The Chicago Bulls are having a terrific season, sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings. They added three big players during the offseason, trying to become relevant again and stop playing for draft picks.
DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso all found their way to Windy City to help Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic compete in a stacked Eastern Conference. The duo is making a lot of noise in the East this season, taking the squad to the top, proving doubters wrong.
Before the start of the season, many people thought DeRozan was a bad addition to the Bulls, but the veteran is playing at a high level, even earning MVP consideration in recent weeks. The former Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs player was recently named an All-Star starter, while LaVine is highly likely to be named a reserve, showing how much this team has improved since the end of the past campaign.
DeRozan had some things to say to those who didn't think he would be good with LaVine, calling them out for their wrong predictions.
“Fake experts. Obviously, you hear it all, about how it’s not going to work, this and that,” DeRozan told Abe Schwadron of SLAM Magazine. “Just every negative. As competitors, you hear all that. That was one of the first conversations we had. I told him, It’s gon’ work. And he said the same thing to me.”
LaVine also reflected on the team's situation, praising DeRozan and the rest of the Bulls for their lack of ego. Instead, they're willing to help teammates shine any given night, which has become the major reason why the Bulls are so successful this campaign.
“Having those new guys over here, we have a complete team now, and I have no ego with that,” LaVine said. “It’s not my team, or DeMar’s team, or Lonzo, or Vooch. We’re all leaders in our own way, and on any given night it could be one of our nights. Obviously, we each have roles, but our main goal we talked about was do whatever it takes to win. Whoever has it going that night, we’ll go through them and just try to help this team grow. We see ourselves as a championship-caliber team.”
“If you don’t have championship aspirations, you’re selling yourself short,” LaVine said “We have championship aspirations, and we’re trying to build championship habits.”
The 2021/22 Chicago Bulls are looking like legit contenders in the first three months of competition. Some still think they can only reach a certain stage in the upcoming playoffs, but they are convinced the team can actually win a championship this term.
Things completely changed in an offseason, with the Bulls adding big pieces to compete for the title and nothing less. Time will tell if they can come out of the East against the Nets, Bucks, Heat and Sixers. But right now, the Bulls are seeing everybody from the top of the leaderboard.