Bulls Notes: DeRozan, White, LaVine

With two starters and one reserve sidelined due to long-term injuries, Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan has assumed a bigger responsibility offensively, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Star shooting guard Zach LaVine, center Nikola Vucevic and reserve forward Torrey Craig are all on the shelf, which has compelled DeRozan to play an average of 38.7 minutes per game this month.

DeRozan suggested that his veteran awareness has helped him find moments in a game where he can tactically rest, even when he’s on the hardwood.

“Me just knowing when a TV timeout is coming,” DeRozan said. “Me knowing a foul is going to happen at some point. Me understanding if you need to tie your shoe, it’s a lot of little things that go into it. If you’re not in the penalty, you can take a foul… Playing so long, you kind of understand when a stoppage is going to come and take advantage of those moments. When a timeout comes, sit there until that two minutes, 30 seconds is up. Just take advantage of the little gaps when you can because you know you want to be out there.”

Head coach Billy Donovan acknowledges he is somewhat worried about the mileage he’s putting on the 34-year-old.

“I’m concerned about that,” Donovan said. “I mean, he’s great. I talk to him all the time. But it’s kind of the situation we’ve been in with Torrey out, Vooch out and Zach out. I want to be mindful of that and always talk and communicate with him. He has played a lot of minutes and I probably need to look at that.”

There’s more out of Chicago:

  • Bulls point guard Coby White praised his teammates for their resilient resurgence following the team’s nadir thus far this season, a 124-97 blowout loss to the Celtics on November 28, writes Johnson in a separate piece. “At that moment, when adversity hit and we were at our lowest this season, we could’ve all grew apart,” White said. “Instead of doing that, we all came together. I think that contributes to how we played in the month of December.” Chicago has gone 9-5 this month. In December, White is averaging 22.6 PPG on .469/.402/.815 shooting, along with 6.4 RPG and 5.7 APG, across 14 bouts.
  • Billy Donovan revealed that LaVine, still dealing with right foot inflammation, could participate in contact practice for the Bulls late next week, Johnson writes in an additional article. “If (his recovery) continues to go like it’s going, I think that’s a very, very strong possibility,” Donovan said. After a two-game East Coast road trip, Chicago will return home for a game against the Hornets on Friday. “He has responded well [to treatment],” Donovan added.
  • In case you missed it, the present trade market for LaVine, a maximum-salaried former All-Star, remains fairly limited.
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