man Nikola Vucevic.

Magic guard Jalen Suggs iced the game with a triple on the rebound.

As a range of emotions surely swept across Bulls nation, Vucevic became an easy scapegoat amid a contract year and declining statistical production. It would have been easy for his teammates to leave him out there to flail in the wind against criticism but that is not how this locker room was put together.

Deebo Backs Vooch

“That’s on us,” DeMar DeRozan said of his teammate’s tough finish. “We can’t put it just merely on the free throws…The margin of error when you’re playing down 19 points is tough. Too much stuff got to go perfect. We don’t put ourself in that hole, we can easily win the game without coming down to two free throws.”

They were up two points before Vucevic’s missed free throws and blew a four-point lead.

The only way they could have lost on the following possession was by giving up an and-1 or, what actually happened, a three to Suggs who was 1-for-5 up to that point.

“It sucks,” Vucevic said per NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer. “Obviously, if I make those, we win the game. Just gotta make them, it’s as simple as that. I know it’s a 48-minute game and all that. But it just sucks.”

DeRozan is not piling on his college teammate Vucevic. Instead, he is finding the positives.

For all of the handwringing going on over the Bulls’ four-game slide and direction going forward, it’s good to hear the locker room still sticking together when fingerpointing could easily prevail.

DeRozan Backs Billy Too

Vucevic was not the only one benefitting from DeRozan putting his leadership skills on display in tough times. He also showed his support for Bulls head coach Billy Donovan who called out DeRozan and Vucevic along with Zach LaVine.

Donovan put the onus on them to guide the Bulls’ turnaround on both ends of the floor and DeRozan knows that is how it has to be.

“He said the right thing,” DeRozan said after the game per Schaefer. “It’s definitely on us. We gotta take on the challenge. We gotta be better — defensively, offensively. We gotta lead better. We’re the older guys in that starting group. We gotta set the tone.”

DeRozan was brought in to help build the culture and he undeniably did that in his first season in Chicago.

Still, this is a solid example of it for anyone who was still unsure if it was tangible. A moment that could have splintered the locker room – from a coach searching for answers – has instead found an internal champion to hopefully help relay the message to the rest of the group.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x