The Chicago Bulls have had a great season so far. The team is 37-21 and is currently tied for first place in the Eastern Conference despite the many hurdles that have been thrown their way this season.
The Bulls have had four players miss extended stretches of time this season due to injury. Patrick Williams, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Derrick Jones Jr. have all missed extended periods of time this season. The Bulls are also waiting for an evaluation on all-star guard Zach LaVine’s left knee, as he visits a specialist in Los Angeles.
With all the problems that have been thrown at the Bulls this season, it’s truly impressive they have been able to stay in contention. The one constant for the team has been the high-level play of their star, DeMar DeRozan.
A Career Season
DeMar DeRozan is currently having the best season of his career. The Bulls star is averaging a career-best 27.9 points per game. DeRozan is also having one of the most efficient seasons of his career, shooting 51.5% from the field.
DeRozan currently ranks tenth in the NBA among forwards in points per shot attempt at 121.1 points per 100 shot attempts according to Cleaning the Glass. He also has an effective field goal percentage of 53.3%.
DeRozan is also dishing out 5.1 assists and grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game. Beyond the usual stats, DeRozan has also come up huge when it’s mattered the most for the Bulls.
Mr. Fourth Quarter
There is an argument to be made that DeRozan has been the most clutch player in the NBA this season. The Bulls star has been spectacular in the fourth quarter this season.
According to Statmuse, DeRozan has scored the most points in the fourth quarter in the NBA this season with 431. The next closest player in that category is Giannis Antetokounmpo with 384.
While DeRozan has scored more points overall Giannis is slightly ahead of him in fourth-quarter points per game at 8.3 to 8.1. In comparison, DeRozan has played in 53 fourth-quarters this season, whereas Giannis has played in 46.
DeRozan’s shooting numbers, which have been good this season, have been even better in the fourth quarter. He’s shooting 55.2% from the field, 39.1% from three, and 86.2% from the foul line.
DeRozan also ranks ninth in the league in fourth-quarter assists with 65. He also has the seventh-highest fourth-quarter +/- in the NBA this season at +120.
With the numbers that DeRozan has put up this season and the way he has delivered for the Bulls in crunch time, you’d think he would be getting more hype for NBA MVP, but so far that hasn’t been the case. DeRozan currently has the ninth-best odds to win MVP.
DeRozan is also in the middle of a historic run. Over the last six games, he has scored at least 35 points and shot at least 50% from the field. The last time there was a streak like this in the NBA it was Wilt Chamberlain in 1963.
If DeRozan continues his hot play and the Bulls stay near the top of the standings then it’s likely his name will get more recognition in the MVP discussion. One thing is already for sure though, DeRozan has been the Bulls MVP this season.