I’ll admit, I didn’t think too highly of DeRozan at the start of the season. In fact, I didn’t even think that he would be an all star. (See my All Star predictions in my NBA 2016-17 Preview) But he has proved me wrong in every way thus far. The way he’s playing right now, he’s not only an all star, he is a legitimate MVP candidate. He currently leads the league in scoring with an absurd 35.8 ppg, and that’s 35.8 points on an unreal 55.1% field goal percentage. He’s the first player to have 30+ points in each of his first 5 games since Michael Jordan in 1986-87. I’m not saying DeRozan is MJ, but so far, he’s been at least the best guard in the NBA. So how has DeRozan quickly become so great and increased his stats in leaps and bounds? Well, one simple fact is that he’s just shooting really well. However, his shooting is pretty much all mid-range, not the typical 3s that players base their shooting on today. But his 2s have proved to be much more efficient than any shot in the league. His pull up 18-footer is so good, that defenders should just hope he misses and crash the boards. He elevates so high on his shot, that it becomes impossible to contest it and bother him at all. And he’s added a little more to his game outside of the pull-up. He’s started to attack the basket more and with better touch around the rim. Another way he racks up points is with his free throws, where he averages 9 attempts per game and makes 84.4% of them. Outside of his sensational scoring, he’s averaging 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.0 steals. Not jaw-dropping stats, but still acceptable considering the amount of points he’s putting up each night. Now how does this affect his team, the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors made the ECF last year after finishing second in the regular season, but they stumbled through the first two rounds, with most of their struggles being due to the lackluster performance by DeRozan. In fact, many had already put Boston ahead of them as the Cavs’ top competitor in the East. But after the first two weeks, the Raptors are 4-1, and in their one loss they pushed the Cavs harder than any team has thus far. If DeRozan keeps this up, he’ll fully take the face of the franchise role from Lowry, make 1st team all-nba, and turn the Raptors into championship favorites.
Stats and Facts from espn.com: http://www.espn.com/nba/player/_/id/3978/demar-derozan