DeRozan’s Progress A Bright Spot In Raptors’ Rough Start To Season

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – He had something stuffed in the left nostril to stop a bloody nose. He got a frustration technical in the third quarter. And his team not only lost, again, but also lost to an opponent that came in Wednesday night shooting 43.7 percent from the field (23rd in the league) and then hit the Raptors for 46.3 percent along with 107 points.

These are not easy times for DeMar DeRozan.

But there are clear signs of development in his game, and that’s something, because Toronto needs anything to grab onto in a season already tail-spinning toward the lottery. And because DeRozan has just become an important part of whatever future exists there.

His contract made it so. He got a four-year rookie extension in October, reportedly worth between $38 million to $42 million — one of only seven players from the 2009 draft class to get a new deal before the Oct. 31 deadline. He got it despite never averaging more than 17.2 points or 3.8 rebounds per game in his career. That was the Raptors’ gamble, that DeRozan would take the next step.

Now, the return on the investment has made it so. DeRozan’s early play has not only been one of the few bright spots in the 4-15 false start, but has been an affirmation for the front office at the very time management needs one.

Once a great athlete needing to grow as a basketball player, DeRozan has done as much this season. He is shooting better from the perimeter, rather than trying to outphysical every defender to the hole. He has become a better rebounder, at five per game.

“Confidence and experience,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “He did a great job this summer working on his body, getting physically stronger. With that came a level of confidence that took him to where he’s playing now. He has a tremendous amount of confidence playing in the post. Not only that, but just his overall game is a confident game. I think that is just through experience and getting his body physically ready for an NBA season.”

The next step, now that defenses will be coming at him harder than ever, is to handle the new pressure, for DoRozan to improve as a passer as opponents work to get the ball out of his hands. But this is a good start at 18.2 points a game after the 107-100 loss to the Kings at Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday, one of the few early positives for the Raptors. This is one of his good times.


  1. johhhnybpyy says:

    The Raptors will never go anywhere south of the border. OH CANADA! They sell out quite frequently, I should know I work at the ACC and I’ll tell you one thing, the tickets are affordable so people still show up.

    even though the Raptors score less than soccer teams… and have almost as many euro players as a soccer team would….

    Colangelo should be banished to Italy along with Mike D’antoni….

  2. Peter says:

    No, they are bad.

  3. Raptors says:

    Are you kidding me?! DeMar likes playing for the Raptors, why should he leave, heck why should they move the franchise to Seattle. You probably just live there and you want a team? Well if Seattle wants a team then they should make a NEW team, not steal one. If anything there should be more teams in the NBA, the league would be a lot tougher. Last point, the Raps aren’t a bad team they’re just in a slump. Kyle Lowry was the leading scorer for December 5th “34 points”. Nuff said!

  4. Najee says:

    Matter fact, they should just move the Kings to Vegas because there are too many teams in California. No disrespect to the Chris Webber era, but those glory days are long over.

  5. Najee says:

    A good player on a bad team. I seen this scenario before. I still feel that there shouldn’t be a team in Canada. They should bring the Raptors to Seattle and make anotha SuperSonics team. It probably wont make ’em any betta but it makes sense since the Sonics were around for 40 years and have won a championship.

    • showbaba7 Canada says:

      @Najee: Are you kidding me? To move sport from Canada to Seattle. Toronto hockey Maple leafs too never qualified for Playoffs in more than 10years. Do you know what both own by same organization, do you know what they are one of the richest sport in North America. Their tickets are always sold out. That is what matters. I agree with DYJ they need to clear some things in the organization. May be start with the GM.

  6. DYJ says:

    I followed the Raptors since inception 1995…….and I’ve never been so disappointed. I don’t even watch their games now. All I can say is…..they need to clean house in that organization. Anymore euro players and we’ll need to change the name to Raptors FC and enter the MLS!!

  7. caps says:

    He works really hard and it shows