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  DeRozan Set To Entertain

Jan. 10, 2010, 5:25 PM

DeMar DeRozan will be coached by Darryl Dawkins at the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk contest and this is like pairing Dr. Oz with Ozzie Osborne.

Dawkins dubbed himself Chocolate Thunder and claimed as his home the little-known  interplanetary burg known as Lovetron. He was a showman whose bit might not play today in what is an increasingly corporate era spiced up by the occasional gun charge or incendiary tweet.

No adjective was safe for the father of the "Get-Out-of-the-Waying, Backboard-Swaying, Game-Delaying, If-You-Ain’t-Grooving-You-Best-Get-Moving Dunk."

DeRozan is just a nice young guy, respectful and forthcoming and it’s almost unfair. Imagine Megan Fox walking into a bar with Kate Middleton.

DeRozan finished second in the Slam Dunk competition last year and the competition is that rarest of things: important.

Winning is a signal of ascendancy. Just ask Dwight Howard, Spud Webb, Nate Robinson and, oh yes, Vince Carter, in 2000.

Seems like a million miles ago, especially with Carter easing into retirement in restful Phoenix.

No Raptors’ name has been teemed with Carter’s. On a number of fronts, it’s a cheesy comparison. It is also irresistible.

Carter was a magnificent talent. Prior to Kobe Bryant and then LeBron James, Carter wasn’t just the most talented player in the NBA, he was the most talented player many NBA players had ever seen.

DeRozan isn’t Vince Carter, which is good and bad.

Carter is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, who could be the best player to enter the Hall without a ring. It’s a pretty distinguished group thanks to the presence of Alex English, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Pete Maravich and Charles Barkley.

It seems a tad early to start weighing DeRozan’s case for the Hall of Fame. He needs to rebound the ball more and his perimeter shooting is embryonic. DeRozan has only converted an astonishingly low two three-pointers in 27 attempts. Put another way, Andrea Bargnani has scored 384 points from behind the arc. DeRozan has six. In his sophomore season, Carter, there’s that name again, bagged 308 points via three-pointers.

Now there are tons of mitigating reasons. Carter was a year older and the presence of Bargnani and Jose Calderon doesn’t leave much room for three-point prayers from DeRozan. But the lack of three-point shots also speaks to a lack of an outside game.  DeRozan is talented enough to create his own shot, but not yet mature enough to hit it.

How soon he grows into those things will determine when the club ends its streak of springtimes without a playoff since 2008. As Dawkins would say, DeRozan needs a ‘Playoff  Making’,  Record Breaking’, Ticket Selling’, Fans a Yelling’, Inside the NBA screening , Jay Triano Beaming’ dunk shot.

Then he has to carry on from there.

  DeRozan Continues Second-Year Surge

Jan. 10, 2010, 5:25 PM

He is getting there.


That is the dawning realization that applies to 21-year-old DeMar DeRozan, once a tenderfoot negotiating his first season around the NBA, then a promising if inconsistent sophomore and now a go-to guy.

DeRozan failed to reach double figures in scoring seven times in November. Since then, he has fallen under 10 points just twice.

So far this month, the six-foot-seven DeRozan has averaged 21 points a night. As if to emphasize he could score without being a premier option, DeRozan clocked 28 points as Andrea Bargnani, just four games back from injury, collected 30 in Sunday’s win over Sacramento.

“In the last two weeks he’s been much more aggressive,” Bargnani said. “When I was out, he stepped up to be the first option and I think that helped him.”

Bargnani said he wasn’t the only beneficiary of DeRozan’s quick development.

“It hasn’t just been good for me,” he said. “It’s been good for everybody. When he goes aggressively to the basket, the defence collapses and it creates opportunities for everyone.”

DeRozan sees a worthy partnership.

“When Andrea gets it going, teams have to concentrate on him. That opens up gaps for me to drive to the basket.”

With a season and a half of experience, DeRozan has found his stride. While lining up against LeBron James in his first game was his welcome to the NBA moment, DeRozan’s minutes were limited to 21 minutes or so per contest in his inaugural year. That amount has swollen to an average of 33 minutes this year.

“When you have a year under your belt, it’s easier,” DeRozan said. “I went into my first year not knowing what to expect. Last year, I hit the rookie wall. This year I came back stronger. I can take the physical play inside.”

Head coach Jay Triano says if you want to understand a maturing player look past the stats sheet and pay attention to defence.

“He’s running into fewer screens and that’s a big thing,” Triano said. “We were looking at his last game and he was fighting through one out of two screens.

“The other thing is energy. When you are playing 35-36 minutes a game, you have to look for breaks, but you can’t do it on the defensive end.”

The scoring increase isn’t hard to notice. Last year, DeRozan finished with 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds. So far this season, 14.8 ppg and 3.4 rebounds a night.

DeRozan said that life as an NBA sophomore beats that of a rookie hands down.

“It really comes down to being a matter of confidence. It’s really fun. I am grateful for everything I get.”