The new-looking Chicago Bulls showed their exciting potential in Tuesday’s 36-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With two great flyers in Zach Lavine and Demar DeRozan, the Bulls have a repertoire of dunks reminiscent of Lob City. While we would never draw conclusions from a single game, the Bulls gave us an idea why they are on everyone’s must-see list for next season. In an interview with Shams Charnia, DeRozan spoke about his adjustment with Zach Lavine and the Bulls.
“We have all been through so many situations. Being the number one option. Now is the time to understand how we can make this work for the whole group. Everyone came in with that mindset. It really didn’t have to be another conversation after that. Let’s find out how to make this work, let’s make it fun. “
DeRozan certainly has a good point. The Bulls have three players who have been successful as number one options throughout their careers. Along with Kyle Lowry, DeRozan led the Toronto Raptors to five consecutive playoff appearances from 2014 to 2016. This duo peaked in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals. In contrast, Nikola Vuceveic was unable to achieve much success in team with the Orlando Magic.
He qualified for the postseason only twice in his time there. Still, the Magic never gave him much to work with. He was a very effective individual player, averaging 20 points per game over three separate seasons. Lavine was in the same boat, averaging more than 27 points per game last season and still missed the playoffs through no fault of his own. At DeRozan, he’s returned to a wing position that neither of them has had in the past.
Spreading its wings
“The talent that Zach has in the league is incredible. It’s a shame he couldn’t be on the main stage and prove that. You play in the NBA to want to see what the postseason is like. Just have a dynamic type like that. In my career, I haven’t played a talent at that wing position like Zach before. It’s amazing how he can score the ball, his athleticism. It is one of a kind. That was one of the big reasons I even decided to come to Chicago, to play with a guy like Zach. “
You are not entirely wrong. DeMarre Carroll and Patrick Patterson were productive role players and competent defenders. But they fall short of Lavine when it comes to production. While fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry was an effective scorer, he’s more of a ground general than a shot-maker like Lavine.
He has transformed his game into a forward role, adding seven assists per game last season. Not only that, he has become more efficient at putting the ball in the basket. DeRozan has posted an actual shooting percentage above 59% for two seasons in a row.
This improvement occurs after reaching a 55% cap in the previous ten seasons. Despite the lack of All-Star hardware, DeRozan has elevated his game and is a better player than ever. This season, the Bulls will often rely on their star duo when looking to compete for an NBA title.