Toronto Raptors’ guard DeMar DeRozan becoming a pleasant surprise on defence | National Post

“His defence has been a surprise,” Casey said of DeRozan. “His defence has been a surprise with the way he’s stepped up, been in the right place, his stunts, his slides. His close-outs have been sharp.” Again, it is either speculation or spin until the season starts. But, it is an interesting phenomenon. Generally, it is assumed that if a swingman is athletic and works hard, he will become a good defender. DeRozan, undeniably, is both. Yet, the Raptors are still waiting for him to become reliable on the other end entering his fifth season.

Raptors: Improved DeRozan impresses in double-OT win over Knicks: Kelly | Toronto Star

“Some young guys who are talented never had to play defence in college because the coaches don’t want them to get in foul trouble. They need them on the court,” Casey said. “At this level, every night you’re lining up against another hired gun who can play — especially at (DeRozan’s) position (the 2/3). . . . If you want to stay on the court, you have to learn how to defend.” There is always the tendency in this and every other sport to drift. Then one day, the right sort of player realizes that he’s going to start, he’s going to be rich, but he may never be great. And he changes. DeRozan changed.

More Pre-season Thoughts: Raptors Outlast Knicks In Double-OT | RaptorBlog

Ross was the late game star for the Raptors and finished with a hyper-efficient 27 points on 15 field goal attempts, thanks to nine free throw attempts and a ridiculous 13 three-point attempts, of which he made six (including the aforementioned overtime buzzer-beater). While the numbers are grossly inflated and skewed in an oh-so-preseason kind of way, Ross had the right approach to offence in this one, mixing up a combination of drives to draw fouls and a plethora of threes, with little to nothing in between. The sophomore also showed off an improved handle, but before you get too excited, remember that Ross has been prone to ups and downs.

Raptors edge Knicks 123-120 in double OT | Toronto Sun

“No question,” Casey said before DeRozan’s latest standout game. “He’s a family man and all that starts to come into play as you grow and mature. That’s why it’s so hard when people talk about: ‘This guy’s going to come in and take over the league.’ No, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a four year process, a five year process … It’s really good to see.”

Blog Archive » Preseason Recap: ‘Ptors 123, Knicks 120 (15 Overtimes) | KnickerBlogger.Net

Toronto’s gaggle of long, athletic wings gave the Knicks fits the night long; abusing them on turn-arounds and spins like a ballet review, and canning timely threes — contested and wide open alike — when it counted. Hardaway Jr. in particular got barbecued in isolation, the result — SURPRISE! — of undiscerning switches, especially early on.

Preseason Final Score: Raptors 123, Knicks 120 (2OT) | Posting and Toasting

Hey, that was an unusually exciting preseason game! The Raptors made a li’l comeback to push the Knicks to overtime, then the Knicks made a comeback in overtime, then Terrence Ross hit a three to send it to a second overtime, then the Raptors won in the second overtime.

Ross leads Raptors to 123-120 win in a double OT preseason thriller | Raptors Watch

“The main thing he (coach Casey) was focused on was defence. He made sure we were going hard all game. There are great players in the league and those players are going to make shots but the biggest thing is to be in the best position defensively,” says Acy.

  • Milesboyer

    Take away from last night’s game: Bryan Colangelo maybe isn’t as stupid as some think with Derozan’s contract looking more and more reasonable by the game. The starting five is solid, the bench isn’t, so I sure hope Casey doesn’t do a platoon subbing pattern in the regular season. He’s going to have find a way to stagger the units and he better practice that over the last two games. T. Ross might turn into a useful player after all, it just might take another year of seasoning. Julyan Stone is to me, the clear cut best choice at backup point guard. He’s just steady and unselfish, gets into the offence quickly, plays d. It makes me wonder that if he had passed that physical and signed with the team earlier in the summer before Buycks, there wouldn’t even be a debate. Not like Augustine and Buycks are costing the Raps a lot of $ but sometimes where you are on the perceived depth chart plays more of a role than it should. Hopefully this isn’t the case with Stone.

    • johng_3

      When you think of Derozan’s contract, you could kind of compare the situation to Mike Conley. When management paid him before the season and everyone thought he was overpaid, Conley stepped up his game and now everyone thinks that he is worth everyone penny. Maybe this is Derozan’s season to prove himself and show that he is worth about 10 million a year.

    • GLF

      Yea I REALLY think Julyan Stone should be the backup point guard and I think Casey knows it too. I just don’t think he’ll do it because of the whole Augustine being the veteran so he ‘should’ be the backup. But not only does Julyan Stone run the team and play defense better than Augustine he also makes Terrence Ross play better for some reason.

    • Statement

      “Bryan Colangelo maybe isn’t as stupid as some think ”
      I’m with you on the starting five comment – but seriously.
      The raptors rank SIXTH in the league in payroll at $74 million going into this year. Last year with Rudy Gay on the team, they finished around .500. I would say that in terms of wins / dollar spent, Colangelo is amongst the worst, and really, what other criteria is there for fans to evaluate a GM?
      salary data is found on hoopshype

      • ItsAboutFun

        His comment was specifically directed at the DD extension that so many (almost everybody) dissed as stupid, not Rudy Gay, not last year’s record, not team payroll. The many other topics of discussion towards BC’s wisdom, or lack of, have been beaten to death, so how about responding to the topic, DeMar, that the poster raised?

        • Statement

          I read that as him pointing out Demar’s contract as evidence that he isn’t as stupid as people think.
          I don’t think Colangelo is stupid at all, but I was pointing to the evidence that he wasn’t very good at his job.
          So far so good with Demar in the preseason. I really like that he is taking shots close to the basket. He also appears to have new moves to free himself up for shots once he posts up. I’ll be happy if he continues these trends into the season. Of course, the usual “it’s only preseason” caveats apply.
          I don’t know how to evaluate defense outside of some of the advanced metrics that are used. These advanced metrics all paint Demar as a poor defender. If he can lift his level of defense to average, then the starting unit will be made of plays that are either already good 2-way players, or have the potential to be.

  • leftovercrack

    It was a gamble by BC overpaying for Demar on the hopes that he would grow into his contract. Demar might just do it, so the signing will turn out well, but let’s wait for a few regular season games before declaring the new Derozan a star. He has looked better in preseason

  • leftovercrack

    This one from Grantland, one of their predictions for 2013:

    13.Toronto Will Shop, and Perhaps Trade, DeMar DeRozan

    Anything is possible with the Raptors. They have the talent to win one of the last two or three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, and they have the flexibility to blow the whole thing up if Masai Ujiri determines that is the best course. The “blow-it-up” talk will focus on Gay and Kyle Lowry; Gay’s contract is enormous, with only a player option after this season, and Lowry’s is an affordable expiring deal.

    But don’t overlook DeRozan. He has four seasons left on his contract, at $9.5 million a pop, and he has never put up a league-average player efficiency rating (though he was within half a point last season). He’s just 24 and he’s getting better; teams are curious, and his contract isn’t big enough to be a deal-killer. Keep an eye on DeRozan.