Four-time NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan has gained a lot of ‘knowledge’ over the course of his 12 year career. And yet, he still believes that the best is yet to come with the Chicago Bulls.
“I think (this is) for me, the best part of my career,” he said via NBA.com. “With the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years, my perspective on how I approach the game, how I approach preparation, everything to the game. It took me 13 years to get to the point that I’m at mentally, physically, emotionally in approaching the game. So for me, I think it’s just my best go-round. In my time in San Antonio (the last three seasons playing for Gregg Popovich), I learned so much more about myself as a player, what I was able and capable of doing. It grew me more as a leader. And this time around, it’s just putting everything I’ve learned in my career all together. It’s just put me at a different level physically and mentally.”
DeRozan, who averaged 21.6 points per game last season, has appeared in 58 NBA playoff games and four Game 7s, specifically. His playoff scoring exploits started in the 2016 playoffs with 30 and 28 point explosions in back-to-back Game 7 series clinchers before the Toronto Raptors were eliminated by the Cavaliers. Back in 2019, while suiting up for the Spurs, he finished with 19 points and six assists in Game 7 against the Nuggets.
As NBA.com’s Sam Smith notes, DeRozan is believed to be the frontrunner for the team’s starting small forward slot providing a physical interior scoring presence that can get to the free throw line. Chicago will be counting on his high percentage shooting in the mid-range game—he shot on average about 50 percent overall the last three seasons in San Antonio.