Bulls Star Earns Drew League Honors Ahead of Birthday

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls enters the game

August 7 is Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan’s birthday and he got the celebration off to an early start as his Drew League squad, the MMV Cheaters, made a dramatic comeback to win 102-94 over Young Citi a day before.

DeRozan has made appearances in the world-famous summer series for years and has already teamed up with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James for a game.

This time, DeRozan brought offseason protege Patrick Williams along to see how it is done.

What the young Bulls forward got to witness, he had already got a glimpse of earlier in the offseason during what the elder DeRozan termed a “summer from hell”. Williams emerged from that experience saying of DeRozan, “everything he does is mental”.

Putting on a Show

DeRozan essentially confirmed Williams’ assessment during his July 28 appearance on “The Draymond Green Show” when he said that he is, “always looking for that advantage”. It’s his own version of Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” that has earned him an ambassadorship for the late legend’s brand.

The mindset is part of what helped DeRozan finish tied for 10th in MVP voting this past season while putting together the best year of his career.

It didn’t change in the even as the Cheaters found themselves down by 20 points at halftime.

DeRozan turned it on in the clutch to lead the rally. He finished the game with 36 points and six rebounds. The 13-year NBA veteran even walked away with Player of the Game honors for his efforts.

Not a bad way to get a head start on one’s birthday festivities.

This is also nothing new for DeRozan whose offseason routine has been written about in Fitness Reaper and who says he learned his approach from Bryant.

Can He Keep it Up?

Part of the discourse surrounding the Bulls’ offseason has been whether or not DeRozan can repeat his tremendous efforts. However, his having another breakout at 32 years old was truly never in the cards.

Last season, he added the most expected wins (plus-13) and had the best efficiency differential of his career (plus-5.2), per Cleaning the Glass, including his third-best defensive rating.

So what could DeRozan have in store for an encore?

The beauty of DeRozan’s game is that it should continue to age gracefully, especially with how he takes care of himself. That includes taking part in competitive exhibitions such as the Drew League and, as Williams found out, getting up at 5 a.m.

Beyond that, the Bulls should be healthier this season. Even if Lonzo Ball’s status remains cloudy, LaVine has looked back to form following his offseason procedure while Alex Caruso has worked to strengthen his body.

DeRozan’s net rating dropped 11.5 points without either Ball or Caruso on the floor during the regular season.

Second-year point guard Ayo Dosunmu should also be capable of more offensively.

Rising Up to the Challenge

Ball and LaVine both suffered their injuries on January 14 against the Warriors. Before that, DeRozan averaged 26.0 PPG on 19.1 attempts per contest. After that, the five-time All-Star averaged 29.9 PPG on 21.5 attempts.

DeMar DeRozan is the KING OF THE FOURTH | EVERY Clutch Play from the 2021-22 season | Chicago BullsFor more exclusive videos, please subscribe to our channel or visit Bulls.com —ADD US ON: INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/chicagobulls/ FACEBOOK: facebook.com/chicagobulls TWITTER: twitter.com/chicagobulls SNAPCHAT: snapchat.com/add/chicagobulls LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/company/chicagobulls2022-06-16T13:30:06Z

Somehow, DeRozan managed to improve his efficiency despite taking on more of a workload, going from a .492/.352/.848 slash line to a .514/.352/.900 line in the wake of the injuries.

That ability to scale up should bode well as he is presumably asked to do less next season.

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