Sunday, May 22, 2022

DeMar DeRozan’s Midrange Game May Be The Key To Upsetting The Bucks


It’s no secret to anyone who watches the NBA how great Bull’s forward DeMar DeRozan shoots the ball from the midrange. If you didn’t know this, DeRozan did a great job of showing everyone this season. The midrange game has become a lost art in today’s NBA. Teams are looking to shoot from beyond the three-point line and the analytics tell them to do just that. It’s not hard to understand why when three is greater than two. However, that doesn’t mean abandoning the midrange game altogether like a lot of players have done. DeRozan is living proof of that as he’s averaging 27.9 PPG while shooting 58.5% of his shots from midrange. In fact, DeRozan is the leading scorer in the NBA from 14′-22′ from the basket this season.

Looking at the numbers Derozan is shooting 48.4% from the field when shooting between 10 feet and 22 feet. He’s made 435 shots from that distance this season which accounts for 870 (41%) of his 2118 points this season. It’s an area on the floor where defense seems to be lacking. Guys are so worried about getting beat to the basket or giving up an uncontested three that it becomes DeRozan’s playground. If the Bulls want to pull off the upset in their first-round matchup against the Bucks, DeRozan may be the secret sauce they are looking for.

DeRozan needs to shoot the three less against Milwaukee

Now we all know the Bulls didn’t beat the Bucks in the regular season. In the last two games against them, the Bulls got beat up. But that doesn’t mean that individuals on the Bulls didn’t play well during those games. DeRozan actually thrived against the Bucks this season. He averaged 31.3 PPG against the Bucks while shooting 47.9% from the floor. However, if you dig a little bit deeper into his stats against the Bucks you will find one problem.

The main issue is DeRozan attempted the most threes this season against the Bucks shooting 13 total over four games. His three-point shooting percentage against the Bucks was a measly 23%. This is where DeRozan needs to put all of his focus on the midrange game. Pass up those threes and get to your spot and make it count. The stats don’t lie and they show DeRozan can do well against the Bucks. It’s just a matter of turning those three-point shots into two and making them count. DeRozan can step up and has played in the playoffs before. That’s why he needs to challenge the rest of the team to follow suit and take smart shots.

DeRozan doesn’t want this to be treated like jail

The Bulls brought in quite a few players with playoff experience this offseason and during the season. Hopefully, that can help them as they go into Zach LaVine’s first-ever playoff series. DeRozan is one of those players as he’s played in 58 playoff games over his career. In the playoffs, DeRozan has averaged 21.9 PPG while shooting 41.8% from the floor. It’s been almost three years since DeRozan last played in a playoff game but he knows how a team should enter a playoff series. He gave that advice to the rest of the Bulls before the first round against Milwaukee.

While this advice might sound odd it’s actually sound. There are quite a few guys who are going into their first-ever playoff series. That means they will likely put a lot of pressure on themselves to play well which in turn will create a stressful situation. What DeMar is getting at is to treat this as something good and something fun. Don’t treat it like something that’s going to be an awful experience if it doesn’t go your way. Get out there and play the basketball you know you can play and enjoy it. Especially at this point with everyone counting the Bulls out. Might as well go in like you are playing with house money and see what happens. Yes, there are a lot of things that will need to go right for the Bulls to win this but a key factor will be the way DeRozan plays.

A lot of weight will be on DeMar’s shoulders

Typically everyone would be focused on how LaVine is going to play in this series. The way this season played out there’s actually a lot more focus on DeRozan. He was the leading scorer on the Bulls this season with 27.9 PPG. He was an All-Star starter this season and he’s a big reason why the Bulls held on to their playoff spot. With that being said DeRozan will need to show up and be a big-time piece for the Bulls. With 13 NBA seasons now under his belt he will need to take the reigns and the pressure going into this series. If he can take some of the pressure off the young guys and let them just play this could be a competitive series.

The main focus however should be about DeRozan taking more midrange shots. Forget about the three unless you are wide open and even then I wouldn’t be mad if he took a step forward and made the shot. DeRozan needs to do what he does best and shoot it from the midrange. If DeRozan can get cooking from the midrange who knows how this series may turn out. Regardless a lot of pressure will be placed on DeRozan as he leads this young group of Bulls into the playoffs.

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