When the Chicago Bulls signed Demar DeRozan on a three-year contract worth $85 million, the reaction was that they overpaid. DeRozan is 32 years old and despite his undoubted quality, he’s never been considered among the very best in NBA players.
It was thought that the Bulls needed to acquire an MVP-calibre free agent but DeMar DeRozan has proven to be a perfect fit.
DeMar DeRozan exceeding expectations
It’s not taken DeMar DeRozan long at all to prove his naysayers wrong, he’s exceeded all preseason expectations. Less than a month into the new season, the Chicago Bulls sit second in the East with a 10-4 record.
DeMar DeRozan has his 4th 35-point game of the month, tying a career high.
It’s only halfway through November. pic.twitter.com/sdZIECX9Js
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 16, 2021
DeRozan is at the heart of Chicago’s newfound vibrancy, with 26.9 points per game on 51% shooting.
DeMar DeRozan’s points average is the third-best in the whole league, behind only Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. How’s that for MVP-calibre basketball? Albeit in the early days of the season.
His impact goes beyond scoring though, DeMar has also contributed five rebounds and four assists per game.
His ability to play multiple positions has come in handy for coach Billy Donovan who has deployed DeMar as a Shooting Guard, Small Forward and Power Forward in 14 games so far this season.
The most impressive part of DeRozan’s spectacular start to life in Chicago is that he’s not dimming the light of his co-stars. For the level of production he’s delivering, one would expect DeRozan to be the sole star for the Bulls but he’s not.
Three other Chicago Bulls’ players are averaging double digits in points so far this season. Zach Lavine’s 25.9 points per game is the seventh-highest in the NBA. Lonzo Ball with 12.9 ppg and Nikola Vucevic with 13.6 are the other two players averaging double digits.
Leader of men
Chicago’s most recent win against the Lakers is a good example of how the co-stars can all impact the game at the same time. DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Zach Lavine all combined for 91 of the Bulls’ 121 points on the night.
Led by DeRozan with a season-high 38 points, three rebounds and six assists on a 65% field goal percentage. Lonzo had 27 points, seven rebounds and eight assists while shooting 77% from the field and Lavine scored 26 points with five rebounds and assists each.
A potent three-pronged scoring attack. pic.twitter.com/CNSbbVNzUW
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 16, 2021
DeRozan has not come in to be the superstar of Chicago, elevating his new teammates on the court is a priority for him, which is a breath of fresh air.
Perhaps it’s a result of being the oldest player on the roster at 32 years old, DeMar recognises this is a talented but young group that could use some of his 13-year NBA experience.
And to those who counted him out because of his age, DeMar uses it as motivation to keep performing at the highest level. He had this to say after the big win against the Lakers;
“I never looked at age as being an issue, I never looked at it. People put the age limit on everything, and I never did. The way I worked, the way I take care of my body, the way I prepare, I knew what I was capable of doing. I just took different roads the last couple years of playing basketball, trying to do the right thing, figuring it out.”
“This time, just knowing my ability was always there, I never lost confidence. I never thought I couldn’t be who I was before. Chicago allowed me to completely be myself.”