Having already addressed the Raptors deficiency in toughness with the acquisition of Reggie Evans via a trade, Colangelo addressed his club’s other glaring weakness getting a guy who can create his own shot and has no qualms about going through people to get to the rim.
Raptors head coach Jay Triano revealed the pick actually was made five weeks ago when Colangelo and Triano were in Oakland for one of those group workouts.
They watched DeRozan in an hour and 45 minute session that included a one-on-one work as well as various drills. At it’s conclusion, Colangelo asked Triano what he thought.
"I just told him: ‘I think this is our guy.’ And he told me: ‘I’m glad you said that because that’s exactly how I feel.’ And from that point on, he was at the top of our list." Triano said.
Colangelo considers DeRozan a little more polished than Stoudamire was on his draft night seven years ago.
"To have a piece, where you can look at that void at the two-three spot and you put DeMar DeRozan in there now, it’s encouraging," said Colangelo. "We talked so much about the lack of athleticism with this team, the lack of defenders on the perimeter. He’s capable and now it’s up to him to apply those things.
"He’s got that kind of raw physical talent that hopefully can be honed and brought together."
But DeRozan, cut him some slack, is a 19-year-old from the hard streets of Compton who, in Colangelo’s opinion, has "got a chance to be special." He first dunked as a sixth-grader. He dunked over Kobe Bryant at Bryant’s skills academy in the summer before his one-year stint at the USC. He was a prodigious enough talent that it’s been said that USC used two scholarships to get him for a season – one for DeRozan, and another for DeRozan’s long-time friend Romeo Miller. Romeo, a chart-topping child rapper (and sub-mediocre college point guard) is the son of Percy Miller, the former Raptors training-camp prospect better known as the rapper Master P, who coached a club on which Romeo and DeRozan, apparently a package deal, were teammates.
They hope last night’s selection of DeMar DeRozan out of the University of Southern California will upgrade the team’s athleticism.
And if there are those who longed for Colangelo to tear it all up and build from scratch after slipping from 47 to 41 to 33 wins in the past three seasons, easier said than done.
The Raptors weren’t flooded with offers – at least reasonable ones – for Bosh. Trading Bargnani now that he’s showing signs of blossoming seems unlikely. That pair’s volume-shooting ways mean Marion is a good fit alongside them, and a shrinking market means the three years and $21-million (U.S.) the team has budgeted to pay him might just get it done.
Hitting singles may not be the most exciting way to go while big names are flipped like trading cards. Will Colangelo be able to resist taking a rip for the fences?
Triano anticipated that the Raptors got a player who can be plugged into their rotation next season and possibly even the starting lineup.
“Absolutely,” Triano said when asked if DeRozan was projected to play right away. “He’s got a lot of potential and I don’t know if you can find that potential sitting on the bench and playing restricted minutes every night. We have to find ways to get minutes, whether that means starting him early and having him play the first part of the first and third quarters and have him earn minutes that way, or if it’s coming off the bench in relief, we’ve got to find some minutes for him.”
Although DeRozan almost certainly will not be ready to make a huge impact by November, he is some immediate insurance at a position of need. Shawn Marion and Anthony Parker are both unrestricted free agents, putting the Raptors’ situation at swingman in flux.
If both of those players, particularly Marion, leave, DeRozan allows the Raptors to perhaps address the position temporarily as opposed to making an expensive, long-term commitment to another free agent.
Triano said DeRozan would "absolutely" get regular minutes in his rookie season.
"To have a piece where you can look at that void at the 2-3 spot with DeMar DeRozan there now, it’s encouraging, especially because we’ve talked so much about the lack of athleticism on this team," Colangelo added.
He will end up sucking. Toronto’s draft history is littered with horrible picks (Rafael Araujo anyone?). Being drafted by the Raptors is a ticket to professional mediocrity. Sorry Demar…
The Raptors are sorely in need of a quality wingman. Anybody who has been watching the Raptors can tell you that. Anthony Parker’s good, but he’s getting old and there’s a chance he may opt to test the free agency waters. The next best wing player? Joey Graham. Yeah, the Raptors needed this. Though still raw, DeRozan brings with him an explosive athleticism that doesn’t come around very often. He finishes strong above the rim, and looks ridiculously good while doing it. No, he isn’t the second coming of Vince Carter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if DeRozan developed into a Jason Richardson-esque player (like I said, not the greatest draft ever).
USC forward DeMar DeRozan could not complain Thursday night after the Toronto Raptors selected him ninth overall in the NBA draft.
And he even knew he will need a good accountant to guide him through the tough Canadian tax system.
"Definitely, I’ve got to save all the receipts," DeRozan said. "That’s one thing I’m going to do."
Otherwise it was a near-perfect night for DeRozan, who spent just one season with the Trojans, and became a top-10 pick despite critics who said he did not always live up to the hype that accompanied him from high school.
We’ll let you know when he signs his deal, officially finishing off his journey to a dream that so many young players have, and so few see realized. And for those of us left in Long Beach, and Compton, we’ll have the joy of rooting for him as he travels down the (hopefully long) path of his career. And we’ll of course be left with the memory of that night in the Lakewood gym, when we watched a 17-year old kid pass the ball to himself off the backboard, and dunk it.
"He is a very talented player and he has a chance to be special," Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said of the 6-foot-7 DeRozan. "Now it is about us putting him in an environment where he can succeed.
"The athleticism that he displays is spectacular at times and I think, if he applies himself the right way — works on his game, the coaches hone his skills — there is a chance to get something special."
DeRozan, who grew up in Los Angeles, turned pro partly because his mother is struggling with lupus. He showed his potential by being the most valuable player in the Pac-10 tournament.
#9 Toronto – DeMar DeRozan, G, USC – I was wrong about O.J. Mayo, and so I’m hesitant to rule out DeMar DeRozan as an impact player in the association. Toronto has quietly made some of the better decisions in regards to personnel in the Eastern conference, and I trust their judgment on DeRozan. Had the age limit not existed, it was very likely that DeMar would’ve been a Top 5 player in 2008, based on his high school performance. His stock slipped a bit as he struggled to hit his stride at USC, but you could see flashes of greatness throughout. I’m not sold on him as a big-time scorer, but if he can bulk up and get in the lane, he might do some damage. Result: Just right
The outlook seems equally rosy for DeRozan, who might have gotten a hint about Toronto’s intentions earlier in the day, when he saw Raptors forward Chris Bosh in the hotel lobby.
"I think he knew something but he didn’t want to give it away," DeRozan said.
Now comes a relocation to a city that appears to suit him just fine.
"You know," he said, "I think I can fit in great."
Toronto: Picking ninth overall, the Raptors made an interesting selection in taking DeMar DeRozan of Southern California, a first-team Pac-10 All-Freshman in his only season of college basketball. Despite exceptional athleticism and ability to guard multiple positions, the 6-7, 220-pound forward remains a bit of a gamble.
9. Toronto: DeMar DeRozan, G/F, USC — A fortunate pick for the Raptors, who badly needed an upgrade on the wing, particularly athletically. He’s a project, but has the type of game-changing dexterity that can make him a force on both ends of the floor. He’s not someone who sits around and watches, constantly trying to be around the ball and make a play. That type of effort will allow him to get by until the game slows down for him and he becomes a major asset.
For the second year in a row, a one-and-done player from USC went in the top 10 of the NBA draft. Whether that’s good for the program remains a hotly debated topic.
It wasn’t exactly at the forefront of DeMar DeRozan’s mind Thursday night when he followed O.J. Mayo’s lead into the lottery. DeRozan went to the Toronto Raptors with the ninth selection, a year after Mayo went No. 3. DeRozan had his eye on the future.
“Toronto, here I come,” he said on his Twitter page. “Air Canada’s back.”
9 – Toronto Raptors – DeMar DeRozan: The Toronto Raptors’ two key free agents this summer are Anthony Parker, their starting shooting guard, and Shawn Marion, their starting small forward. Drafting USC swingman DeMar DeRozan allows Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo to be a little more careful with how much money he spends to bring those two guys back.
TAXING SITUATION: Demar DeRozan was selected by the Toronto Raptors and he was asked if his agent was happy with that selection considering the onerous tax system in Canada.
"He’s glad for me to go a team like this, I think this was one of the best situations for me," the Southern California freshman said. "We are figuring out about the tax system, so right now I am just enjoying this. I’ve got to save all the receipts, that’s one thing I’m going to do."
#9] TORONTO RAPTORS –
DEMAR DEROZAN | SOUTHERN CAL
GUARD – FORWARD – 6-6 210
We’ve been hearing about how Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo had zeroed in on DeRozan of the past few weeks, so this comes as no surprise. Based on John Hollinger’s rating system, we soured on DeRozan as a prospect, but he does have a huge amount of upside if he can get the proper coaching. He has freakish athleticism and a knack for finishing at the rim, which should make him a fan favorite early on.
Toronto Raptors: B
Selections: Demar DeRozan (No. 9)
Comments: DeRozan needs to get stronger but has the potential to be a real NBA scorer because of his athleticism. Raptors are going head first into free agent market, hoping to make a run at several guys, including Hedo Turkoglu.
#9 – Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan-SG: USC
Analysis: The kid can light it up which is what the Raptors need desperately at the two spot. Whether in the starting line-up or as a sixth man this young man will be a keeper! Grade: A
USC forward DeMar DeRozan on getting drafted by Toronto.
“You know, I think I can fit in great,” DeRozan said. “I can bring a lot to the team on both ends. Probably be defense and offense, that’s my thing I try to bring and just get the team going again. Just try to do the little things that need to be done.
“I’m going to go and give my all on both ends, go out there and try to win every game and never slack a bit. You know you might be able to have a chance to come in and try to make an impact and that’s one of my main goals is try to get us to that point where we make the playoffs.”
Invited by José Manuel, Chris Bosh arrived this morning at Barcelona, where together with some members of his family, will be visiting the city for a couple of days. After, Chris will travel to Caceres to share a few days in the city of Extremadura with José Manuel and with the boys and girls from all over Spain to participate in the III Campus Calderón, which is sponsored by Marca Extremadura.
The GM of the Raptors speaks to The FAN’s Eric Smith and other members of the press following the team’s selection of Demar DeRozan out of the University of Southern California with the ninth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft.
The bench boss of the Raptors speaks to The FAN’s Eric Smith and other members of the press following the team’s selection of Demar DeRozan out of the University of Southern California with the ninth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft.
So that was it welcome to Air Canada Flight 2. As much as people may still hate the old Vince that is heading back to Orlando. Vince in the early days was jaw dropping and amazing. DeRozan has a lot to live up to if he hopes to match what Vince did. But Toronto has a new 19 year old rock star and for now there is just happy feelings in Raptorland. Demar has the raw skills that maybe he can be V.C like. But even if he gets anywhere close it will be the closest thing to V.C we have seen since he left. However I am thinking that being a kid in Compton California and making it all the way to USC is a tough trip. To The NBA even tougher. So if you were to bet against him it likely would not be the first time it has happened I would imagine.
Well most mock drafts had DeRozan headed to Toronto and they were right. Most of the hype about DeRozan is that he has the most "upside" from all of the players in the draft and we’ll see if this holds true. Colangelo has a knack for picking up good #9 picks and let’s just hope DeRozan pans out for the Raps.
- The Big Winners and Losers of the Draft
- Morning Coffee – June 27