DeMar DeRozan blessed the United Center faithful with yet another masterpiece Thursday night, capping it off with yet another game-winner.
The Atlanta Hawks were the latest victim of Derozan’s scoring brilliance this season as he dropped 37 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
To the national sports media, Derozan’s MVP candidacy is getting harder and harder to ignore with each passing game. This is the most legitimate MVP candidate that the Bulls have had since Derrick Rose’s follow up campaign to winning the award.
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith finally condeded the point that Derozan has seperated himself as a frontrunner. Smith even pointed out that DeRozan was doing this in the house of Michael Jordan.
DeRozan’s Historic Stretch
It’s safe to say that Derozan is reaching new heights at this point in his career. Always a solid player in both Toronto and San Antonio, the five-time All-Star is putting up career highs in several categories.
DeRozan is tied for the best shooting percentage in the league with Anthony Davis at 56%, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Advanced metrics show just how dominant DeRozan has been this season especially down the stretch in games.
He’s just behind Joel Embiid in terms of clutch scoring. Clutch scoring is when the game is within five points in the final five minutes of the game. Derozan has scored 120 points in those situations (Embiid 126 points).
Derozan also stands alone when talking about consecutive games scoring 35+ points on 50% shooting or better. He is currently on an eight game streak, the longest in NBA history.
DeRozan also passed Michael Jordan for second most consecutive games scoring 35+ points, Jordan still has the team record at 10.
Here are the full highlights from DeRozan’s historic performance:
How DeRozan Stacks Up
The other MVP candidates in the race with DeRozan include Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Milwuakee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and previosly mentioned Embiid in Philadelphia.
The main argument for DeRozan this season has been his ability to carry the roster in the midst of numerous injuries. Roster cornerstones Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball have all missed extended time this seasson.
DeRozan this season is scoring at an elite level, ranking fourth in the league with 28.3 points per game. He sits behind only Embiid, Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.
The late career renaissance for DeRozan has been exactly what the Chicago Bulls needed this season. The growth he’s showing coincides with the Bulls arriving creating the perfect storm for a run.