Thursday , Jul , 28 , 2011 J.N.

How Good? – DeMar DeRozan’s Potential

Toronto Raptor fans do not have much to celebrate. They have been in lockout mode since 2009. The lockout shouldn’t be a problem because they have been in tank mode. The Raptor fans are more concerned with getting the top pick in any draft. Do you remember Master P and the No Limit Soldiers gold tank in the “Make em say uggghh” music video? Yep. Just like that; a solid gold tank.

They should not think about the number one pick. Instead, they got Jonas Valanciunas. He has to break through the “Andrea Bargnani” ceiling to earn any praise. Moving on, the hidden gem covered in soot is DeMar DeRozan. The kid went from forgettable to “some talk” after one season. The most obvious jump is the points per game average. DeRozan jumped from 8.6 points to 17.2 points. That’s a huge leap. His numbers improved all across the board especially his minutes and field goal attempts.

  • 2009-2010: Minutes per game – 21.6
  • 2010-2011: Minutes per game – 34.8 
  • 2009-2010: Field goals made – 3.3
  • 2010-2011: Field goals made – 6.6

It seems that the improvements are mainly because of volume. That’s all. It is very easy to write this off as that at first glance. Let’s dig deeper. Where did he get better?  He is around 40 percent from 16-23 feet, which is mid-range city. The numbers are considered the league average. However, 70 percent of those shots were assisted. That’s not good. That proves that he is not good going one on one.

That is the problem – Isolation skills cannot be improved at this level. That is something that is grown with the player since elementary school days. No one improves in that area at the pro level. I’ve never seen it. Players such as Jordan, Kobe, Rose, Wade, and Iverson do not get better with the creativity of their handles and separation ability to manufacture points. Instead, they just get smarter. The same applies to DeRozan and any other player. If they don’t have it before they were drafted, they never will.

Here is an example – Luol Deng was never a good isolation guy. People thought he might improve over the course of his career, but he never did. Rip Hamilton is similar this way.

With that said, DeRozan is good at getting to the paint and finishing since he is athletic and explosive; better than Deng. Sure, his ball handling skills improved compared to his rookie self, but that does not equate to being awesome at taking any defender off the dribble. His defense needs work and the playmaking ability just isn’t there; court vision needs major improvement. The 1.8 assist average is not getting it done. He still needs to get better at the mid range game and three point ball.

Right now, he is not seeing Eric Gordon or Marcus Thornton, but he is better than James Harden. I’m not picking on Harden. I just don’t think he will ever produce 25+ behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He was nowhere near 15 points last season. Yeah. Sorry.

Can DeRozan be a top 5 SG? Yep. He can get that good only if he becomes a good defender, all around shooter, and playmaker. He can average 25+ points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists type producer with better efficiency. We’ll see after the lockout.


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