In his fifth year in the league last season, Toronto Raptors fans as well as NBA fans finally got a taste of the potential that is DeMar DeRozan. After a few years of teasing us, DeRozan broke out and in a big way. In almost 39 minutes per game he averaged 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists, becoming the focal point of the Raptors’ offensive attack. That being said, the 6-foot-7 shooting guard is still maturing, and like a fine wine he will only get better with time. Below is a breakdown of what DeRozan brings to the table in case you have been living under a rock for the past year.
Last year DeRozan made the first All-Star appearance of his career and displayed that he belonged among the best in the game. The skilled shooting guard has the length and quickness to get by defenders and attack the rim, as well as the athleticism to play above the cylinder with some spectacular dunks — and I mean spectacular. When DeRozan gets a head of steam going to the hoop, defenders beware.
For a 6-foot-7 guard, he handles the ball very well and can effectively create shots for himself off of isolations. That being said, DeRozan still needs to improve the consistency of his jump shot and decision-making. He sometimes passes up the easy shot to take a more difficult one. I would like to see him catch and shoot more coming off of picks and become more of a slasher. Because he is so long and quick he can easily elevate over defenders. As of now, he stands around the three-point line too much when he could be using his length and athleticism to open up the floor more.
On defense he sometimes gets caught watching the ball and forgets his man. He switches well on defense and can guard multiple positions due to his length and quickness. Although he isn’t a great rebounder, he will look to box out when the shot goes up. DeRozan also needs to get stronger. This will help him at both the offensive and defensive end of the floor. He has the ability on offense to post up smaller guards but struggles to move them to gain separation. Because of his wiry frame, he gets pushed around too often when trying to post up. Over time this can be fixed with a stringent workout regimen and his body continuing to mature. The same can be said for him on defense. He sometimes struggles getting around picks and gets pushed around underneath when trying to rebound.
Although there is always room for improvement, DeRozan is a stud and he showed us that last year. As he continues to get better so will the Raptors, who will make a lot of noise next year in the Eastern Conference. If you haven’t been following DeRozan on a regular basis you should be. NBA fans have officially been put on notice.