Despite not playing in Friday’s exhibition game against Puerto Rico, DeRozan survived the final round of cuts.

It’s late, so this post will be short. Toronto’s very own DeMar DeRozan has indeed made Team USA. DeRozan joins Jonas Valanciunas as the only members of the Toronto Raptors participating in the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Spain.

For all the hand-wringing about DeRozan’s lack three-point shooting or defensive prowess, USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski must have seen things differently. At the start of training camp in Las Vegas, it was expected that Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant and Paul George would factor into the team’s plans. Therefore, players like Kyle Korver and Chandler Parsons — those with skills befitting of a role player — were valued. DeRozan only appeared in one of three exhibition games, but he impressed in his lone game against the Dominican Republic, posting 13 points (on 6-0f-9 shooting), five rebounds and six assists.

However, with each of Griffin (back injury), Durant (rest), Love (rest) and George (leg injury) withdrawing their candidacies, the value of shot-creation likely increased, making DeRozan’s skillset — ability to play the wing, create in the pick-and-roll, draw fouls — more appealing. It should be noted that Team USA is apparently looking to mostly rely on a eight-man core to shoulder the bulk of minutes, but the tournament leaves little time for rest (Team USA will play five games in six days in the preliminary round), meaning all 12 players should all see the floor at some point.

As an aside, I’d like to use this space to congratulate DeRozan. While I’m breaking the erudite code of being an impartial journalist, I think it’s important to take account of how far DeRozan has come. After seeing him struggle through his first four mostly uninspired seasons, I was among the doubters. Never would I have thought that within a year’s time, DeRozan would qualify for both the All-Star team and Team USA. He certainly still has his flaws, and for long-time watchers of DeRozan like myself, we’ve been conditioned to count his flaws and see him for what he’s not, but in looking back, DeRozan has surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. Lots of players talk the talk about hard work and being committed to improving. DeRozan has actually gone out and done so. Speaking as a fan, that’s the type of attitude and leadership I want on the Raptors. Congrats again, DeMar!

Team USA’s final 12-man roster looks as follows (can you tell they’re worried about Spain?):

rosterCover photo credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

  • noname

    LOLOLOLOL at people on twitter saying that lillard or parsons shoulda made it over him…people were even saying he’s OVERRATED!!! WHAT IN THE BLOODY FUCK?!?!?!?!? He’s gonna prove them wrong….watch.

    • Eunys

      lol Paul George is overrated not Demar Derozan!!!

    • Benjamin

      There’s really no arguing that Demar has played well on the US Team. If anyone should have been cut it’s Plumlee. The team has 5 bigs and Rudy can also play the 4.

      • noname

        true…you could’ve cut plumlee and added lillard.

        • LuckyMystery

          I don’t know, even though Drummond is a center. Plumlee is the only true center they have. Also he is probably there just in case someone gets hurt. They have 6 guards and Gay on the wing.

  • Benjamin

    Demar played against Dominican Republic, not Puerto Rico.

    • DDayLewis

      Word. Thank you.

  • afrocarter

    WOOT WOOT WOOOOOOOOT!! Congrats to DeMar! Hard work pays off!!

  • http://www.playfight.com William C

    So happy for my man Demar! OMG, this is amazing for him, USA, and the Raptors, its a win win win. Derozan has proved us all wrong, not just us fans, but the rest of league. He’s apart of the elite 12, some may say it’s because others opted out, or got injured, but the fact remains he beat out some good plays, and when I say some, I mostly mean Damian Lillard.

    • Moe

      Also Hayward and parsons both make about 5 million more. Demar contract is actually under valued

      • http://www.playfight.com William C

        I don’t think its undervalued, theirs are just over valued.

  • Truth Teller

    Great for Demar, but Im selfish. I wanted him to be motivated and fresh at the beginning of the year.

    • http://www.playfight.com William C

      If he gets injured, we’ll all be kicking ourselves for wanting this, It’s a gamble for next year, for sure, but if he shines in the tournament, the confidence, and the exposure alone will make Toronto a better team, he’s really turning into a really good player. It’s amazing to see his growth.

      • Lucas

        Can you imagine the calls he’ll get if he helps them grab a gold medal?

        I’m extatic that he made it. Guys just seem to come back from playing for Team USA as better players.

        • http://www.playfight.com William C

          Never thought about that, yes the respect from officiating will only improve, it actually wasn’t horrible in general during the nets series, although could have been better.

    • Vin Domenico

      This is much much better for his confidence and a great reward for the work he puts in

  • Chuck Johnson

    Good on Demar! Another few weeks practicing against Rose, Harden, and Klay and being coached by Coach K and Thibs can only pay dividends during the regular season.

    Some kudos should also be given to [Brian] Colangelo, there were a lot of critics when he gave Demar his extension. A lot of people rolled their eyes when Colangelo mentioned Demar’s work ethic and his ability to get better every season as the reason for the long term extension.

    • http://www.playfight.com William C

      True, I think Colangelo made some great moves. But he made a lot of bad moves too. It seemed every time he added a good piece, the complimentary piece was horrible. Ujiri seems to be adding to the team every step, we have yet to see how coboclo will turn out, but he’s definately adding.

  • Mexiballer

    He deserves this. A great leader by example for this team.

  • KJ-B

    DeMar DeRozan bandwagon officially open for loyalists, bandgwagoners and, sigh…ex-bandwagoners!

    LOTS OF ROOM!!! ALL WELCOME #WETHENORTH lol…

  • Feather Ruffler

    Man, I’m so happy for Demar. He’s everything a player representing the Raptors should be; ridiculously HARD working, unselfish, an excellent teammate and a better man. I don’t care if he doesn’t play a single minute at the FIBA tournament, I’m beyond proud of how he represents this team and this city. I don’t think you can quantify what this selection is going to do for his career going forward. GREAT news!!!

  • mountio

    Good for Demar. Looking at those wings … I think he will see a decent amount of floor time. Not to take away from the accomplishment, but isnt it kind of funny that our cast off, who everyone on this board thinks is useless (Rudy) also made the team? I bet if we put a poll on this site of who is a better player, Gay or DD, it polls 99% DD (even with the haters).
    Not sure I have a conclusion, but I guess i would say that if Rudy makes the team, I would sure as hell hope that DD does ..

    • Will

      Didn’t they just add Gay because they needed a slightly larger wing. He wasn’t even on the expanded roster before George went down and Durant pulled out. I hope DeRozan gets more PT than him.

  • Stef

    I’m crazy-happy for him. This is a great thing for him and the Raps. Way to go, DeMar!

  • Yoshi

    Totally thought all the white boys were gonna get cut….3 out of 4. lol

  • leftovercrack

    We are going to have a great backcourt with Lowry and Demar, and the JJ signing gives us some much needed defense/muscle on the wing. Now if JV and TRoss can take another step forward this season we could kick some ass

  • webfeatmm

    Looks like this team only has one (Rudy Gay) prototypical small forward?

  • DC

    Awesome! An all-around class act by DeMar.

  • Andrew

    Demar has a good chance of getting minutes on this team, especially since Derrick Rose was also included. They’ll watch Rose’s minutes especially with pool play being something like 5 games in 6 nights. They’ve been starting Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, and James Harden; leaving DeRozan as the sole primary ball handler coming off the bench other than D-Rose. If you watched the Dominican Republic game, he was bringing the ball up being a playmaker racking up 6 assists. This is a testament to the hard work he has been doing on his handles. Demar is slowly turning himself into a complete player and his impact on the court is being recognized. This will be great for his confidence and he’ll bring a winning attitude into training camp will definitely rub off on the rest of the team.

  • Roarque

    Congrats to Demar – ties up 2014 in a big red bow. His breakout year for sure. Practicing in scrimmage with those other all-stars, wow what an opportunity!

  • ZQ

    Demar looking in great shape! Definitely hasn’t missed any workouts this summer

  • Wayne

    Dear Terrance Ross, You have a great roll model for work ethic in Demar DeRozan. Follow is lead and be the super star that you can be. Good luck and the Raptor Herd is pulling for you!

  • Roarque

    Two of the Raptors’ starters are playing in this international tournament. What other NBA team can say that? The Spurs and…?

    • DDayLewis

      Warriors

  • Louvens Remy

    Now if we can just figure out how to trade DD and TRoss for our canadian saviour down in Minnesota then we are set! #thankyouBC