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Claudius 12-13-2011 10:07 PM

Raptors future hinges on DeRozan


On Wednesday, after nearly three hours of hard slogging, the coach lavished DeRozan with a flattering point of comparison.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a good pressure. As a 21-year-old, it’s the best pressure you can have,” said Casey. “I remember Gary Payton as a young kid coming in, wet behind the ears, just growing up and maturing. Knowing how to be physical, knowing when to turn it up, knowing when to attack the basket, knowing how to draw fouls. All those things take time.”

As luxuries go, time is something the Raptors have a limited supply of. Management has already effectively written off this season. Next season?

“It’s a process that takes time,” Casey said of DeRozan’s journey toward truly elite status. “That’s why you preach patience. It’s hard for me to do that because my sense of urgency is there. I’ve got to push him the other way.”

The results of that push/pull will, in large part, define the season. The object of all this attention is already breezy with the blandishments.

How will you define success this year?

“Playoffs. Simple as that,” DeRozan said. Just behind him, a wormhole into an alternate reality began to open up. Everyone on hand waited patiently for a wink that never came.

“Honestly, there’s no pressure (to live up to his new star status),” DeRozan said, shrugging. “If you’re up for challenges, then it should be nothing.”

Maybe it should be, but it isn’t.

As good as the Raptors hope to be in the future depends on the strides at least one of them takes in the here-and-now.
Kelly: Raptor future hinges on DeRozan?s presence - thestar.com

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