Tall tale or reality? Either way Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan leads by example

DeMar DeRozan was unusually late to Monday’s post-game presser.


The Bulls veteran forward did take to the United Center court after the game and work on his free-throw shooting, while that floor was being taken apart for Blackhawks hockey.

Again, another fact.

The idea that he made 250 free throws in that time frame between final horn and media session? Tough to swallow, but hey, DeRozan’s legend only grows in these parts, so why ruin a good thing.

“Usually, I always go back at night, get my rhythm, make a couple of hundred free throws at least in between games,” DeRozan said of his process and why he went back out there after beating the Magic. “With back to backs the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to keep up with my rhythm. And it showed [Monday] – don’t even look right. No way I was going to go home feeling comfortable shooting [like] that.”

Sounds like a player that went 1-for-9 from the free throw line, including an air ball.

However, DeRozan actually went 7-for-13, but was really bothered by the 4-for-7 in the final quarter. That’s money time for the “King of the Fourth.” The “championship rounds,” as DeRozan calls them.

To miss easy jabs to an exposed jaw of the opponent?

Can’t happen.

DeRozan regularly hits the Advocate Center late at night to work on his game, so taking the court right after a win wasn’t out of his comfort zone.

If anything it continued to show how serious he was about doing big things this season.

“Just trying to be a creature of habit,” DeRozan said. “What’s that thing? They say it takes 21 days to create a habit or something like that. So I try to use that same mentality when it comes to basketball.”

According to DeRozan, he does a set of 10 free throws, and if he misses any of the 10 the set starts over. He said he got 25 sets in after the Magic win.

“We can’t be satisfied with anything,” DeRozan continued. “We work extremely hard, can’t take nothing for granted. We understand our task, to continue to keep getting better. Yeah, we won some games. We’re on a winning streak, but we’re not satisfied with none of that.”

Even eight-straight wins, like the Bulls are currently riding for the first time since March of 2012?

“No,” DeRozan responded. “Move onto the next one.”

That’s why DeRozan has catapulted himself to instant team leader this season. He not only leads with words, but with actions.

If the best player on the team is putting in all the extra work at age 32 and on year 13 of his NBA career, younger players better take notice and follow suit.

The nice thing for this Bulls roster is by all accounts they have.

This was a team that all arrived in Chicago weeks before training camp started in the fall, and began running with each other. It’s also a team that preaches hard work.

DeRozan wasn’t the only Bull to put in extra credit the last few weeks. Nikola Vucevic was in a shooting slump back in November and into December, so admitted that the only way he knew how to get out of it was increasing his extra work.

That’s exactly what he did.

“We do have a team with a lot of hard-working guys,” Vucevic said. “That’s the only way you become a good player individually and then for the team to work. I think we have guys who understand that.”

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