Don’t look now, but the Chicago Bulls are tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the best record in the Eastern Conference at 12-5. The Bulls’ fast start has been a total team effort and a heck of a coaching job from Billy Donovan.
Still, a big reason for the Bulls’ strong start has been the play of DeMar DeRozan. The 4-time NBA All-Star is having one of the best seasons of his career. DeRozan and the Bulls’ success flies in the face of most of the preseason projections from NBA prognosticators.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley was recently called out for his take on the Bulls signing DeRozan. Take a look at this tweet from NBC Sports’ Bulls Talk Twitter account:
Buckley isn’t alone. In fact, his B/R colleague Grant Hughes had similar things to say about DeRozan and the Bulls before the season. Thankfully, Hughes at least acknowledged his misjudgment in a recent article.
I was all the way out on the Chicago Bulls’ recent roster-building plans, which included last year’s exchange of two first-rounders and Wendell Carter Jr. for Nikola Vucevic, as well as this past offseason’s costly addition of DeMar DeRozan. It felt like Chicago was sacrificing a ton of draft equity and payroll flexibility for a roster that wouldn’t defend, wouldn’t fit together and probably couldn’t finish higher than sixth in the East. All that was dead wrong, of course, as the Bulls are among the conference’s best teams. They’ve already bested the Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks and both L.A. squads, posting top-10 rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency along the way. DeRozan has been an efficient scorer; Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball are wreaking havoc defensively; Zach LaVine is unstoppable. The whole thing works. So! Apologies are in order. The Bulls look great. Would an “I’m sorry” tweet suffice, or do we need to up the ante and charter a skywriter?
DeRozan Keys Bulls’ Big Win Over the Knicks
DeRozan had another huge night for the Bulls on Sunday. He led the team with 31 points to help push Chicago to a 109-103 win over the New York Knicks.
DeRozan sank an impressive 10 of 20 shots from the field and that included a perfect 2-for-2 shooting display from beyond the three-point line. Though DeRozan hasn’t ever been known for his three-point accuracy, he is currently connecting on 36% of his long-range attempts.
When you consider how effective he is from mid-range and with driving the ball to the basket, that’s a percentage the Bulls can live with all season.
DeRozan’s Run of Spectacular Free-Throw Shooting
Speaking of the free-throw line, DeRozan has continued his career-long trend of excellent shooting from the charity stripe. He converted all nine of his free throws against the Knicks which followed a 12-for-12 performance from the line in the Bulls’ road win over the Denver Nuggets.
For the season, DeRozan is shooting 89% from the foul line, which is a career-high. So much for things not working.
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