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The Case for DeMar DeRozan and the All-Star Game

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hi-res-6760980_crop_exactFive years in the league, and DeMar DeRozan has grown into a leader on this Toronto Raptors team hoping to make the playoffs after a 5 year drought. Not only is DeRozan trying to will this team into winning ways, but he’s also making a case to be as a potential All-Star reserve selection. If DeRozan makes the All-Star game, that would make him the first Raptor since Chris Bosh back in the 2009-2010 season.

Along with running mate Kyle Lowry at the back-court, they are having terrific seasons and hoping to get the reserve nods.

There is certainly a case to be made for DeMar to make the Eastern All-Star team. DeRozan is having a career season averaging 21.3 points per game, 3.7 assists per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 1.2 steals per game. He’s also been persistent on getting to the charity stripe where he’s 5.2 out 6.6 attempts a game. His current stats are very similar to some of the better guard/forwards in the game; James Harden (24.3 points, 5.4 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 45% shooting), Paul George (23.3 points, 3.4 assists, 6.2 rebounds, 46.2%), and Arron Afflalo (20.2 points, 3.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 47%) via Yahoo Sports Statistics. In the rankings for guard/forward scoring, he is 3rd behind George and Harden.

DeRozan has become a lot better in nearly every facet of the game since coming into the league as a raw, potential based, one-dimensional player. DeRoan’s game since that time has evolved into being a consistent NBA scorer who can recognized as a more all-around player. Since adding the ability to hit the 3-point shot, the defense is forced to play him all the way out to the perimeter. While 29% from the perimeter still isn’t what would be called a threat, it still turns out to be one of his most consistent areas of shooting. DeRozan hit’s a shot which has been what analytics like to praise on; the corner three, or what Matt Devlin calls, the “Analytical 3!”

CHARTDDLooking at the percentages from this chart, DeMar’s best percentages come specifically from the corner three. That allows more room for him to attack the basket, and it allows guys like Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson to work the inside. Nearly 37% from 3 on the right corner, and about 33% in the left corner has made for some honest defenses.

DeMar’s court-vision and play-making was a major surprise considering the Rudy Gay trade, which had people expecting him to shoot more, and pass less.

DeRozan has actually done the exact opposite. His average assists numbers have jumped to 4.5 per game since the deal, DeRozan’s already had 11 games with +5 assists out of 22 possible games.  DeMar is tied for 9th in the NBA in guard/forwards assists per game via Yahoo Sports, only behind Nic Batum, James Harden, Lance Stephenson, Gordon Hayward, Andre Iguodala, Manu Ginobili, Tyreke Evans, Arron Afflalo, and Evan Turner. All the names mentioned above are known as capable play-makers in the league; that isn’t a bad spot for DD to be in.

In past years, he would try to force shots in the paint, he would fade away from the basket far too often, and thus he would rack up inefficient numbers. This season DeRozan’s offensive awareness is at an all time high, he’s been finding teammates for open shots, putting his teammates in better positions to be successful. 

DeRozanBealDD is also becoming a crafty player.

DeRozan is also one of the best scoring shooting guards in the league. This season, he is second in the NBA in scoring for shooting guards, right behind All-Star James Harden, ahead of Arron Afflalo – who is also having a breakout season – and Dallas Mavericks‘ shooting guard, Monta Ellis.

Some interesting stats to take in: DeMar has finished 37 ‘And-1′ plays’ in 40 games, and the last time he finished that many, was in the 2010-2011 season, where he drew 47. He’s most likely going to pass that mark this season. DeMar has also drawn 185 shooting fouls, and the last time he drew that many was, again, in the 2010-2011 season with 192, where he’ll again most likely pass that mark.

fng103095043_20130414170918Where DeMar has made the most improvement though, has been his defense. He’s finally using his athleticism to his advantage, getting out in passing lanes much more then he used too. He’s become a much better defensive player, on-ball and off-ball. It’s hard to measure on-ball defense statistically, but he’s only allowing 92 points per 100 possessions. Along with his defensive rating, DeRozan is holding his match-ups to a production rate of 13.0, and comparing that to his production rate of 17.8, that is a net of +4.8 via 82games.com.

Looking at some of DeMar’s competition for the reserve nods in the all-star games, he’s fairing well in terms of the positive net production rate. John Wall of the Washington Wizards currently has a net production rate of +5.3, Arron Afflalo has a net of +3.5, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers only has a net of +0.9, and Lance Stephenson has a positive net production rate of +5.4. Now, the all-star reserve choices for the East might be limited due to injuries to Rose, Rondo returning late, Paul Pierce’s age, and just with the overall drop in competition in the East, but that all the more gives DeMar the better chance for February.

There’s no doubt the trade of Rudy Gay took a lot of pressure off DeMar, and with that DD has taken his entire floor game to a whole new level.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Toronto RaptorsIn the 4th quarter and overtime, he’s been struggling mightily as well, shooting a poor 34% and 31% respectively. His three-point percentages are also shockingly low, shooting 12% in the 4th, and 25% in OT.

Great players in the league find ways to be efficient, and if they’re not efficient, they’re able to pick it up defensively, for example, Paul George. Great players are able to be consistent, especially when it comes down to winning games for your team down the stretch. He needs to become a closer before he can be in that ‘great’ category echelon.

Despite having some problems with efficiency and minor composure issues in late game situations, DeMar DeRozan no doubt deserves to be an NBA All-Star this season. He has risen every part of his game to another level, and has been one of the biggest contributors – if not the biggest contributor to a winning team working to get back to the playoffs.

DEMAR DEROZANAfter the Wednesday night comeback against the Dallas Mavericks, DeMar DeRozan might have been able to paste his name in concrete for February, after posting a new career high 40 points on only 22 shots. So far this season, DeMar is only the 14th player to reach the 40 point mark in the game, with Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Steph Curry, Arron Afflalo, Paul George, Chris Paul, former teammate Rudy Gay, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Not bad company, and that list doesn’t include some of the great names, like the current MVP, LeBron James, Portland Trail Blazers power forward, Lamarcus Aldridge, James Harden, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, and John Wall.

DD All-starA marketable player with terrific statistics and improvement across the board, a major contributor for a current playoff team; that’s enough for coaches to say he’s deserving of putting on the all-star jerseys, don’t ya think?


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