Chicago Bulls have two league-leading stars over past month

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls currently sit tied for first place in the Eastern Conference, and after one hectic trade deadline which saw the East shaken up by a blockbuster deal, are sitting back and waiting to get healthy.

It’s remarkable that the Bulls have been able to consistently stay towards the top of the conference standings, especially since the dreaded day of January 15.

Why is this date so significant? Since January 15, Zach LaVine has played in only half the Bulls’ games (nine of 18) mostly due to additional soreness in his knee. With LaVine out, the Bulls have been severely undermanned.

The Bulls have also been without Lonzo Ball since — wait for it — January 15. The team has also been down Alex Caruso for a similar amount of time, along with Derrick Jones Jr. — who finally just returned — and Patrick Williams, for most of the season.

Of course, the Bulls also missed Javonte Green for an extended period of time, too.

Since January 15, the Chicago Bulls have two NBA-leading stars on their roster, keeping them in every single game.

During this stretch, there have been two players who have stepped up in a monumental way: DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.

DeRozan leads the league in points since January 15, while Vucevic leads the league in rebounds.

What a world we’re living in, folks. Not only are the Bulls tied for first place deep into the season, but they’re doing it without a meaningful chunk of their roster and these two guys are playing some inspired basketball.

Say what you want about Vucevic, and some of his bad games being extraordinarily bad, but without him, the Bulls aren’t where they’re at. Vucevic may have some bad offensive nights, but his rebounding and defense in the paint shouldn’t go overlooked.

Then, there’s DeRozan, who is on another planet this season. He’s having a season that no Bull has had since the likes of Michael Jordan. In fact, DeRozan very well could break an NBA record held by the great Wilt Chamberlain.

People will talk all day long about Joel Embiid and his MVP campaign, but DeRozan is right on his heels. The wild card in this MVP race is going to be how James Harden impacts Embiid’s numbers and the Sixers as a team, overall.

Meanwhile, the consistency has been there for DeRozan and the Bulls. He’s been the cool, calm and collected closer for Chicago. It’s gotten to the point where, when he misses a shot, fans are genuinely surprised. He’s been that good.

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Between DeRozan and Vucevic, the Bulls have been in great hands while the rest of the crew is getting healthy. By standing pat at the trade deadline, these Bulls showed the ultimate confidence in their team. If they’re here while the team is dealing with key injuries, just imagine how far they’ll go when health is on their side.