Critic calls Bulls star one of the NBA’s most overrated players

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

DeMar DeRozan is a player that’s been called plenty of things over the course of his career. Loser. Ball-hog. DeFrozen. Overpaid. Overrated. These things have not phased him one bit, as he’s gone on to be one of the most prolific scorers the game has ever seen and he will likely retire as a Hall of Famer after his achievements with the Chicago Bulls and elsewhere.

That last insult, in particular, has once again been used to dismiss his greatness very recently. Bleacher Report has included DeRozan on their list of the five most overrated players in the NBA today, a list that also includes the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Jonas Valanciunas, Dillon Brooks, and Domantas Sabonis. While I think a fair few of these picks are extremely questionable, I’d like to focus on the critique of DeMar’s game for now.

B/R’s Grant Hughes sang DeRozan’s praises as a lethal go-to scorer and hyper-efficient isolation threat at first, but then was quick to pile on the criticism shortly after.

"“DeRozan’s individual bucket-getting prowess has led to precious little team success and comes with a level of defensive ineptitude that basically cancels out (at best) the value he provides as a scorer. Throw in a career-long reluctance to work off the ball or shoot threes, and DeRozan has essentially pigeonholed himself as a high-usage weapon who limits his team’s offensive ceiling and can’t scale down into a supporting role because he doesn’t contribute enough in other areas.”"

Hughes claims DeRozan’s defense is so bad that at best his offense makes him a neutral asset. Yes, the same DeMar DeRozan who has had a positive BPM for eight consecutive seasons and actually posted a positive defensive BPM last season. He also claims DeRozan is unwilling to shoot the three ball, despite the fact he took 284 long-range attempts over these past two seasons and has hit them at a career-high clip. His shooting has actually won the Bulls game they’d have otherwise lost. I mean, who can forget these pair of iconic moments?

These are the type of baseless and blatantly inflammatory statements I’d typically see in the replies section of NBA Twitter, not actual analysis.

If you still think Chicago Bulls’ All-Star DeMar DeRozan is overrated, you just haven’t been watching closely.

Hughes continued on to elaborate on his take below.

"“In 11 of his first 12 seasons, DeRozan’s teams had higher net ratings with him off the floor than on. Though his Chicago Bulls have played better with him in the game than out over the last two years, the defensive issues have persisted, and the friction between him and Zach LaVine is a direct result of DeRozan’s inability to help when he’s not operating as a first option.”"

The first thing I wish to address here is the fact the author is blatantly misrepresenting the statistics to make DeRozan look bad. In his final five seasons with Toronto, the Raptors were on average 4 points better than opposing teams whenever he was on the court. Even when he was traded to the Spurs, he helped carry San Antonio to a 48-34 record in his first season and once again posted a positive net rating.

The reason why the Raptors and Spurs posted better net ratings when he was off the court, was because each of these teams had notoriously strong benches that outplayed the second units of opposing teams, not because DeRozan was somehow negatively impacting the game from the bench.

The author does point out that the Bulls have actually significantly benefitted from DeMar’s presence, but that doesn’t fit his narrative so he’s instead twisted a report from The Athletic where LaVine was upset with coaching and management, and made DeRozan the target of his issues. To be perfectly honest, I’m not a fan of this dishonest and dismissive manipulation of the truth.

DeRozan has also led the Bulls in assists per game (and assist percentage, among players who have averaged more than 15 minutes per game) in both seasons he’s spent in Chicago, so I honestly have to laugh at the notion DeRozan is an incapable team player or can’t contribute in ways that don’t involve shooting the basketball.

Fortunately, DeMar has historically played well enough to make these hack job age poorly. Who can remember the time a panel of scouts and executives called him the worst signing of the summer? Or ESPN ranked him as the 82nd-best player in the league? I can tell you one thing for sure, those authors sure haven’t been allowed to forget it for a single day, and DeMar will very likely make another one eat his words again very soon.

Next. 5 Biggest Bulls draft misses of the last decade. dark