In the video above DeMar DeRozan sits down with Taylor Rooks and talks about various topics. Of note to Raptors fans is how DeMar responds to how he felt about Toronto making the Finals. The narrative among fans was that DeMar was upset or resentful of Toronto making the finals without him. Logically, one can assume why that may be the case. Watching Toronto make it to the Finals by the star you were traded for? That’s inevitably got to hurt. It hurts more, knowing that that star is actually surpassing what you did. DeRozan was the homegrown star who was traded to take the next step. While the move was right at the time, it didn’t hurt any less.
Despite this, DeMar’s outlook in the video is one of self reflection: none of this would have been possible without him, and he is happy to see his guys in the finals. In 2016-2017, DeMar Derozan had an MVP caliber season averaging 27.3 PPG with 3.9 assists and 5.2 rebounds, and leading the Raptors to the 3rd seed in the Eastern conference. People like to compare DeMar DeRozan to Kawhi Leonard, myself included. When talking about the trade, people tend to forget: DeRozan is still pretty good. DeMar was good enough to be traded to acquire Kawhi Leonard. Gregg Popovich obviously saw something in him worth trading for. DeMar isn’t a modern star: he came 1 basketball era too late. But he is still a star: something that is forgotten simply because the player he was traded for was better.
DeMar DeRozan has his flaws as a player. Limited defensive IQ and no 3 point jumper to speak of. But it is his flaws that made him relateable as a human being. DeMar DeRozan brought loyalty. DeMar represented Toronto like no other star. he was outspoken about his love for the city, and didn’t view it as a frigid wasteland. While others left, he stayed and built up the basketball culture. What hurt fans the most, is that he didn’t want to be traded. DeRozan says that he was the sacrificial lamb: perhaps the metaphor works. Toronto has had to sacrifice it’s most loyal star to get where they are at currently. He built up the winning culture in Toronto and allowed the franchise to go from mediocrity to perennial Eastern Conference contenders.
One has to wonder how things would have shaken out without LeBron James and with DeMar. But wondering does nothing: the Raptors are in the Finals, and DeRozan is happy for them. DeRozan was someone who got me into basketball, and it is good to see that he doesn’t resent the team for making it into the Finals. DeRozan is a great player and an even greater man. None of this would have been possible without the kid from Compton. He may not be here with the team, but DeRozan has earned the Raptor “lifer” honorific. Wherever he goes, he will always have a home in Toronto. DeMar DeRozan was the piece that made all of this possible, and one day his jersey will hang up in the rafters of Scotiabank Arena.