The Bulls are off to an outstanding 10-4 start and sign-and-trade acquisition DeMar DeRozan is a huge reason why. DeRozan scored 38 points against the Lakers on Monday, shooting 15-for-23 from the field, 2-for-5 from deep, and 6-of-6 from the line while adding six assists to an all-around great performance. Jamal Collier of ESPN writes that DeRozan is carrying “so many chips” on his shoulder, which he uses as motivation.
“I can go down the list of just being counted out, being looked over,” DeRozan said. “So many chips that’s on my shoulder that I carry. And just wanting to be a winner and wanting to enjoy this ride. We can’t play this game forever, so I want to get as much as I can out of it.”
Through 14 games, DeRozan is averaging 26.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 35.3 minutes per contest, with a stellar .510/.371/.873 shooting line. Now 32, DeRozan says he’s never viewed his age as an issue and his new team is allowing him to be the best version of himself on the court.
“I never looked at age as being an issue,” DeRozan said. “I never looked at it. People put the age limit on everything, and I never did. The way I worked, the way I take care of my body, the way I prepare, I knew what I was capable of doing. I just took different roads the last couple years of playing basketball, trying to do the right thing, figuring it out.
“This time, just knowing my ability was always there, I never lost confidence. I never thought I couldn’t be who I was before. Chicago allowed me to completely be myself.”
Here’s more from the Central:
- Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr., an unrestricted free agent in 2022, recently spoke to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. With Nikola Vucevic sidelined, Jones has been getting minutes as a backup center, which is a new experience for him at the NBA level. Jones says he’s happy to defend anyone on the court. “Me personally, I’m not tripping. I love being on the floor, so any opportunity I get to be out there and just be able to contribute to winning and competing that’s all I want to do. I’m a competitor at the end of the day. I don’t care if I have to guard a five or a guard,” Jones said.
- Bucks guard Grayson Allen, acquired via trade in the offseason, is loving his time in Milwaukee, writes Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I know I’ve only been in Milwaukee and with the Bucks a short time but I’m really excited to have this extension here. It’s an incredible culture, incredible group of guys here. I’m really happy to be part of this group and extending my time here,” Allen said. He signed a two-year extension prior to the season and is averaging a career high 16.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in 14 games (29.9 minutes per game), with a .451/.438/.920 shooting line. He’s third in the NBA in three-pointers made.
- Despite battling an injury to start his rookie campaign, Pistons first overall pick Cade Cunningham remains ever-confident in his abilities on and off the court, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Cunningham says he’s constantly adding to his game. “Every game, I feel like I add something to the hard drive and something to my game,” Cunningham said. “I’ve learned so much about me as a person and me as a player since I got to the NBA. It’s promising for me, at least, to stay confident and just believe in myself for the future.” Cunningham had 25 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists on Monday against the Kings.
- Rod Beard of The Detroit News details how Pistons forward Josh Jackson found his way home to Detroit, and now he’s finding his way with the team. Jackson, an unrestricted free agent in 2022, says he grew up a Pistons fan. “It just kind of makes me feel like everything came full circle for me. Obviously, this was the team I grew up watching pretty much all of my early years,” Jackson said.