Zach LaVine was the clear-cut best player on the Chicago Bulls heading into the 2021-22 season. The addition of DeMar DeRozan in free agency seemingly gave LaVine a stellar running mate who would take pressure off him on the offensive end.
However, so far this season, DeRozan has been the best player on the team. The Bulls star is playing at an MVP-caliber level on a 10-4 squad, averaging 26.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 51.0% from the field and 37.1% from 3-point range.
LaVine hasn't been too shabby himself, posting averages of 25.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 48.7% overall and 37.8% from long distance. Not to mention he has been doing this with a bad left thumb.
Still, DeRozan has the better numbers, and he's the guy the Bulls turn to when they need to settle things down and get a big bucket. He has come up with a number of clutch baskets already this season. He's also the guy who runs the bench unit because of his ability to control the game.
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After putting up 35 points against the Los Angeles Clippers and 38 points against the Los Angeles Lakers, Ricky O'Donnell of Blue Wire's Cash Considerations pod declared the Bulls DeRozan's team:
“DeRozan is just incredible. At what point do we stop being surprised that he's consistently performing at this level? I think that, to this point, certainly playing at an All-NBA level. I would say he's probably in the top five of MVP voting right now, if you're just going to say, ‘Who have been the most valuable players to their team to this point in the season?'
“I think what we're seeing right now, and I'm not sure if this is going to last the whole year, but I'm not afraid to say it right now: I think it's DeRozan's team. I think DeRozan has sort of emerged as the 1A option. LaVine obviously playing with the banged-up hand has sort of been working off DeRozan a lot.”
DeRozan could very well regress a bit as this season goes along, and LaVine could again emerge as the Bulls' best player as his thumb heals. It's not like they're far apart when you look at the stats. They're already playing off each other very well and making all those questions about their fit look dumb.
When it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter whose team it is, as long as both stars are playing well and leading the Bulls to wins. So far, so good.
Listen to the full Cash Considerations episode here:
Cash Considerations: A Chicago Bulls Podcast is part of the Blue Wire Podcast Network. The pod can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts.