Throughout the NBA playoffs, where we Raptor fans are left to wallow, Raptors Republic brings you the 100 Words Series. Calling on RR writers and other Raptor scribes from around the internet and MSM, we’ll provide the Republic with 100-word takes on players, coaches, management and announcers. Look for these two or three times a week, starting today with DeMar DeRozan and following up tomorrow with Kyle Lowry. The mission I charged the contributors with was simple: you have 100 words (prose, poetry, song, whatever) to discuss said player.
Andrew Thompson, Raptors Republic
There is going to be endless talk this summer and through training camp of DeMar working on his three point shot. That’s fair, because he doesn’t have one. I don’t care. What he must learn is how to see the court and find his teammates as defensives adjust to him. DeMar’s game is slashing to the hoop and bullying smaller guards on the block and in isolation. If he can find the open big or shooter camped in the weak-side corner when help defense rotates to him at the basket, he can be both productive and efficient, without the three.
Blake Murphy, Raptors Republic
I think I’d like DeMar DeRozan. I also think I’d like all the guys I cheer for to work like he works. While his career trajectory leaves some doubt as to his eventual upside, he has shown an ability to make incremental improvements each season. This year, his playmaking and post offense both got much better. This offseason’s area to work on is obvious – the long ball. DeRozan had a career best 28.3% rate from long range, and this team lacks outside threats and spacing in the half court. Get it done, DeMar, and you and Rudy Gay can co-exist.
J.M. Poulard, Raptors Republic
For one stretch during the regular season, DeRozan was the best player on the Raptors. Bargani was injured and Gay hadn’t yet joined the team. The face of the franchise was unquestionably the Raptors’ guard. Even towards the end of the regular season, DeRozan’s potential and his production seemed to intertwine. Can he lead the franchise into a new direction? Truthfully, recent evidence would suggest he cannot. Then again, perhaps his path is the one that matters most. After failing with Bargnani, the franchise might need to see if DeRozan can coexist with Gay and possibly even win a “battle” for undisputed best player status in the hierarchy of the Raptors.
Ryan McNeill, Hoops Addict
It’s tough to expect too much from any 23-year-old player, but DeRozan just finished his fourth NBA season and he still remains an enigma. The positives are he posted a career-high in minutes, scoring, rebounds and assists. Fan should be thrilled, right? Wrong. DeRozan’s shooting percentage were nothing short of a rollercoaster and he still hasn’t developed a consistent shot from the perimeter. Next season he needs to step it up on the defensive end while adding a consistent perimeter shot.
Sam Holako, Raptors Republic
Took a real leap forward this season after signing a massive contract in the summer. Showed maturity and a willingness to adapt to a new teammate (Rudy Gay) who occupies the same space on the floor. Net result: improved on his shooting, playmaking, trips to the line, true shooting, effective field goal percentage, and wins share after posting two-to-three straight seasons of decline in each of those categories. Hopefully he won’t be the price of unloading Bargnani in the offseason, which would be a bitter pill to swallow, but he’s the shooting guard this team needs.
Tim W, Raptors Republic
DeMar DeRozan is the perfect example of a good player on a bad team. He’s average or below average in advanced stats for shooting guards, except for Usage, Defensive Rebounding, NBA Efficiency, and Alternate Player Efficiency Rating. I simply don’t see how he can fit in on a good team. His below average defense is probably a bigger impediment than his lack of three point shooting and after four years it’s unlikely he’ll improve much. It’s too bad because he’s such a hard worker. You wish every player on your team would approach the game the way DeRozan does.
Zarar Siddiqi, Raptors Republic
An increase in TS%, eFG%, WS/48, FG%, and FT% speak to an improving shooter; what plagues him is his inability to contribute when covered by a locked-in defender, which is when the lack of dribble-drive gets exposed. That area that hasn’t seen much improvement since he came in the league and he’s at that age where he is what he is. Let’s see if Colangelo turns the premature extension into an asset, and flips him for someone that isn’t eerily similar to Gay. Right now we’re in danger of expecting things from DeRozan that he may not be ultimately capable of.