This season, the Chicago Bulls have shocked the basketball world with extraordinary play. With a 25-10 record, they are first in the East and boast the fourth-best win percentage in the NBA.
Veteran wing DeMar DeRozan has been a huge part of Chicago's rise. Since joining the team in the summer of '21, he has been their go-to offensive option, especially late in games where he has hit multiple game-winners.
Prior to Tuesday's tip-off, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (who coached DeRozan for a while) spoke about his play, announcing himself as unsurprised at his performance.
"It doesn't surprise me one iota. As you well know, he's a great guy, great teammate. He does what he does and he does it really well, and he's brought that to Chicago."
In Toronto and San Antonio, DeRozan flew mostly under the radar, only making the All-Star team four times in 12 years. But since coming to the Bulls, his career has taken a turn for the better.
In a recent interview, Lonzo Ball campaigned for DeMar as the season's MVP.
“DeMar has been a star in this league for a long time, and I think this is probably his best year, to me,” Ball said, via NBC Chicago. “He’s showing everybody that he should definitely be MVP this year. He’s our go-to guy. We always have faith in him when he has the ball in his hands, and as you can see, he comes through for us pretty much every time, and he gives everybody kind of that calm demeanor and helps everybody sail the ship to where it needs to go.”
At 32, nobody knows how long this level of play will be sustainable for DeRozan, but people have not ignored what he's been doing this season.
Through 32 games so far, he's posting averages of 26.9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game on 49% shooting.
All-in-all, it's been a masterpiece that everybody should have seen coming.