After officially signing his contract with the Chicago Bulls, Tristan Thompson decided to make his presence felt early with the Chicago media cracking jokes about his lack of passion for deep-dish pizza to his long 15-year history with Bulls coach Billy Donovan who recruited him to go to the University of Florida.
But it was after making jokes about his Cavaliers teams sending DeMar DeRozan’s Toronto Raptors teams home that he got serious. The 30-year-old forward made it clear that DeRozan’s presence played a significant part in the decision to come to Chicago. During those playoff battles on the court, the two formed a mutual respect built over three years.
Off the court, the two became close friends, a relationship that made Thompson’s decision to come to Chicago easy.
Thompson raised eyebrows by claiming that DeMar DeRozan is a definite MVP candidate, even comparing his shooting to Michael Jordan’s with his midrange accuracy.
“He’s playing out of this world,” Thompson said via the Chicago Tribune. “Right now, he’s the league MVP in my eyes. Flat out. What he’s able to be doing with Zach (LaVine) out and with Zo (Lonzo Ball) out and with AC (Alex Caruso) out and Vooch was out a little bit too, for him to be able to just hold the fort down and keep that ship right — that’s what an MVP does.”
“There’s a lot of potential here,” Thompson said, Zach LaVine’s effortless offensive prowess, Lonzo Ball’s status as a “walking triple-double,” DeRozan’s midrange mastery, Vučević’s versatility, Javonte Green’s energy, Coby White’s “firecracker” scoring ability, and on and on.”
“All those pieces are what you need to be one of the last teams dancing. The key is gonna be, can we put it all together.”
The Bulls resume their season Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks.