The NBA has changed drastically over the past decade or so, with the play style and strategy taking a huge turn. Offensively, it is seen that many teams either shoot a three ball, or drive in for a shorter shot or layup. That being said, there aren’t many players that don’t shoot the three ball much and instead stick to the mid-range, and one of the masters at doing so is 4 time All-Star DeMar DeRozan.
Currently on the Spurs, DeRozan has had pretty spectacular numbers, averaging 21 points on 49% shooting. He shoots 29% from beyond the arc, but only attempts 1 three per game. His field goal percentage i s this high because of how he has stuck to the traditional NBA playstyle. Dominates everything within the three point line. His defenders know what he excels at, but he continues to create new moves that are virtually unstoppable. DeRozan has been in the NBA since 2009, thus experiencing how shooters like Steph Curry and James Harden have revolutionized the way the game is played. However, DeRozan insisted on continuing to improve the way he plays, as that has turned into a huge success.
Multiple reports have stated that DeRozan is expected to view all options this summer via free agency, as the situation he’s currently in won’t give him a championship soon. His sidekick, LaMarcus Aldridge left to join the contender Nets, and the rest of the team are young guys mixed with a few veterans. No true superstars other than him. But, when we look at each contending team, it seems as if they all have a consistent 3 point shooter that can get a bucket when needed. MJ seemed like that last mid range player that was able to carry his team through the playoffs. A team led by DeRozan just wouldn’t have enough consistency to generate pure offense throughout the playoffs. But, how does he still have his Spurs in the playoff hunt?
One word. Pop. Now, it may seem wild to say this, but I think that Pop has incorporated DeMar’s offense into a flow that has sometimes been unstoppable. Now, San Antonio has been through a rough stretch lately, but they aren’t out of the playoffs yet. A couple years back, the 7 seeded Spurs took the 2 seeded Nuggets to seven games, and was almost able to complete one of the biggest upsets in the Playoffs. At the time, the Spurs had more weapons offensively, and were overall a more talented team. Now that the times have changed, DeRozan and Poppovich just keep proving how under-appreciated they are. 0 all stars, and a team that could potentially make the playoffs. Although DeRozan will likely depart from San Antonio this offseason, it would primarily be because he wants to be in a situation in which he can get a ring. Not because of any beef with the Spurs as an organization. So far, we have seen Gregg Poppovich create different schemes around DeRozan where he can work his mid range game and dominate other opponents. They bring a traditional aspect to the game in which many analysts have forgotten. Everyone focuses on the highlight reel 3’s or the airborne dunks, but what DeMar and Pop have down in SA is and, now, will always be under the radar. His mid-range game is something fans shouldn’t take for granted, as DeMar could be one of the last players we see this dominant at what he does.
Let’s take a look at the future for DeRozan. Whether they do or don’t make the playoffs, I think it’s safe to say that DeRozan won’t be playing in South Texas come the 2021-22 season. He’s 31 years old, and has shown that he still has a lot left in his tank. In my opinion, it would be out of his character to join the super super team in Brooklyn, but he would be able to reunite with his former teammate LaMarcus Aldridge if he re-signed. A few teams I could see him ending up with include the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, or maybe even the Philadelphia 76ers. With these teams, the problem is there is a good chance he doesn’t get to play along Kyle Lowry. Lowry would want a starting role, and all the teams that I listed already have a solid starting PG. If he were to go to the Suns, I would instantly label them a Finals contender. We’ve already seen how CP3’s veteran presence has impacted that young core, why not add another veteran that can get quality buckets? The offense would be near unstoppable with both perimeter and mid-range shooters that can hit from anywhere. Same thing for Philly. They would have two solid shooting guards in Seth Curry and DeRozan, where one excels in perimeter shooting and the other can get crafty with his mid-range.
Overall, it goes to show how much of an impact DeRozan has on the game as a whole. He’s one of the players off the top of my head that are elite at constantly being an inside force. Any tier 2 team he joins becomes tier 1 because of the traditional game he plays. Hopefully he brings home a ring by the time he retires, because he really deserves one. From his awkward ending in Toronto to the rebuild stage in San Antonio, the man has been through it all. He fits pretty much every necessity a team needs other than 3 point shooting, which most teams already have. One of the best iso scorers, a quality defender, and of course, the unstoppable mid range. His new contract would be something to bring into question, though. Will we see 21 PPG DeRozan, or would he be less productive on a better team?
Top Photo: Eric Gay- Associated Press