I see Demar constantly improving in all areas ... he knows his weaknesses and if he's seeking out assistance from one of the best one-on-one defenders in league history, I'll consider that another positive step.
I'm not ready to give up on him just yet ... quality guy on a not so quality team. Tony Allen or Thabo do not make the Raps a winner. So I guess you're right ... jury's out, but they're leaning towards acquittal.
I don't think anyone is complaining about DeRozan's work ethic.
It's just that the results leave a lot to be desired. I see a lot of people praising his "improvements". But he went from "completely awful" to "mediocre". Yeah he's improved, but he's still well below what he need to be.
IMO, DeRozan needs to significantly improve his shooting (both mid-range and 3-point), ball-handling, rebounding, defence....and most importantly, his consistency. 34 points is nice, but when you follow it up just 42 total points over your next 3 games, that's big a problem. Teams cannot rely on players who don't perform the same way night in night out.
Inconsistency is the issue.
If DeMar was consistent I would give him my Raptor heart.
It is very difficult not to be impressed by the article.
Work ethic and desire plus the commitment to see it through are rare attributes especially once (with proper management) money is set for life.
even the great MJ needed ball handlers and shooters
Having said that, the best improvement in DeMar's game to me has been his willingness to mix it up in the post. He's got a strength advantage, and a leaping advantage against a lot of opposing SGs. I just wish he spent more time down there, instead of settling for the dreaded long twos (i.e. the lazy player's best friend).
on the bright side, developing that aspect of his game isn't out of the question... it just isn't there right now.. so right now, he's redundant
one thing i've noticed... and mind you, this may be absolutely fabricated in my own head... as i have no intention of looking at box scores to confirm anything... just stating my own observation, which i'll admit may be wrong...
when Gay is having an off game... Demar also has an off game... because they play the same offensive game against the same defense... they complement each other horribly... that's not to say they aren't both top notch players, they are... but they're two left feet
If the Raptors had more movement in their offense I don't think Gay and DeRozan are redundant.... ideal? No. But not redundant.
Getting the ball moving shifting the defense and creates openings.
Right now slashers have a hard time slashing because the offense doesn't allow lanes to open.
The ISO plays end up being forced shots because the D can pack the key.
It is not that simple but it is part of the problem.
I hate offense that is JUMP SHOT. JUMP SHOT. JUMP SHOT. JUMP SHOT. Great when they fall but when they don't welcome to 5-8 minute field goal scoring droughts.
Work ethic is important, vital even, but is not enough on its own. At this point in his career, DeRozan's skills are far below expectations, especially for a starter who's going to be paid $9.5M next season and gets the hype that he does. So he's a gym rat. So he claims to love Toronto. He's still an overpaid, one-dimensional inefficient scorer who disappears completely for games at at time. He's a horrendous 3pt shooter, can't dribble-penetrate effectively and is a below average defender. His work ethic and love for Toronto is the only thing shielding him from the same "hate" that has been directed at Bargnani for years. At the end of the day, he's just not a great player.
In case it isn't obvious, the reason for criticizing DeRozan despite his great work ethic is his salary. Now I'm sure someone will say now wait a minute, that's Colangelo's fault! Sure, but at the end of the day DeRozan has to earn that contract somehow and you can't just ignore it.
I truly admire DeRozan's desire to get better. Imagine if Bargnani had that level of commitment! But when you look at how much he is going to make, no matter how much he improves his game, he is not going to turn into a $9.5M player next season. He's just not there yet and it's not going to happen overnight.
Ideally if Colangelo had given him what he was actually worth, for example ($6M, $8M, $9M, $10M), then you wouldn't hear so many complaints about his game until maybe the 3rd year and that would depend on how much he's improved by then. Here's all the starting shooting guards in the NBA ranked by 2013-2014 pay.. I've included some bench players where they are getting more minutes than the starter. No matter how hard he works and how great of an attitude he has, you can't sit there and tell me you think DeMar DeRozan is a top 10 SG:
Kobe Bryant ($30.4M)
Joe Johnson ($21.5M)
Dwyane Wade ($18.6M)
Andre Iguodala ($16.2M)
Eric Gordon ($14.2M)
Danny Granger ($14.0M)
James Harden ($13.7M)
Ben Gordon ($13.2M)
Monta Ellis ($11.0M)
DeMar DeRozan ($9.5M)
Rodney Stuckey ($8.5M)
Marcus Thornton ($8.0M)
George Hill ($8.0M)
Aaron Afflalo ($7.8M)
John Salmons ($7.6M)
Wesley Matthews ($6.9M)
Jamal Crawford ($5.3M)
Courtney Lee ($5.2M)
Luke Ridnour ($4.3M)
Bradley Beal ($4.3M)
Jared Dudley ($4.3M)
OJ Mayo ($4.2M)
Thabo Sefolosha ($3.9M)
Dion Waiters ($3.9M)
Danny Green ($3.7M)
JR Smith ($2.9M)
Brandon Knight ($2.8M)
Atlanta SG, aka revolving door (~$2.5M)
Klay Thompson ($2.3M)
Tony Allen (no contract)
Randy Foye (no contract)
Nick Young (no contract)
Gerald Henderson (no contract)
Marco Belinelli (no contract)
Tyreke Evans (no contract)
Contensted Jump Shot after contested Jump Shop withiout any ball movement is what drives me nuts. I thin we are on the same page here... just felt like clarifying.
As for DD's contract, yeah... it does put the player at a position when he needs to prove every night he's worth it. And to do that Demar needs to accomplish two things ppl have pointed out here: a. become consistent b. improve. Time will tell. I said in the beginning of the season this contract extension is crazy, then I saw a stretch of games and changed my mind to "maybe". Very curious to see what DD brings next season. I do not thing anybody's trading him/for him in the next few months anyways...
Well lets put it this way Bargnani got that extension just because DeRozan is earning it and working hard to earn it, In 4 years DeRozan is much more important to the team and has provided more to Toronto than Bargnani ever has in 7.
I also don't think either Bargnani or DeRozan are/were as important to the team's long-term success as management would make it seem to be. Fans buy into the hype churned out by the franchise's marketing engine, which is then lapped up by the media and spewed out as fact or truth. Both are role players who aren't good enough to be anything more than the team's #3/#4 scoring option. Given the fact that Gay is the team's cornerstone for at least the next few seasons, the team can't afford to have any more inefficient volume scorers on the roster (let alone starting), especially when their defense and peripherals are all below average (and don't forget their significant salary hits).