Just hours before tonight’s tilt with the Denver Nuggets, Bulls’ forward DeMar DeRozan entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
With DeRozan out for the next few games, the Bulls must find other options on offense. DeRozan has been Chicago's apparent No. 1 offensive option so far this season. His mid-range game has been off the charts, evidenced by a 49.8% mark from the field. Whether shots are contested or open, DeRozan always finds his spots. When double-teamed, he always swings the ball out to set up an open man and keep the offense clicking.
Additionally, DeRozan has been one of the best fourth-quarter players in the NBA all year. Outside of his scoring prowess, Derozan's ability to get to the free-throw line has helped the Bulls close out games this year. He ranks fourth in the NBA in free throws attempted.
Zach LaVine will slide in as the new No. 1 option on offense for the time being. Throughout the season, LaVine has tried to play “hero ball” during some tough stretches but has had DeRozan to lean on if he is unsuccessful. Now, he must control his emotion and rely on his teammates if the Bulls want to maintain second place in the East.
Both Alex Caruso and rookie Ayo Dosunmu will need to step up as well. Caruso has to shoot better and take the ball up the floor more frequently to help compensate for DeRozan’s absence. Caruso has been in this kind of position before when both LeBron James and Anthony Davis were out for the Lakers last year, so he should be able to rise to the occasion.
Dosunmu will get a prime opportunity to continue his fearless play and step up. However, matching DeRozan’s physical presence will be a challenge since Green would have been the next man up if not for his absence.