DeMar DeRozan deserves to be 2024's NBA Clutch Player of the Year

Washington Wizards v Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards v Chicago Bulls / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Despite a litany of issues that include locker room drama, an inept front office, questionable coaching decisions, and a devastating number of injuries to the core rotation, the Chicago Bulls... aren't a horrible basketball team? For that, we can thank DeMar DeRozan, who appears hellbent on keeping this team in the hunt for the playoffs no matter what is thrown his way.

Hitting big shots and closing out close games, DeRozan has single-handedly kept the Bulls afloat in multiple instances this season. As a result, the Bulls have achieved a league-leading 24 wins in the clutch, a testament to how Chicago should never be considered an easy win on the schedule.

This is convenient timing for DeMar, as the NBA Clutch Player of the Year award was recently created to honor players who will their teams to victory in crucial moments. De'Aaron Fox was the first winner of the award last year, and I believe DeRozan should be considered at the very least a strong candidate to be the second player to claim the award this time around.

It's hard to not see a lot of parallels between the season Fox had last season and how DeMar is currently playing right now. Averaging 23.2 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game, DeRozan has easily been the most reliable player on this roster all season long and he should at least be considered for the award.

Fortunately, the bookies in Vegas seem to agree, as he surpassed Steph Curry as the odds-on favorite to win the award just last week. Damian Lillard is currently in a distant third place on DraftKings, meaning this might just be a two-horse race.

The Bulls would be terrible without Clutch Player of the Year award frontrunner DeMar DeRozan's play this season.

Ironically, DeRozan would have almost assuredly won the award in 2022 if it existed then. He led the Bulls to a 46-36 record and put together the most complete season of his entire career, averaging an efficient 27.9 points per game, finishing 10th in MVP voting, and even earning well-deserved All-Star and All-NBA honors along the way.

Although he didn't take any hardware home for his efforts back then, it's becoming clear he deserves his flowers as one of the NBA's most overlooked stars. We saw that last night against the Trail Blazers, as he delivered multiple clutch baskets and 9 of Chicago's 21 fourth quarter points to put Portland's comeback effort to rest.

DeMar adds this most recent win to a rapidly growing pile of clutch victories, like when he hit a last-second turnaround jumper against the Pacers to force overtime and finish with a season-high 46 points.

Steph Curry is the league leader in total clutch points scored this season with 167... and DeMar is right behind him with 166. Meanwhile, DeRozan is currently outpacing Curry in clutch rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, and even three-point percentage (yes, you heard that right). If he keeps playing like this, there's simply no denying DeMar DeRozan the title of the NBA's most clutch player.

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