In late 2011, Toronto Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo signed former USC standout DeMar DeRozan to a 4 year/38 Million dollar contract extension to keep the athletic swingman north of the border. Naturally the American media and to a lesser extent the Canadian media questioned the signing. The consensus was that DeRozan is not deserving of such a “Rich” contract.
Colangelo defended his decision and his timing of the signing. In examining games played this season, it appears that DeRozan is living up to expectations
After 35 games, here are some of DeRozan’s numbers:
Points per game: 18.1
Rebounds per game: 4.7
Assists per game: 1.9
Blocks per game: 0.4
Steals per game: 1.2
Free throw percentage: 82.3%
Field goal percentage: 44.2%
3 point field goal percentage: 28.8%
Minutes per game: 37.1
Player Efficiency Rating: 15.1
18.1 ppg leads The Raptors. 37.1 minutes per game show DeMar can be counted on as a workhorse. His work ethic is strong and in his 4 seasons he has not fallen to the injury bug. Most of his numbers are up from last year and are better than his career averages. Not only is DeRozan’s post game becoming more refined also, shaky ball handling & poor decision making is becoming a thing of the past. He is a gym rat and has an overwhelming desire to learn and improve. Evidence to the aforementioned can be seen in his choice of New Years Eve plans….DeRozan spent the evening watching videos of himself playing basketball so he can improve his game.
There is no questioning that he has improved since entering the NBA. He has recognized that all the greats in the league take a lot of time studying tape to enhance their already polished games
“I watch film with the coaches and everything but now I’ve taken it more on myself, “Just listening to older guys — Kobe watches a lot of film — just from the upper echelon players that do more than the average player does, watching film, watching little detail things. Mentally that helps you and that’s something I didn’t understand my first couple of years.
“I pay attention to all my mistakes and try to learn from them more than anything.”
After a loss against the lakers 2 years ago NBA superstar Kobe Bryant had this to say about DeRozan:
“I love DeMar,” Bryant said after the game. “I have known him for a long time, obviously with him coming to my camps and things like that…I think he did a great job. He just needs to continue to work on his game, continue to work on his jumpshot and I think he’ll be fine.”
Most are unaware that DeMar was chosen to play for the Team USA select team to help them prepare for the London Olympics. Most are also unaware that he led the select team in scoring and got rave reviews
DeRozan is far from a finished product and has plenty of upside left. His new “Rich” contract starts next year and his game is evolving. Next year once the money starts flow DeMar will be a better player and will meet all expectations silencing his detractors
(Quotes taken From The Toronto Star & HoopsVibe)