DeMar DeRozan is never going to win MVP, and that’s okay. He works on his game and continues to get better each year, and it’s not enough for us?
DeRozan's Career NBA Stats:
DeMar DeRozan is an elite offensive player. Not having a three in his arsenal doesn’t change that. Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t have that shot. Do people hammer Giannis for that? No. Now Antetokounmpo is an excellent defender, and DeRozan is a pretty weak one, but that doesn’t change Giannis’ offensive game.
LeBron James who many would say is the best player in the NBA isn’t good from the free throw line. Last year he shot only 67%. Yes, that was a career low for him, but LeBron’s career free throw percentage is only 74%. That’s not horrible, but it becomes significant when you factor in how many trips to the line LeBron gets. If you are building a perfect player in a lab, you want them to shoot better than that. Furthermore, LeBron isn’t the best three-point shooter. His career average from three is 34%. LeBron did a little better last year, but he isn’t the perfect player. Does LeBron get criticized for these things? No. DeRozan isn’t nearly as good as LeBron, but why do we expect him to be the perfect player when LeBron James himself isn’t?
DeRozan on the Defensive
Last year Sports Illustrated disrespected DeRozan by ranking him 46th in their Top 100 NBA Players of 2017. He had a career year. Once again, SI disrespected him with a ranking of 36 in their 2018 version. And what's worse is they ranked Khris Middleton (whose ranking mysteriously increased) ahead of him who is coming off an injury-riddled season. Middleton is a good player, but he’s not a franchise player. Analytically Khris looks like a hidden gem, but he’s only averaged over 15PPG once in his career. If Middleton was asked to score 25 points a night, I have my doubts that his shooting percentages would hold up at that volume. ESPN somehow ranked DeRozan worse and listed him behind Jae Crowder. I got nothing against Jae Crowder. I even drafted him with pick 82 in fantasy league today, but he’s a glorified role player. I believe DeRozan is a top 20 player in the NBA. If he were getting ranked 25th, I would disagree, but I wouldn’t be outraged. To be ranked outside the top 35 by multiple publications is mind-boggling. DeRozan is a three-time all-star and made the ALL-NBA 3rd team last year. I’m not sure especially after a career year why he doesn’t get credit for these accomplishments.
DeRozan is 6’7” which is pretty big for a shooting guard. In theory, if you combine that height with his athletic body DeRozan should be a good defender. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and I’m not sure he ever will be. There haven’t been many flashes of DeRozan playing great defense over his career, so it’s hard to assume he will become one over the summer. Just like it’s hard to believe and expect him to become a good three-point shooter over the summer. DeRozan shot 48% from two last season if you take into account the number of deep twos he takes, that’s a good number. I think there’s a chance DeRozan can improve his mid-range game even further. He’s done it every year, so why can’t he do it again? Hypothetical if DeRozan were to shoot 50% from two and stop taking threes wouldn’t he be an efficient player especially when you factor in free throw percentage? I think so.
DeMar DeRozan isn’t a perfect player. He has his flaws like every player in the NBA. If DeRozan shoots 50% from the field this season and continues to draw fouls, I don’t think anyone will talk about DeRozan needing a three-point shot. And maybe then DeRozan will get the respect he deserves.