||12-15-2011 10:13 PM
Koreen: DeRozan has star potential
His first task for his third year in the league is obvious, and it fits with head coach Dwane Casey’s team-wide mantra: “Now he’s got to turn that foot speed and quickness around and use it on the [defensive] end,” Casey said.
“But he really has the ability to score. What we’d like to do is post him up some. Like Andrea, we want to move him around and put him on different positions on the floor to take advantage of his athleticism.”
DeRozan averaged 17.2 points per game last year despite a fairly limited repertoire. In his second full season, DeRozan was an average to below-average dribbler and passer. He was not very good at creating offence for himself. And he had a non-existent three-point shot.
So how did he score? He became something of a young Richard Hamilton, coming off screens to take advantage of an increasingly reliable mid-range jumper. His athleticism also put him on the free-throw line, where he hit 88% of his shots from the all-star break on.
It is what he has not done that makes his potential so appetizing.
“He’s been working on his threes,” Casey said. DeRozan has hit just 13% of his 68 career three-point attempts. “He’s got the
green light to take them in the right situation. He’s been working on them. I don’t know if that’s his strength yet. But he’s really been working hard at them and knocking them down in practice. The test will be knocking them down when the popcorn’s popping.”
“I’m way more comfortable with it,” DeRozan said.
Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan has star potential | Sports | National Post
“When I first came in, I just wanted to sit back and listen to all of the older guys,” DeRozan said. “In my second year, I still sat back and listened to everybody. As time goes on and you get the understanding, you get more comfortable by speaking louder and voicing your opinion.”
Wins will have a lot to do with fans in the city embracing him, too. DeRozan muttered, “Playoffs. Playoffs. Simple as that,” when asked what his goal for the season would be. It is a lofty one for a team lacking much pedigree, but it is the attitude the team’s players have to, and should, take.
DeRozan said he does not feel pressure to represent the franchise, only to improve. It is exactly what you would expect him to say, even if it might not reflect reality.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a good pressure,” Casey said. “As a 21-year-old, it should be the best pressure you can have. You have to embrace it and not let it be a burden to you.”
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