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Old 01-03-2011, 04:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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Default Chisholm: DeMar DeRozan finally showing signs of life

Jay Triano's insistence that the ball find DeRozan and that he makes plays with it. Too often he'd been giving control of the offense to Barbosa or a two-man game between Johnson and Calderon, leaving DeRozan as a passive observer. Prior to last week, DeRozan had only taken 13 or more shots seven times in his career. Seven. The former ninth-overall pick and purported future of the team on the wing had only seven times taken 13 or more shots. By comparison, Terrence Williams, taken two spots after DeRozan, has twenty-two games with 13 or more shots, and he's played in 21 fewer games than DeRozan has.
That is why the most impressive game of the week was not the 37-point outburst, but the 27-point follow-up on Sunday. Just about any NBA wing player can simply get hot and ride momentum to one huge scoring game. However, what do they do the next game? What do they do when they are in a different building, against a different defence, with their momentum gone and a different officiating crew? When DeRozan returned to Toronto after back-to-back 20-plus-point games against Orlando and Miami in November, he strung together a series of unremarkable follow-ups. People thought that maybe he'd had a breakthrough, only to see him fall back into old, passive patterns days later. On Sunday though, DeRozan stayed aggressive at home, took a season-high 25 shots, shook off the bevy of non-calls he felt went against him and poured-in what would have been a career-high had he not scored those 37 two nights earlier. Some argue that needing 25 shots to get 27 points devalues the effort, or that his five turnovers and the fact he was blocked three times says more about where he's at than his point total.
That would be an erroneous conclusion.

At this point in his career, the Raptors need to see DeRozan in attack mode more than anything, even if that means taking 25 shots to get 27 points. His willingness to take 25 shots is a greater sign of growth for him than his ability to drop 37 points. The Raptors need to see him willing to go out trying to apply what he's been practicing in real-game situations, and often that means taking shots. That's how you improve. Practice a move, try it in a game, see how you can refine the move with practice, try the refined move in a game, etc. If you don't try what you're practicing in games, why practice them at all? If DeRozan picks up charges trying those moves out, great! That means that you can now work on making those moves more efficient by figuring out the counter to a man stepping in front of him. If he gets blocked trying to get to the basket, fantastic! That means the coaching staff can show him what his tendency is and what kind of alterations can make the move more effective. Maybe he needs to re-direct the shot in mid-air. Maybe he needs to go into the body of the shot-blocker to take away his angle. Maybe he needs to lay the ball off to a cutter after attracting the defensive attention. Either way, he and the coaches will only learn how to improve those aspects of his game if he's constantly working on them on the court.
He needs to show that he can string more than four positive outings together. He needs to show that he can stay aggressive when Bargnani returns, and then the coaching staff needs to figure out how to mesh both of their games to be more effective. However, last week showed a glimpse of the kind of player DeRozan can be: a slashing guard that keeps defences honest with an easy mid-range jump shot. That helps to figure out how to prioritize what he works on, namely, his first step and evasive moves around the basket. He needs an effective hop-step, he badly needs a Euro-step and Kobe's turnaround jumper would be killer especially if he can use some of his elevation to see over his defender. All of a sudden the need for a three-point shot looks less desperate and would be better found with a companion wing player that hits from outside at a high percentage (in other words, not Kleiza), so that DeRozan is kept operating in areas of the floor where he's most effective.
Source: Chisholm: DeMar DeRozan finally showing signs of life
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