DeRozan can't wait to take Bulls teammates through his summer workouts
DeMar DeRozan has a plan in mind, and is already working on the execution.
The goal for the Bulls, quite obviously, is to take a step forward next season. Actually challenge for the Eastern Conference lead, don't just flirt with it. Stay competitive for longer than two games of the playoffs.
The key to improvement is hard work during the summer, DeRozan says, and he has that part covered.
"I plan on having a lot of guys come to L.A., for sure, work with me," DeRozan said Thursday as the Bulls held end of season interviews at the Advocate Center. "Put them through a lot of the hell things I put myself through during the offseason, especially Pat (Williams).
"I'm looking forward to having him spend some time with me in L.A., having him get up at 4 o'clock in the morning, kind of breaking him down and whoever else wants in on the team."
DeRozan talked about how the key to thriving in the NBA is to make the summer workload harder than the season. He modeled his routine after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who served as a mentor for DeRozan early in his NBA career.
"I never got up at 4 a.m. with him, but just the way he approached his craft was always given to me in as way of, 'Take this and apply it to you the best way it fits, but this is how I got to where I got,'" DeRozan said. "That's all I had to hear from him.
"I just took everything he told me and ran with it because I feel like the recipe he put out there worked. So I adopted that over 10 years ago and that's been my summer routine every year."
DeRozan said he's already gotten a commitment from Williams to spend time in Southern California and hopes to add several more Bulls teammates. Asked what's included in the 4 a.m. workouts, the 13-year veteran didn't want to reveal much.
"I'll let them tell you," he said. "Give them until after summer and all the guys that go through it with me, they'll be able to tell a heck of a story."
Does it include a view of the Pacific Ocean? Running in sand?
"Yeah, I'm into the sand," DeRozan said, before rethinking his answer. "I'm going to let them tell you."
The Bulls will have limited means to add pieces this summer. There was plenty of talk Thursday about the importance of continuity and how the Bulls never got a chance to play with the full roster.
Trades are possible, but it seems more likely the Bulls will count on improvement from their younger guys like Williams, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. Because improved versions of those three players are likely greater than what the Bulls could receive in a trade.
"I kind of know what it takes to have a good summer," Williams said. "Now that I know that, I can do that again, but do it even better. Do it even harder. Do it even smarter."
This was mostly a lost season for Williams, who missed 65 games while recovering from left wrist surgery. But he ended on a high note, scoring 20 and 23 points in the final two games of the Milwaukee playoff series. White, a fellow North Carolina native, might be Williams' biggest fan.
"I believe he can be a star," White said. "He's got every quality you can ask for on and off the basketball court, as a human being and as a basketball player."
Williams becoming a star is what the Bulls had in mind when he was chosen with the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2020. It would also help DeRozan continue the career surge he experienced during his first season with the Bulls.
"I've studied him a lot this season." Williams said of DeRozan. "I haven't really asked him or talked to him about it a lot. But what I've gotten from him is that he's really resilient mentally. I'm not sure what it is that got him to that point, but I think that is something I can pick up from him."
Well, maybe at 4 a.m. on a warm California morning sometime this summer, Williams will find out where that resiliency comes from.