The four-time All-Star is not concerned with critics who have questioned his fit within the system and team built with coach Billy Donovan over the past year.
“It’s basketball. A lot of people I see criticize and talk bout fit his fit that probably never played basketball,” DeRozan said in his introductory press conference on Friday. “Being a basketball player, you go out, play at the park, some of your best teams is (with) guys you don’t even know. For me, if everybody on the same page, mentality and want to win, it dont matter about a fit.”
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DeRozan Akin to New Teammates
In what he called the first free agency of his 12-year career, DeRozan found Chicago to be the right fit, given his future teammates and him have plenty to prove in the NBA.
“Every guy when I look at that roster has a chip on their shoulders,” DeRozan said. “Me knowing Vuc since college, I know what type of player he is, how bad he wants to win. Zach (LaVine) wanting to be on that main stage and wanting to compete for something much more than just stats during the season.”
DeRozan, who played with Vucevic at USC, has grown familiar watching LaVine develop into an All-Star caliber player.
“That’s where a lot of respect comes from, watching guys like Zach,” DeRozan said, adding that LaVine’s desire to be a contender goes beyond the individual accolades. “You see them put in the work, how bad they wanna win, how bad they want it and it’s just not about highlights and all-stars, it’s much bigger than that.”
DeRozan likens his career to the Bulls franchise and its players who hope to make the postseason for the first time since 2017.
“My whole motto my whole career is to be the person, not to prove them wrong, but to prove myself right with my work ethic and approach to the game,” DeRozan said. “It’s another challenge I’m looking forward to, probably one of the biggest in my career. At the end of the day, I want to have the last laugh and I want to do it with a group of guys that have been through similar obstacles in their careers as well.”
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Where DeRozan Could Fit
DeRozan joining LaVine and Vucevic gives Chicago a trio of players that averaged 20 or more points a game last season.
As the ninth-leading active all-time scorer in the NBA, DeRozan will still get his shots but could prove to be a stronger facilitator after coming off a career-high 6.9 assists per game last season with the San Antonio Spurs.
Able to effectively run the pick-and-roll with LaVine, DeRozan or Lonzo Ball, Vucevic should see plenty of action in the post and could roll out to the exterior where he’s hit the fourth-most threes (422) among bigs over the past four seasons.
LaVine should benefit the most with several skilled ballhandlers now in the starting lineup. LaVine, instead of having to create on his own, can start to pick his shots selectively with the added floor spacing.
Meanwhile, DeRozan and LaVine could have a heydey as two of the toughest assignments in the league.
“Only 12 players averaged more points than DeRozan (3.6) in isolation last season, and he ranked in the 96th percentile with 1.20 points per possession. LaVine wasn’t far behind him, ranking 20th with 2.7 isolation points per game and in the 92nd percentile with 1.14 points per possession,” NBA.com‘s