DeMar DeRozan was close to joining the Los Angeles Lakers last season, but instead, he went to Windy City to play alongside Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, and more at United Center. The veteran swingman had a decent first season in Chicago, taking the Bulls to the playoffs, where the Milwaukee Bucks dismantled them in five games.
Playing in Chicago is no easy task, as it was the home of the GOAT for many years. Michael Jordan still owns that city, which is why every time a talented player makes it there, they're often compared to His Airness. DeRozan shares some similarities with No. 23, especially their lethal mid-range shooting that has earned them a lot of points in the league.
DeMar has big aspirations for his time in Chicago, as he recently explained in an interview with Draymond Green. Talking about what it means to be part of this franchise and play in this city, he had some big things to say.
"The moment when you realize that you really gotta bring it every single night in that arena, I think it was four, five games into the season, and we're playing the Knicks. I take the game-winner, an air-ball. I just felt the whole vibe, like everything, 'what the f**k? What was that?' I felt like I disrespected the aura with these fans and what they used to see from MJ hitting game winners. You know, he lived for those moments, and being in that moment for the first time, my fourth, fifth game in the season, and I take that shot, it was like, I told myself I would never be in that situation again. So you look back at all the moments that I had in that arena, it was more like, this is the ghost-- I'm trying to inherit the ghost of Michael on this fadeaway with the clock running down. I carried that to heart after that moment because you felt it from the fans, you felt it on social media... And you hear his music when you come out, you gotta live up to it."
DeRozan knows that he carries a big responsibility as one of the best players on the Bulls. The former Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs player has been heavily criticized for his inability to win in the playoffs, but he's ready to change that with the Bulls after an entertaining offseason where they made some interesting moves.
They'll never match what Jordan did with the Bulls, but DeRozan can at least compete to win the East if things fall into place for them in the next two or three seasons.