Is 2022 DeMar DeRozan better than 2011 Rose?

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

To say that the Chicago Bulls‘ five-time All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan is having an incredible season would be an understatement. In his age 32 season, DeRozan had led the Bulls to the best record in the Eastern Conference and is on a scoring stretch that would rival prime Michael Jordan.

No matter how you look at it, acquiring DeRozan in the offseason has proven to be a massive win for the Bulls. But simply stating that DeRozan has been excellent would be too boring. Comparing current players to past ones is what makes sports debates so much fun, and it’s worth asking if DeRozan is having the greatest season by a Chicago Bull since Michael Jordan.

The only real competition to DeRozan here is Derrick Rose’s MVP campaign in the 2010-11 season, where he led the Bulls to a league-best 62 wins. Here is a look at how DeRozan’s season stacks up so far.

DeMar DeRozan’s dominant season has put him in MVP consideration for the Chicago Bulls


Before his career was derailed by injuries, Rose was arguably the most explosive player in the league. He could torch defenders off the dribble and had a great balance of power and finesse to finish at the rim. Rose was far from a marksman from three, but he was a good enough jump shooter that defenses couldn’t give him too much space. Rose averaged a career-high 25 points and was the heart and soul of Chicago’s offense.

DeRozan has one of the most unique playing styles in today’s game. In a league that has largely left the mid-range shot to die, DeRozan continues to make a living off it. Much like Rose, DeRozan isn’t a great three-point shooter and only takes them when he is open or late in the shot clock. DeRozan is currently averaging a career-high 28.3 points per game, which ranks fourth in the league, and is amongst the league leaders in both fourth quarter and clutch scoring.

Winner: DeRozan

Not only is DeRozan scoring more than Rose, but he’s also doing so on better efficiency. DeRozan is currently shooting about 52 percent, while Rose shot 44 percent from the field. Additionally, DeRozan has done much of this alongside Zach LaVine, who is averaging 24.5 PPG. The combination of scoring efficiency, all without taking away many opportunities from teammates, is rare and impressive.


As the starting point guard, Rose was Chicago’s primary ball-handler and playmaker. Without the presence of another elite scorer, the Bulls relied heavily on Rose to create and facilitate. Rose did a great job of using the threat of him as a scorer to set up teammates and finished the season averaging 7.7 assists per game.

Many may look at San Antonio as the dark ages of DeRozan’s career due to the lack of winning and dip in scoring. However, DeRozan gained some valuable skills in San Antonio, including playmaking. This has made DeRozan a very capable passer when needs to be, and we’ve seen more of it with starting point guard Lonzo Ball out of the lineup.

Winner: Rose

DeRozan is a much better playmaker than he gets credit for, but it’s hard to argue that he’s done a better job than Rose did in 2011.

Rebounding and defense

I’m clumping two completely unrelated categories together because I don’t find either to be very relevant to this argument. Not to suggest defense and rebounding aren’t very important parts of the game, but neither Rose nor DeRozan have been very good in either category throughout their careers. Since these aren’t strengths for either player, it is probably better to just move on than to compare what 5.2 RPG for a small forward is compared to 3.4 RPG for a guard.

Winner: No one

Overall Impact 

This is by far the most arbitrary category. There is no definitive way to measure impact and value. But with that said, a player’s production only matters if it produces positive outcomes for his team. Rose and DeRozan both guided the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. As mentioned before, Rose’s bulls went 62-20. If the 2022 Bulls can capture the top spot in the East remains to be seen.

The argument for Rose is pretty straightforward. He was the best player on the best team in basketball and did it all without a second all-star on the team. The argument for DeRozan is the Bulls went from not even making the play-in games to one of the best teams in basketball, after trading for him, despite various injuries to other players.

Verdict: DeRozan

I can already sense this will be an incredibly unpopular opinion among Bulls fans, but I don’t think this is recency bias talking. Given all the injuries the rest of the roster has suffered, it isn’t far-fetched to think the Bulls could be a play-in team without DeRozan. Looking at the amount of games DeRozan has won in the just fourth quarter this season is staggering.

I’d also like to point out the 2011-12 Bulls, with a very similar roster to the year before, finished with the best record in basketball, even though Rose only played in 39 of the team’s 66 games.

Final thoughts 

Comparing two seasons from two players that play two different positions over ten years apart is far from perfect. Even with that in mind, it’s clear that DeRozan’s season is on par, if not better, than Rose’s MVP campaign.

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I find it highly unlikely DeRozan ends up winning the MVP or even finishing in the top three for that matter, but it’s hard to argue many players have made the impact on their team that DeRozan has.