Bulls Earn Multiple ‘NBA Fan Favorites’ Entries as Voting Opens

DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls smiles in front of Lonzo Ball #2

A lot of discussion around the Chicago Bulls lately paints a picture of an uncertain future. But this past season was memorable for many reasons, not the least of which is the franchise making a return to the playoffs.

The NBA continued celebrating its 75th anniversary by opening voting on the “2022 Fan Favorites” featuring the best highlights of the season.

Categories range from “Best Dunk” to “Fan Moment of the Year” to “Viral Moment of the Year”

The Bulls were one of 13 teams to qualify for multiple categories, though, several teams did show up in more than the two that the Bulls did. Some even qualified multiple times for the same category.

Four teams – the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, and Toronto Raptors – failed to make the list entirely with a positive highlight.

A Healthy Reminder

The Bulls’ first moment up for selection is in the “Assist of the Year” category. It comes from the Bulls’ 117-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on November 10. In the play, Lonzo Ball gets the ball from Nikola Vucevic off of an Alex Caruso steal.

Ball quickly makes a pass to a streaking Zach LaVine about three-quarters of the way down the court.

What happens next was a thing of beauty.

Let that be a reminder for those who question what a healthy LaVine looks like. When is the last time he was able to elevate like that?

Hopefully, his arthroscopic knee surgery goes well and he makes a speedy recovery. The question is whether or not he will return to action next season wearing a Bulls uniform, something that is not as much of a certainty now as it once was, per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson.

It still shows what he is capable of. And the play itself is a nice reminder of the kind of activity we saw on the defensive end when this team was healthy last season.

On top of LaVine hitting that 360-jam, Ball was also on the court to connect on the hit-ahead pass. He missed the final 42 games of the regular season and all of the postseason dealing with soreness stemming from a bone bruise and torn meniscus that required surgery.

Mr. Big Shot

This one has a nice twist. DeMar DeRozan missed three games in December while in health and safety protocols. But he still averaged 29.3 points on 59.5% true shooting while knocking down 36.1% of his (limited) threes.

That included a 28-points, six-assist effort in a 108-106 win against the Indiana Pacers to close out the 2021 calendar year with a last-minute win over the Indiana Pacers on a DeRozan three.

The following night, he connected on a three to beat the Washington Wizards 120-119 and start the new year off with a bang.

DeRozan had 28 points, nine boards, and five assists in that contest.

Also, take note of his teammates as they swarm him following both victories that put the Bulls’ record at 24-10, the best mark in the Eastern Conference at the time. Particularly in the second highlight where LaVine can be seen taking part in the festivities.

That is as much proof of a lack of friction over the pecking order between DeRozan and LaVine as LaVar Ball’s assertion that the latter is dissatisfied.

DeRozan is the only entrant in the “Buzzer Beater of the Year” category to have multiple clips on his reel. That is a testament to the type of season his first go-round with the Bulls was, a journey he also says he has enjoyed.

The Best is (Hopefully) Yet to Come

Getting Ball and LaVine back in the fold and healthy are the Bulls’ top priorities this offseason. Full stop. The 2022 NBA Draft will come and go, as will free agency. The Bulls better have a good contingency plan in place if they are forced to go all, or even a significant portion, of next season without either Ball or LaVine.

The need to improve while keeping an eye on the future on the court and in the books only adds to the anticipation of this summer.

But these moments are a nice reminder of how they even got to this point after years of futility at the United Center. Hopefully, these are just the first of many such moments during solid seasons and, maybe, even championships.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x