I don't think I'm the only one jonesing for some DeMar content, and it's the calm before the storm around, but here's a thread that's intended to be more fun, and reflective, than it is heated. We're going to make predictions, engage in a little thought experimentation, then share.
1) Over/Under for DeMar hitting a PER of 20. - 18.4 was the high for his career before dropping to 17.4 last year, so 20 sounds like a reasonable projection for improvement in a contract season. We all know that PER isn't the grand puba of stats, but it will have to suffice - for scoring-wings I think it does the job.
2) What if he achieves the opposite outcome from your prediction? - For these hypothetical purposes, the one further assumption (you can apply this to your prediction in step 1 if you like) is that his usage comes down from the lofty 28% of the last two years, even if not as much as you/we might like - let's settle on 25%, a 'round' number and somewhat reasonable. How would this change, if at all, how you view DeMar, and how to best utilize him as an asset?
3) Share, elaborate, discuss.
I predict he'll break the PER threshold of 20. He'll have his 3-ball going (31.5%+ here we come). He can utilize his expanded game leveraging a better team around him (assists, steals, rebounds). He's in his prime now and he's (finally) got a team around him to open up the floor and get him better shots (shooting efficiencies). I do see his usage coming down on a better team, the question is how much and how it effects his PER numbers.
If he's under 20, with lower usage, it's not the end of the world if he ups his game in other areas as I expect. However, and this is the case if he's over 20 as well, you do look at trade options. A 19PER DeMar + some of the other goodies is a very solid trade package that could entice the likes of Atlanta. We've got a deep enough team, together with free agency options, to make our top players expendable.
At 18 or 19 with on a lower usage and decent D, I'm still not inclined to actively hope he walks in free agency. For me, it'd still either KD, MAYBE Horford, or try my best to retain DeMar for something reasonable (20 mill might be the threshold you have to set if you're Masai) and keep our rich asset-base (JJ, Ross, Scola, BB, Nando, etc) intact/consolidated through trade - i.e. competing 'above the cap'.
What say you?