Draft Alert: Demar DeRozan's Stock Rising?

Kyle WilliamsCorrespondent IJune 5, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 13:  Forward DeMar DeRozan #10 of the USC Trojans dunks the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at the Staples Center on March 13, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Demar DeRozan is a player that will grace the NBA draft with his ample amount of potential. DeRozan has ridiculous athletic ability and has already been compared to the likes of Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, and Rudy Gay.

The 6'7" slasher will be drafted clearly because of his driving ability, flashy ball-handling moves, and solidified mid-range jump shot, in addition to the superb upside that this Compton, California native possesses.

After just one year at USC, DeRozan will look to take his game to new heights. Not only did DeRozan average 13.6 points per game at USC, but also allotted career averages of 5.7 rebounds per game, nearly one steal per game, and went 52 percent from the field.

DeRozan managed to do all this alongside fellow draft prospect, Taj Gibson. Gibson and DeRozan led the Trojans to a Pac Ten title last year. 

At the NBA draft combine, DeRozan impressed all spectators with a 38.5 inch vertical leap. This was the second highest leap at the combine behind a 40 inch leap from Syracuse's Jonny Flynn.

DeRozan displayed his incredible ability to slash and keep his balance in traffic, along with showing his substantial skill set.

The 220 pound freshman's first step was exploited when he was inconsistent in both the lane agility drills, and when DeRozan was asked to beat his man off the dribble, as he was not consistently able to.

Even though he was not highly impressive at the combine, DeRozan's stock seems to be rising.

Rumors are circulating that the Oklahoma City Thunder could use the third overall pick on this future star.

"That would be great. It would feel good to be in a lineup like that. Kevin Durant's one of the best players in the league, and that would be an opportunity to help build a program from the ground up," DeRozan told HoopsWorld.

"I think we could put Oklahoma City on the map as a top team in the next few years. Playing with a star player would also really help my career. Playing with someone like Kevin Durant, who's been there and remembers what it takes as a rookie to get where you want to go, that would be great because he just did it. I'd love to play with Kevin and help him build his team up."

Those are bold statements coming from a soon-to-be rookie, but DeRozan is not crossing any lines whatsoever. 

Playing alongside Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook, the USC freshman's game would improve substantially.

DeRozan will be most efficient offensively as a slasher, Russell Westbrook's specialty.

He will also create contact slashing through the lane and often draw the foul—Jeff Green's specialty.

Finally, DeRozan's jump shot is an essential part of his game, however, his range needs to be expanded—Kevin Durant's specialty.

Ranging from his defense and intangibles, DeRozan needs work in other aspects of his game as well, which will come only by his adaptation to the NBA.

The third pick would not be wasted in picking DeRozan. If OKC does pick him, the parts of his play that round his game now will be improved and most likely expanded, along with the strengthening of the aspects of his game that are weak.

DeRozan will not be effective right away; however, somewhat relevant to Denver's JR Smith, he can begin his career by being an exciting spark off the bench. His latent upside will be exposed early on in his career and will make him a proven NBA star down the road.