DeRozan has been VERY impressive over the past 2 games. If I have to nitpick, I'd say his man-defense is still somewhat below average, but he's hitting his shots (and taking good shots), playing aggressively in the post, and getting his hands in the passing lanes and deflecting passes. He's even getting in on the boards, which is more than we can say about our Italian friend....
Really like what I saw over the weekend. If DeRozan keeps up this pace, the $38 million is money well spent.
I debated putting this in one of the other threads that seem to debate whether he is worth the new contract figures or whether he forms a top 10 back-court, but in the end, I wanted to focus on Demar's performances so far, and not in the context of money or ranking guard-duo's around the league.
What I (we?) knew about Demar before this season was:
- great athlete
- excellent at getting to and making free throws
- raw defensively (still)
- no outside shot
- pressed into #1 scorer-role last season
What I (we?) wanted to see from Demar this season:
- more efficient scorer (increase FG%)
- more range on jump shot
- better defence
So far I have seen Demar demonstrate 2 of the 3 things I wanted to see this season.
Demar seems to be playing better defence. He is using his speed and athleticism to getting into the passing lanes, which is giving him steals and deflections. While he isn't a lock-down defender, he certainly seems to be an active defender who is improving. Demar is still very young (23 yrs old, 4th season after 1 and done at USC) and lock-down defenders a very rare without lots of experience. So to say that he should be a lock-down guy because he is an athlete isn't fair. Saying he has the potential is fair, but he needs to learn to use angles, positioning, and rotations properly to become that guy. Once he gets the knowledge down, then the athleticism can propell him. Casey has the knowledge and if Demar is willing to learn, then I see no reason he can't get there.
Demar seems to be more efficient than last season, primarily because he is posting up more. I love this addition to his game. At 6'7", he will match-up against a lot of smaller guards (how many SG's are taller than 6'4" these days?). An athletic wing who can post up and is a very good free throw shooter, that is an efficient offensive game. So even if he hasn't proven to be a better 3 point shooter (way to early to tell based on the numbers), the fact that he can be an efficient scorer for the team, while increasing his point totals, rebounds, and steals all while playing fewer minutes is a GREAT sign for the future.
Before this season began, I was down on Demar. I wasn't sure he could develop the outside shot quickly enough for the team to keep him (another 2 or 3 years of developing was my expectation), so the fact that Demar has found another way of being an efficient scorer has me very excited about his prospects this season.
Here are his stat lines from this season and the 2 years prior. Last year's 42% FG% could be partially attributed to his pressed role of go-to scorer.
One final note, they always say that the ability to consistently hit in the 15 foot range and free throws is largely transferable into 3 point range. Demar is consistently an 81% free throw shooter, so he shows the signs of developing into a 3 point guy, but it will take time.
MIN FG% 3P% FT% OREB REB AST STL BLK TO Foul PTS
31.3 51.2% 50% 81.3% 1.7 5.0 1.3 1.3 0.3 0.7 2.3 19.0
35.0 42.2% 26.1% 81% 0.6 3.3 2.0 0.8 0.3 2.0 2.6 16.7
34.8 46.7% 9.6% 81.3% 0.9 3.8 1.8 1.0 0.4 1.8 2.6 17.2
Just thought of this yesterday, this could have been DeMar's ROOKIE season had he played four years in college. I know it's fairly irrelevant point, but just something to remember.
Development in a high talent, harder/stronger/faster league has been pretty good If I might say. Development in the league compared to development in college is different.
Tonight will be a tougher and interesting match-up for Demar. His post up game skills will be tested against OKC's bigger guards (Thabo and Martin are both 6'7" I believe), so we'll see if he can still find a way to score efficiently, especially since Barg's is going against Ibaka and can't be counted on for a lot.
I want to see him be aggressive against Martin, I think he has the strength advantage there and could force his way to the line.
He'll likely see a lot more of Thabo though, and that's a tough match up for nearly every wing in the league. The key in that situation is to get DeMar involved within the flow of the offense, be it coming off screens, in transition, or on basket cuts. If the ball sticks to DeMar's hands and he starts going ISO against one of the league's premier defenders, they're in for a long night.
OKC was a game Demar should have tried to take over a little more, especially when Lowry went out. Disappointed.
I like how he has that swagger about him like "gimme that sh!t" and "gtfo Calderon". I'm very impressed with his post game and just the fact that he does not seem to be in such a rush all the time. He knows how to pick his spots and work angles.
I know he put work in on Foye and Hayward, but hey, he saw his advantages down low.
HE SHOULD HAVE SHOT MORE FREE THROWS, SCOTT FOSTER, I AM TALKING TO YOU!
Well, doesn't this just melt your cold, callous heart:
Ryan Wolstat @WolstatSun
DeRozan on his nine rebounds: ". Just trying to do everything, not trying to be one-dimensional player. Just trying to do it all."
Derozan is a champ!
Just watch the defender. Don't let him carry your goods! Ankles are a little weak!