Could anyone have predicted that the era of DeMar DeRozan in Chicago would start so well?
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It didn’t take long for DeRozan to dispel the notion that he wouldn’t be able to prosper in the new situation. After starting the season with four wins to give the team the best start in 25 years, the Bulls have shown with their new looks that their success at the start of the season was sustainable and much of that can be attributed to DeRozan.
As the season approaches, the Bulls are the only holders of the best record in the East and stand just a few games behind the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors in the league’s top record.
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DeRozan was as impressive as his team, averaging 26.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, which is probably the best all-round number in his 13-year career. Suffice it to say that the 32-year-old was the best player on one of the best NBA teams all season.
It is right that we have an interview about MVP.
Until recently, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have, of course, dominated most MVP discussions, while Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Ja Morant and, to a lesser extent, LeBron James and Joel Embiid agreed fairly quickly. With more than 40 games to play, the relatively weak month of December for Curry combined with a number of inconsistencies on the part of the Nets has the race for the MVP 2022 wide open.
So why not DeRozan?
DeRozan checks all MVP boxes – he has numbers, his team wins and he starts when it matters most.
TSN’s Nick Metallinos used the Madison Square Garden takeover in early December in a late match to illustrate how good DeRozan was in the fourth quarter until then in the season. No less than three weeks later, Scott Rafferty of TSN took a deeper look at DeRozan’s fourth-quarter numbers to show how much damage he was doing in the final frame.
And that was it before DeRozan made history by hitting the victorious buzzers the night after.
After DeRozan’s second winner of the game, Zach LaVine perfectly summed up the value of his running colleague say“Thank God we got DeMara DeRozan to our team.” This presence as a calming force is a value that DeRozan brings and that cannot be measured by any statistics.
Who knows where Chicago would be without him?
MORE: Is the Hall of Fame within reach for DeRozan?
In terms of computable statistics, DeRozan’s 26.2 points per game is currently seventh among qualified players, followed by Antetokounmpo, Curry, Durant, James, Embiid and Trae Young – four former MVPs, one of the MVP finalists. past seasons and future MVPs. candidate. It’s not bad company.
So why not DeRozan?
During his 13-year career, DeRozan finished in the top 15 in the MVP only twice – in 2016-17 he finished 11th and in 2017-18 he finished eighth. How good he was in each of these seasons was even better this year.
His three-year tenure at San Antonio played a big part in DeRozan’s continued improvement in his thirties, as evidenced by his comfort in an atypical role in Chicago this season. Under Cleaning The Glass, DeRozan has played 74 percent of his minutes as a striker this season and continues the trend of gradual growth that began in San Antonio.
As if his four-position playing weren’t impressive enough, he does so along with other dominant ball creators in LaVine, Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic.
This season, DeRozan has been malleable but dominant, which is quite impressive when you think about it.
Perhaps the biggest sign of DeRozan’s determination to win is the increased willingness to go for his 3-point shot. Before we write off DeRozan’s 2.1 3-point attempts per game, it’s important to acknowledge that he shoots from behind the arc the best 35.2 percent in his career and has scored 25 3s in 35 games. For perspective, DeRozan made a total of 35 3s during his entire three-year stint at Spurs, which included 206 stakes matches.
DeRozan’s willingness to take – and do – 3s is part of what this team needs to be the best it can be. Even the slightest difference in floor spacing can open things up for everyone on the floor.
It also helps that both DeRozan buzzers were from behind the arch. The impact on winning can’t be much more direct.
In the end, victory is what shrinks DeRozan’s MVP case. In the 2016-17 season, the Raptors finished third in the East with a balance of 51-31, while in the East they finished first with the best franchise record of 59-23 in the 2017-18 season.
According to the FiveThirtyEight RAPTOR forecast, the Bulls are currently expected to finish at the top of the Eastern Conference with a score of 51:31. If DeRozan can maintain this level of play for the rest of the season and move this franchise to first place in 10 seasons, the MVP noise should get louder and louder.
It rightly deserves its place in the debate.