Toronto Raptors

NBA: Why and How DeMar DeRozan Can Be Toronto Raptors Future SF

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on March 25, 2011 in Oakland, California. 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Patrick YaghoobiansAnalyst IIMay 7, 2011

DeMar DeRozan is the current shooting guard for the Toronto Raptors, but the only problem with this is the word "shooting." DeRozan has been known to be a so-so shooter and is awful when it comes to shooting behind the arc. Although these are areas he can fix, with his current skill set, why shouldn't the Raptors play him at small forward?

Let's pretend that the Raptors do not win the lottery or get one of the top three picks in the draft. This most probably means that Derrick Williams would already have been drafted, and the Raptors cannot get their small forward of the future. No problem—DeRozan can fix that.

DeRozan has the size and athleticism to match up to star players at his position—such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony—on both offense and defense.

On offense, when it comes to everything other than shooting, DeRozan can be one of the most dangerous players on the court. His ability to drive it in with such force and add some moves to ensure an open lane to the basket make him nearly unstoppable. Even when someone does come in the way of DeRozan, he is very good at drawing fouls without flopping.

On defense, DeRozan has improved by a long shot since his rookie season, and there is still room for improvement. His hands are so quick that he can get steals easily, and in the games he gets at least one steal, it regularly generates to 2-4 steals in the same game. Some games unfortunately, he gets no steals, but the games that he does cancel out the first fact.

If DeRozan is to play the small forward position, he needs to bring up his rebounding numbers by a lot. For someone with an insanely high vertical, he should be grabbing at least five or six rebounds every game, compared to the three that he actually does grab.

Moving DeRozan to small forward is not something that would happen, unless another scenario happens. This scenario involves the Raptors not getting the first or second pick, and considering the worst team in the league has not always received the first pick, the Raptors should keep their hopes high about moving up a couple slots in the draft.

If the Raptors are not able to select Derrick Williams (someone who has an amazing skill set and could fill the small forward void), then the Raptors should trade whatever pick they have (top-five ensured) to move down in the draft boards, which is approximately a couple spots before where Alec Burks is projected to be drafted, along with someone who can help the bench.

This move would allow the Raptors to bring in the best available shooting guard, while also moving the very versatile DeRozan to the small forward position. If these moves were to happen, expect the lineup to look something like this on opening day:

PG - Jerryd Bayless/Jose Calderon or a player acquired via trade/free agency

SG - Alec Burks/Leandro Barbosa

SF - DeMar DeRozan/James Johnson/Linas Kleiza

PF - Andrea Bargnani/Ed Davis

C - A true center acquired via trade or free agency/Amir Johnson

 

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