Entering Friday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan had just one goal on his mind — put the basketball in the hoop and score as many points as possible. With 19,993 points under his belt before the game, he’d do just that. In fact, DeRozan didn’t do much else besides score, seeing as he posted just one assist and rebound each for the Chicago Bulls to accompany his 33 points.
DeMar would cross that 20K point threshold early in the first quarter, entering rarified air as just the 50th player in NBA history to reach this historic milestone. DeRozan now ranks 10th among all active scorers, with the next closest players behind him being Dwight Howard (19,485 points) and Damian Lillard (17,765 points).
Although he’s not likely to catch Stephen Curry, who is currently less than 200 points ahead and ranks 9th among active scorers, there’s still plenty of room to reach higher on this list. LaMarcus Aldridge and Joe Johnson rank 7th and 8th, respectively, and are each within 500 points of DeMar. Considering they’re all but retired now, DeRozan should pass both players this season, before setting his eyes on catching up to Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. For such a rare achievement, it’s interesting to see DeRozan, Curry, and Paul all cross this mark within the last year.
After clearing the 20K career point threshold on Friday, it’s time we put Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan into the Hall of Fame discussion.
It’s only fitting that this accomplishment came against DeMar’s former team, the Spurs. While the vast improvements to his game went largely unrecognized in San Antonio, the Bulls have clearly reaped the benefits of DeMar’s development this late into his career.
Legendary Spurs head coach Greg Popovich has often been cited as a mentor and father figure for DeRozan, which makes his decision to immediately call a timeout following DeMar’s 20,000th point a very kind gesture and is indicative of the type of man Pop is.
Although it was a road game, it was quite a heartwarming moment to see the AT&T Center erupt with cheers following the basket.
Considering all that DeRozan has accomplished over the course of his career, you have to think his odds of making basketball’s Naismith Hall of Fame are pretty strong. He holds almost every all-time record in Toronto Raptors history, has qualified for the All-Star team six times, an All-NBA Team three times, and holds a pair of international gold medals from the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In fact, Basketball Reference lists DeRozan as the 27th most likely candidate to make the Hall of Fame among all active players with a current probability of 22.8 percent. It’s worth noting that several players above DeMar have already essentially retired, but just haven’t been inducted yet.
Whether or not DeRozan currently deserves may be subject for debate for some, but another All-Star appearance this year and a potential All-NBA nomination would only help cement his case even further.
Although DeRozan is 33 years old, he appears primed to once again have one of the best seasons of his career. I believe in the end, the longevity of his prime years and the massive impact he’s made on several franchises — including the Chicago Bulls — will ultimately be enough to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame.