Bulls

DeRozan Addition Gives Bulls Hope in Improved East

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When the Chicago Bulls were first rumored to be interested in DeMar DeRozan, many considered them to be an afterthought.

Word around the NBA circles was DeRozan was looking to head home to Los Angeles and play for either the Lakers or Clippers.

In came longtime friend and current Bulls General Manager Marc Eversley. DeRozan and Eversley formed a strong relationship during their time with the Toronto Raptors. When talks for DeRozan started to heat up, agent Aaron Goodwin told teams if they want to pursue DeMar, come meet him in person. Eversley boarded a four-hour flight, and two days later, DeMar DeRozan is a Chicago Bull.

DeRozan inked a three-year, $85 million contract from the Bulls, after a sign-and-trade that sent Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu and future draft picks to the San Antonio Spurs.

So what exactly does DeRozan bring to a Bulls squad that is looking for its first playoff berth since 2016-17?

Consistency

Throughout the past handful of seasons, the Bulls dealt with too many inconsistencies as a roster. Not having enough reliable pieces caused them to fall short in a lot of games.

Still relying heavily on his mid-range game, DeRozan adds another element to the Bulls offense where it has struggled in recent years. The 32-year-old has averaged at least 20 points per game since 2011-12, providing much-needed stability.

This past season, DeRozan also averaged 7.2 free-throw attempts per game, which placed him in top ten in the league. Conversely, the Bulls got to the line the fewest out of any team last season, averaging 17.5 attempts per game. He has a knack for drawing fouls and getting to the line in the process, where he shot 88% last season.

Though having an almost non-existent three-point shot, DeRozan still shoots the ball at high percentage from the field. In 2020-21, he finished 21st among those averaging at least 12 field-goal attempts per game in field-goal percentage, shooting 49.5%. DeMar understands his spots on the floor and takes what the defense gives him, rather than settling for a low-percentage shot.

Shot Creating

One thing you can never have enough of in today’s NBA is guys with the ability to get their own shots. When the shot clock runs down or the game is on the line, having multiple players who can win off the dribble is crucial to winning games.

In the 2020-21 season, DeRozan was ranked first across the board in player isolation – points per possession, and-one frequency, scoring frequency and percentile.

Adding a wing player of DeMar’s caliber next to Zach LaVine should cause headaches for opposing defenses. Playing off the ball should lead to LaVine getting easier buckets, therefore having the highest shooting percentages of his career.

DeRozan should also make life easier for the rest of the Bulls players. After posting a career-high in assists even with a bottom-third shooting team like the Spurs, the floor should be spaced for DeMar to work. Projected starters Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams and Nikola Vučević shot a combined 39.7% from three last season. Defenses will have to respect the shooting, which in return, opens up the court for DeMar to create.

Experience

When looking at teams that are more likely to reach the postseason or even the finals, they usually have one thing in common– experience.

The aforementioned projected starters have a total of 69 playoff games. DeRozan accounts for 58 of them, where he averages 21.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest. When it comes down it, the Bulls got a guy who has been in big matchups, who has taken last shots, and knows what it takes to get there.

When the Bulls take the court for the upcoming season, expectations will be different. Playoffs will be on the minds of many, with bigger aspirations attainable. DeRozan gives the Bulls a formidable big three with LaVine and Vučević, and one that looks to bring the Bulls back to NBA relevance.

Follow us on Twitter @BullsLead for the latest Bulls news and insight. 

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