Bulls Notes: DeRozan, K. Antetokounmpo, Dosunmu, Offense

Bulls star DeMar DeRozan isn’t worried about his play declining as he enters his 14th season, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. DeRozan turned 33 years old in August.

As long as you take care of yourself, as long as you work, technology is completely different,” DeRozan said. “It’s not like I’m Kevin Willis [who retired at 44] out here or anything like that. Shout-out to Kevin Willis.

I’m just saying, there are so many ways to take care of yourself — physically, mentally, nutrition, the technology that you have for recovery. There are so many ways that you can be effective longer periods of time.”

It makes sense that DeRozan would dismiss his age potentially being an issue considering he’s coming off arguably the best season of his accomplished career. In 76 games (36.1 MPG) in 2021/22, the five-time All-Star averaged a career-high 27.9 PPG on .504/.350/.877 shooting along with 5.2 RPG and 4.9 APG.

DeRozan says the stacked Eastern Conference is fueling him to reach greater heights in ’22/23.

I love the competitive island that the East is on,” DeRozan said, per Cowley. “You have to compete. For me, people get so caught up in the rankings, but you put me in a room with the best, and it brings out the best in me. That’s the approach that we have to take this whole season. This is the toughest the East has been since I’ve been in the league.”

Here’s more from Chicago:

  • Kostas Antetokounmpo, who is signed to an Exhibit 10 deal, recently had an interview with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago about training camp, EuroBasket, his brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, and more. Kostas says he doesn’t feel pressure to try and have his contract converted to a two-way deal. “I just stay the course, try to get better, try to help the team as much as I can,” he said. “Everything is meant to be. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, move on to the next opportunity. The goal is just to get better. When I’m said and done, I’m going to say I became the best player I could.”
  • Veteran guard Goran Dragić says Ayo Dosunmu has impressed him during training camp, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “I really like Ayo. He’s a great kid,” Dragić said after Monday’s practice when asked which of his new teammates has stood out the most. “He really listens and he’s really asking questions. For me, it’s just to guide him on the right path. He has such a great talent and he’s a positive kid. He really surprised me.” Dosunmu earned a second-team All-Rookie nod last season and will look to build on that entering year two.
  • The Bulls are looking to add elements of randomness into their offense this season after it became predictable at times in ’21/22, Schaefer notes in another article. “Free-flowing. Quick reads. For isolation, one on one players, we’re going to get a couple of those shots up. That’s part of our game. But quick reads. Fast decisions,” Zach LaVine said as part of a larger quote when asked to describe the Bulls’ offense. “The ball should be popping side to side. Being able to use different players in different spots. We’re not just going to be stuck on the sideline doing a pick and roll or rolling it into the post.”
  • After the Bulls went 46-36 and finished sixth in the East last season, John Hollinger of The Athletic predicts the team will take a step back in ’22/23 and finish with a 40-42 record and the ninth seed. Hollinger writes that Lonzo Ball‘s knee injury will hurt the team’s playoff chances, and he thinks Patrick Williams is arguably the team’s most important player and might be the key to unlocking more wins if he improves.
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