Prospecticon Says: DeMar DeRozan

Demar DeRozan scares the crap out of me, as a fan. To say that his jump shot is raw is to miss the point. Dude is supposed to be a guard, but he only attempted 36 threes last season, making only 6 of them. Compare to a very different type of player who, nominally, played the same position last season for USC, O.J. Mayo. The current Memphis Grizzly hit 88-215 three point attempts, for a 41% clip.

At the next level, DeRozan won't be nearly as successful creating offense without a perimeter game. However, he's not really a forward, so there's no telling what his back to the basket game might be. Guys like Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace, and, to a certain extent, Andrei Kirilenko, are able to survive without plus perimeter skills because they rebound, play defense, and use their quickness on the block.

If DeRozan is more point than big on the position spectrum, then he's got a tough road to hoe if he expects to have the same kind of success in the NBA he had in college. Pro basketball is an unforgiving series of odds playing themselves out. If he can't shoot threes better than 30%, then everyone who guards him will simply back off and dare him to fire away or try to penetrate the lane after giving said defender a three step head start.

Shooting 65% from the free throw line is also a monster concern for a guard. If you're only hitting at that rate on uncontested, relaxed, 15-footers, then what coach is going to trust you with taking 23-footers with Mickael Pietrus or some other long-armed world class athlete closing on you? In that respect, Rajon Rondo might be the model for what we can expect from DeRozan. Rondo hovered at 58% free throw shooting while at Kentucky. In the NBA, he's up to 64% for his career, but the fact remains that he succeeds in spite of his inability to shoot. Will DeRozan?

Excuse my skepticism, but to believe that DeRozan will be a worthy lottery pick, we'd have to believe he will be better than his production, a la Russell Westbrook, and that his superb ability to create offense without shooting from the outside will carry over to the highest level in the world.

Unfortunately, all the comparables I'm finding (in admittedly unscientific fashion) are forwards who can also play with their backs to the basket. Kirilenko (on offense). That sort of thing. There are starting non-point-guards in the league who don't even threaten to shoot threes -- Antoine Wright? Dahntay Jones? Thabo Sefolosha, anyone? -- but two of them are not as good as the guy who replaces them off the bench, and Thabo was rescued off the scrap heap to play defense against guards and offense as a forward-guard hybrid alongside Durantula.

Supposedly, DeRozan can shoot, but he just didn't show it. If he can't play top notch defense or break the mold some other way, does that mean he's basically Thabo Sefolosha?

rufusonfireblog@gmail.com

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