Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan Taking Leadership Role With Team

Sachin AroraCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05:  DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors goes up for a shot over Pau Gasol #16  of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 108-102.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

DeMar DeRozan seems to be the center of the attention in Toronto lately. With all the pressure of being a key piece in this rebuilding Raptor squad, DeRozan has seemed calmer than ever.

For a guy who has been searching for consistency throughout the whole year, DeRozan has been exactly that as of late. Averaging just under 20 points in January, DeRozan is taking strides that are making people confident about basketball in Toronto.

He hasn't magically become this player overnight; his hard work and aggressive play has him playing the best he has in his career. His jumpshot is flowing, he's taking it hard to the rim and playing solid man-to-man defense.

Another thing that pops out for me is that he's becoming a leader for this team. If he gives up a bucket, he'll take it right back at the guy. If he makes a mistake, he'll work harder to fix it. If he misses a shot, he'll play harder defense. These are the things needed to take the next step in the NBA.

DeRozan certainly has a long way to go, but he's made an improvement in nearly every category of his game this season. Raising his scoring from roughly nine points as a rookie to 15 points in his sophomore year has DeRozan looking like one of the more promising players on this Raptor team.

DeRozan recently said he's sick of losing and wants his team to step up.

DeRozan is earning trust from his teammates, his coaches, and more importantly, himself. He's become a more confident, mature player, and while DeRozan may not be a top guard yet, he certainly has the potential to.

Comparisons to Vince Carter are being made, and when DeRozan was once asked about this, he said "I appreciate the comparisons, but I think I'll do better."

Toronto can only hope so, DeRozan.