Who has watched the Lakers play against the Toronto Raptors since DeMar DeRozan was drafted? I don't know about you, but when Kobe Bryant gets matched up against his young protege, it looks as though he shifts into second gear.
I vividly remember watching a Lakers-Raptors game where DeRozan was playing excellent defense, but Kobe played as if it was his annual summer youth basketball camp. The Mamba posted up the young guard, turned around, pump faked a few times and knocked down an extremely contested, fadeaway mid-range jumper while DeRozan stood there completely helpless.
It's those kinds of experiences that make players better, and it's that kind of physical, mental and emotional abuse that DeRozan will learn from and use to better his game.
It seems as though every time Kobe runs into the Raptors, DeRozan steals bits and pieces of his game and adds them to his own. His jumper still needs to develop, but the young Raptors star is most suited to be the heir to Kobe's throne. The two have similar builds, and DeRozan's athletic ability is reminiscent of a young Kobe.
DeRozan's footwork has developed between his first and second seasons, and he's finding different ways to score the basket aside from his ferocious dunks. His numbers jumped from 8.9 to 17.2 points per game after his rookie season. Imagine what he'll be like once his range extends.
Yeah, I'm scared, too.