The deeper we get into the season, the better we get to know who is deserving of the coveted MVP trophy. At this point, the usual suspects are populating the various MVP ladders. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokić, and Paul George. Over the last several seasons, these names have been the top favorites to be declared Most Valuable Player.
JJ Redick, the sharpshooter-turned-podcast hero, has been one of the well-known voices in the basketball media. Redick isn't afraid to throw out a take, but unlike many former players that are rarely hot take-ish, JJ is more in the "common sense" camp, and he feels like one guy is a no-brainer MVP candidate.
"But in the first 14 or 15 games, let's acknowledge that DeMar DeRozan is worthy of a top-five MVP discussion."
JJ Redick, The Old Man and The Three
This isn't some hot take from Redick. Analysts have begun to notice that DeMar DeRozan should be in the MVP conversation. A lot of it has to do with the Chicago Bulls' 12-6 record, which many did not see coming.
When the Bulls added DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso to the fold, fans expected an exciting up-and-coming team. The Bulls already had two All-Stars in Zach LaVine and Nikola Vučević. This new collection of talent needs ample time to mesh and develop. As such, the feasible goal for them was at least a playoff appearance as a mid-tier squad.
But then the Bulls started overpowering bottomfeeding teams like the Detroit Pistons and the New Orleans Pelicans. They stood their ground against playoff teams like the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and the Denver Nuggets. In short, everyone expected them to do well. But they did not expect them to be this good.
DeRozan himself is aware of the MVP whispers around him. It has become impossible to ignore since this is the first time DeRozan has been included in these talks. This hasn't changed his demeanor one bit. Like any other competitor playing a team sport, what matters is that the team is doing well. Everything else — even MVP trophies that some chase — are nothing but extraneous matters.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I never once think about [MVP talk]. Winning takes care of everything, and as long as we do what we’re supposed to on the court, winning, everything you desire will come with it and you take it as it comes."
DeMar De Rozan, Chicago Sun-Times
It is still a matter of wait-and-see if DeRozan does take the plum and etch his name in history forever. But from the looks of it, DeRozan would rather raise the Larry O'Brien trophy than any other trophy in the world.