Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Two Bulls Players Named Favorites For NBA MVP


The NBA.com KIA MVP Leaderboard selected Chicago Bulls starters DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine amongst the top-ten most likely candidates to receive the season’s NBA MVP award.

DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan is fourth on the list, behind Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Nikola Jokic. LaVine holds the last spot on the list at number ten.

In the last two Bulls’ wins against both Los Angeles teams — the Lakers and Clippers — DeRozan scored 38 and 35 points, respectively, on 27 of 39 shooting from the field between both games.

DeRozan currently ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 26.6 points per contest. He also averages 5.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. The Compton native is shooting 50 percent from the field and a career-high 35 percent from beyond the arc.

DeRozan is finding a groove early into the Bulls’ season and is undoubtedly the team’s best offensive asset. His veteran leadership and tranquility on the floor are wearing off on the team in a highly positive way.

Zach LaVine

LaVine, on the other hand, seems to play frustrated most games mulling over the fact that he isn’t getting enough foul calls. None compared to DeRozan, who goes to the line 7.9 times per game compared to LaVine’s 4.8 trips.

Nonetheless, LaVine is having another all-star caliber season this year. He’s representing a 26.2 point, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assist line per game. LaVine’s scoring ranks him seventh in the NBA.

For the second season in a row, LaVine is flirting with a 50/40/90 season — shooting 49 percent from the field, 40 percent from a distance, and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe.

What’s more, LaVine passes the eye test this season in terms of defensive effort — something he said he worked on during his time in the Olympics. He holds a 108 defensive rating so far this season, which marks a career-high if it stands.

All the while, LaVine is playing through a torn ligament in his left hand. He played with a wrap around his hand every game and said it bothered him during games.

The Bulls’ duo

The duo of DeRozan and LaVine are wildly productive compared to the rest of the NBA. The pair scored 60+ points in four games this season, three of which they won, which marks more than any other duo.

The two are considered among the best clutch players in the NBA today. Last season, the two tied for sixth in the NBA for points in crunch time (<5 minutes in the game with the game differential of five points or less).

DeRozan leads the NBA in points in the fourth quarter with 110, while LaVine is tied for fourth with 89 points. As a result, the Bulls no longer rely solely on LaVine to carry the offensive workload in the fourth quarter like last season.

If the duo keeps up their production on both sides of the floor and commands the Eastern Conference in team record, one of the two could pull off the award.

The Bulls are currently on a five-game road trip on the west coast. They are 2-2 on the trip, with wins against the Lakers and Clippers and losses against the Warriors and Trail Blazers.

The team has one more game to play against the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic, and the Denver Nuggets on Friday before returning home to play the Knicks on Sunday.

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