The 19-year-old forward from the USC Trojans, a projected top-10 pick, is one of several top prospects that have opted to go it alone during pre-draft auditions.
"I felt like coaches get the chance to see everything I’ve improved on without paying attention to other players, their whole focus is on me," DeRozan said on his decision to go solo.
DeRozan is an athletic player who’s one of the draft’s most-hyped prospects.
The Raptors, given the option, would have loved to have seen DeRozan work under some sort of game conditions, even though they had scouts and front office personnel see him a handful of times in the college season.
But they didn’t get that option yesterday and getting him in the gym, even alone, was worth the effort.
"I guess that’s the agents trying to protect their players a little bit. The top guys would normally do that, we’ve seen that with him and (Arizona forward Jordan) Hill and (Connecticut centre Hasheem) Thabeet and all those guys projected to go in the top five, six," said Masai Ujiri, Toronto’s assistant general manager of player personnel.
Ujiri said he needs to work on his shooting, but sees in him a bit of Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala, Portland’s Travis Outlaw or Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace.
“Those are guys we kind of compare him to, athletic guys in the beginning, they were crazy athletes, but the game was yet to be put together,” Ujiri said. “I think those guys have put their games together. He has to work on a couple of things, but I think he’s a great athlete, a great kid.
“It almost always pans out. They work hard, it might take a couple of years, but I think he grows into being a good player.”
9. Toronto Raptors – DeMar DeRozan SG/SF
19 years old, 6?7?, 207 lbs.
Remember, if the Raptors choose to jettison Shawn Marion and spend their cap space on someone else, they would also surely lose the following — Anthony Parker, Joey Graham and Carlos Delfino.
So the option of re-signing Marion, should be considered Marion plus potentially those three plus the possible use of the MLE against the one $7.2-to-$9.2 million signing.
9. Toronto Raptors: DeMarr DeRozan, SF, USC – With Anthony Parker and Shawn Marion headed for free agency, the Raptors need an athletic wingman to fill the void. DeRozan really came on at the end of last year and showed some of the promise he had coming out of high school. I am not sure how the move across the border would affect a guy who is always been in the Southern California area. DeRozan is fairly raw still, but should get a good amount of playing time next year. Other possibilities: Holiday, Gerald Henderson, Earl Clark.
Which brings me back to the explosive and athletic Gerald Henderson. The former Blue Devil would immediately upgrade Toronto’s athleticism while giving them solid defender who still has plenty of upside. He could easily develop into a Richard Jefferson type player. Henderson flashed his all-around game last year with Duke; scoring 16.5 PPG, grabbing 4.9 RPG and dishing out 2.5 APG.
He still needs to work on becoming more consistent with his jump shot and his ball-handling, but he has the skill-set to excel in both of those areas.
Former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell played 10 seasons for the Wolves and is one obvious candidate. He is considered more of a disciplinarian than a players’ coach, but center Al Jefferson said McHale was both of those.
"He was the type of guy who could communicate with you and also, if he was upset, he would get in your face, too," Jefferson said. "Most definitely I think it’s good to have a coach like that because some of us players are knuckleheads and some of us need a coach that is going to really get down on them and get in their face. … I think we need both of that."
Mitchell didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday, and Kahn insisted that the process of finding a new coach
Australia’s men’s basketball team, the Boomers, will begin its first training camp for 2009 at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra tomorrow.
The Boomers will be without the services of 208cm Toronto Raptors power forward Nathan Jawai until possibly Sunday due to a stomach ailment.
The Raps newly appointed Assistant Coach joins Jack and the always witty Doug MacLean to talk about how is hiring came to fruition and what Reggie Evans brings to the team.