DeMar DeRozan Channeled His Inner Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant by Making 250 Free Throws After Bulls Beat Magic: ‘Trying to Be a Creature of Habit’
DeMar DeRozan is a career 83.4% shooter from the free-throw line. This season, the Chicago Bulls star is shooting 85.8% from the charity stripe, which ranks 28th in the NBA.
However, against the Orlando Magic on January 3, DeRozan shot only 7-of-13 from the free-throw line. Even though he finished with 29 points and the Bulls won, DeRozan was upset with how he shot the ball from the foul line.
So after the game ended, the California native channeled his inner Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
DeMar DeRozan shot free throws postgame
After the Bulls-Magic game, DeRozan was on the United Center floor practicing free throws. He was so furious with how he shot during the game that he took a page out of Jordan and Bryant’s work ethic book. According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, DeRozan made “probably 250” free throws postgame.
“Trying to be a creature of habit,” DeRozan said. “I usually go back at night, get my rhythm, make a couple hundred free throws in between games. But with the back-to-backs the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to keep up with my rhythm. It showed tonight. It don’t even look right. There’s no way I was going to go home feeling comfortable with shooting that.”
Not only does DeRozan play like Jordan and Bryant in terms of his mastery of the mid-range, but he also has the same determination to be great. The Bulls and Lakers legends were never satisfied until they reached the promised land, and DeRozan has the same mindset.
DeMar DeRozan: Bulls “can’t be satisfied with anything”
The Bulls have the best record in the Eastern Conference behind the star play of DeRozan and Zach LaVine. They are on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since 2017. However, DeRozan doesn’t want the team to get complacent.
“We can’t be satisfied with anything,” DeRozan said after the Magic game. “We work extremely hard. We can’t take nothing for granted. We understand what’s at task, and that’s to continue to get better. Yeah, we won some games. We’re on a win streak. But we’re not satisfied with none of that.”
Jordan and Bryant combined to win 11 championships. They didn’t get too excited over regular-season wins. They were more focused on winning games in the playoffs and holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and it sounds like DeRozan has the same mentality. After all, the All-Star has been a No. 1 seed before but never been to the NBA Finals.
Now that he’s no longer in the same conference as LeBron James, DeRozan has a good shot of finally etching his name next to Jordan and Bryant.
Bulls no longer have to go through LeBron James
Neither the Bulls nor DeRozan have beaten LeBron in a playoff series. Chicago lost to LBJ in the 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2015 playoffs, while DeRozan fell short against the King in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The good news for DeRozan and the Bulls is that LeBron plays in the West. The bad news is that Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving play for the Brooklyn Nets, the team most pundits picked to win the East before the season started. Even though Chicago is 2-0 against Brooklyn, Irving didn’t play in either game. Uncle Drew is back with the team as a part-time player, and if the Bulls and Nets meet in the playoffs, he’ll be allowed to play at the United Center but not at the Barclays Center due to his vaccination status.
DeRozan is averaging 26.9 points while shooting 49.4% from the field this season. He’s playing like an MVP and reminding old Bulls and Lakers fans of Jordan and Bryant, respectively, since he’s flourishing in the mid-range. It looks like Chicago will have home-court advantage in the postseason, so this year is an excellent opportunity for DeRozan to win his first title and get that monkey off his back.
The Bulls certainly won’t lose due to a lack of effort, as DeRozan showed following the Magic game that he cares deeply about basketball and perfecting his craft.