Bulls DeMar DeRozan Addresses On-Court Mix With Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine DeMar DeRozan Bulls

Getty Chicago Bulls stars Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan celebrate following a win over the Utah Jazz.

When The Athletic reported last month that the Chicago Bulls were struggling to successfully manage the on-court pairing of Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, it was hardly a shocking revelation. Anyone who has watched the team this season could tell you that both players have designs on being that dude for Chicago, and there’s only the one ball on the court at any given moment.

Still, with the All-Star wings having led the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference standings last season before injuries brought the club back down to size, some maintain hope that they can be options 1A on 1B for a bona fide winner.

With that in mind, LaVine and DeRozan provided what is probably the best evidence to date that such a thing is possible on Saturday night. Facing a Utah Jazz squad that continues to be tougher than it looks, the Windy City’s dynamic duo combined to score 71 points on 25-of-43 shooting with six threes, nine boards and nine assists.

As a result, the Bulls were able to reel off their third-straight win. And, in the wake of the victory, DeRozan sounded off on the evolution of his and LaVine’s on-court rapport.

DeMar DeRozan Thinks He & Zach LaVine Are Starting to Find Their Way

LaVine & DeRozan Combine For A HUGE 71 Points In Bulls W Over Jazz! | January 7, 2023The Chicago Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz, 126-118. Zach LaVine recorded 36 points and 7 rebounds for the Bulls, while DeMar DeRozan added 35 points and 7 assists in the victory. Lauri Markkanen tallied 28 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals for the Jazz. The Bulls improve to 19-21 on the season, while…2023-01-08T04:00:08Z

For his part, the man tasked with putting the Bulls’ aces in their proper places — head coach Billy Donovan — was over the moon about how the two vibed versus the Jazz.

“I thought Zach and DeMar complemented each other so well,” Donovan said during his postgame presser, via NBC Sports Chicago. And the numbers bear it out; in the players’ 26 shared minutes in the contest, the Bulls boasted an offensive rating of 125.9 while outscoring Utah by 13.4 points per 100 possessions.

For his part, DeRozan thinks things are progressing amid reports of the duo’s on-court awkwardness (and the awkwardness it’s creating behind the scenes).

“It’s coming along. We had a lot of trial and error early on where you saw the inconsistency,” DeRozan said. “We’re just finding our rhythm, sharing the ball, understanding our spots.”

To that end, LaVine’s success from behind the arc opened things up in an incredible way for DeRozan.

LaVine’s Long-Range Uptick Has a Tremendous Impact on DeRozan

It probably comes as no surprise that DeRozan was not responsible for the aforementioned six three-point makes. As ever, the five-time All-Star does his best work in the mid-range; for the year, he’s at an even 50% from the floor on attempts from five to 14 feet from the hoop.

So when LaVine has it rolling from deep, as he did against Utah, it makes life that much easier for DeRozan. Not only in terms of floor positioning, but also in the way that LaVine’s offensive gravity affects how teams are guarding his co-star.

“I mean, it’s everything for me,” DeRozan said of the impact LaVine’s shooting can have. “I don’t need too much room. When Zach got it going, it’s just a pick of the litter from there. It definitely makes it easy for all of us.”

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