So here it is...finally. The DeMar DeRozan scouting report. I know you all have been feverishly checking GSoM over the past couple weeks in eager anticipation of this. All joking aside here are my thoughts on DeRozan.
I might update this later on. I had emailed Paragon SC over at Conquest Chronicles (the USC SB Nation affiliate) to get some additional information about DeRozan from people who have seen him play more than I have. However, his basketball writer was on vacation and he is a busy person, so I don't want to bother him too much.
Also, is it just me or are you getting tired of the draft already? Normally, I love it but with all the discussion on here and people trying to sell 10 different players, I just want to get it over with. To much speculation. Anyway, here goes:
DeMar DeRozan is a SG/SF who played one year at USC after playing high school ball at Compton HS in Southern California. He is listed most commonly at 6'7" (as low as 6'5") and 220 lbs and fairly strong and defined--the size of Jason Richardson & Vince Carter. He was a high-profile and consensus top 5 recruit coming out of high school. He was seen as a disappointment early in his USC career, with performances that were underwhelming for a top recruit. Fans and reporters noted that he seemed unagressive and didn't seem to have the desire and instinct of a superstar. However, in the latter part of the season he reportedly seemed much more comfortable with the college game and his performances reflected this. His offensive success correlated well with the number of shots and free throw attempts, indicating that when he was more agressive, he performed much better. He decided to enter and stay in the draft on the strength of his late season performances and due to the fact his mother is struggling with lupus. He believes the draft will put him in a place financially to get the best care for his mother.
DeRozan’s decision was hardly a surprise because of his family’s health issues. His mother, Diane DeRozan, suffers from lupus.
"Overall, I think I’m in a great position for the draft," DeRozan said. "I’m also in a great position to do something for my family."
The decision was a difficult one, said his father, Frank DeRozan: "DeMar was torn between going into the draft and staying at USC. He wants to stay, but his mom is real sick."
Fast Break--Off the fast break or in situations where the defense is not set, DeRozan excels on offense. He is outstanding running with or without the ball and is always in perfect position to receive a pass and finish strong. In the open court he is Lebron-like. There is something about the way he runs, handles the ball and dunks (the style of jumping and the way they both leap) that strongly resembles Lebron. He is extremely quick and fast in the open court and is an electric finisher.
At this point, the midrange game is the meat and potatoes of DeRozan's offensive game. The majority of his points, especially in the half-court come off midrange jumpers and spot up shots. At times he can struggle to separate from his defender despite his quick first step(see ball-handling), but his leaping ability and leaping quickness allow him to separate and eleveate over defenders. He doesn't get his shot blocked. He has become very good at getting to his spots on the floor (where he is comfortable hitting a shot) a la Carmelo. This enables him to shoot a high percentage. When he spots up, he also is good at finding open spots in the defense where his teammates can get him the ball and he can comfortably get a shot off. Despite these proficiencies, he is very predictable and not very creative offensively (go right, midrange jumper). DeRozan almost never goes to the basket in the half court. He scores off catch and shoot (from off-ball screens), off the dribble going right and offensive rebounds/putbacks/ passes close to basket. He needs to improve his shot, basketball IQ and playmaking ability on offense.
One thing that bothered me about DeRozan's spot up game was his long and slow release motion. He likes to take a sizable hop when catching the ball. He then brings the ball down to his knees before leaping and releasing the ball well above his head. This long, exaggurated motion allows the defender to close out on DeRozan. Luckily for him, his leaping ability allows him to make up for this. It can be noted that this is a fairly common technique on a catch and shoot. However, he can probably not take as large of a hop when catching the ball and bring the ball as low. Also although great jump shooters use this method, the ball doesn't come out as fast as you would like/expect. He admits that his ability to read and react to college defenses evolved over the course of the season. His shot exhibits good arc and ok rotation and is consistent with every shot. He gets great elevation off the floor and his stroke is repeatable. Free throw shooting indicates this--his stroke at the line is good but he still shoots supar percentages.
3pt Shooting--3pt shooting is probably the weakest part of DeRozan's game. He shot only 17% on the year. That said, he only shot 36 3pt shots the entire year, which is a very small sample size. Still, this is an area that can only improve. While he tends to go straight up on midrange shots, he has Tracy McGrady syndrome on his 3pt attempts. He jumps straight up but fades away on his release and kicks out his foot.
Ball Handling--Another weakness in DeRozan's game is his ball handling. He is a below-average ball handler which makes it tough for him to create his own shot. In all of the game footage and highlights I saw of him (both in high school and college), DeRozan seldom went left and definitely preferred to have the ball in his right hand. When DeRozan put the ball on the floor in the half court, he would typically start on the left wing and drive right towards the free throw line and settle for a midrange jumper. He struggles to create off the dribble when facing a good defender. Furthermore, he does not seem to have the ability or desire to drive and finish to the rim and definitely settles for a midrange jumper on many occasions. I would think this has to do with his ball-handling ability and not being able to get all the way to the rim without losing the ball. This lack of ball-handling proficiency seems to cause higher than average turnover numbers for a SG.
Passing--DeRozan seems to be a willing passer. However, because of his lack of ball-handling skills he seldom functions as a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Therefore, it is hard to tell how great his court vision and passing abilities are. His A/T ratio was 0.7 last season.
DeRozan is currently a solid, if unspectacular on ball defender. Still it is hard to judge his overall ability in this category. At USC, Daniel Hackett was typically assigned the role of guarding the opposing team's best perimeter threat so DeRozan didn't always match up against a premiere player. However, he typically guarded one of the opposition's better players and did a respectable job. There is no doub that DeRozan has the physical tools to excel as a one-on-one defender. He has the lateral quickness, strength, length and leaping ability to do so. However, his defensive skills have not been showcased or featured on the collegiate level.
His numbers of blocks and steals don't stand out very much either. He got about 1 SPG last season and 0.4 BPG. He has the ability to rise up and block shots (either off help defense, recovering after getting beat or on the fast break) but doesn't show this skill often enough. The blocks he has are highlight-type blocks but he doesn't get enough of them.
As a SG, DeRozan would probably be one of the better rebounding guards. As a SF, he is either average or below average. He is a great offensive rebounder who shows a lot of desire and uses his athleticism and leaping ability to get the rebound and then go back up and score. Sometimes he elevates for highlight-type putback dunks. He also shows willingness to fight inside and uses his strength on the interior to get offensive rebounds. However, he doesn't show the same desire on the defensive glass and gets them when they fall to him. In 14 of the 35 games he got more or equal number of offensive rebounds as defensive. (2.4 ORPG, 3.3 DRPG, 5.7 RPG)
DeRozan's athleticism is undeniable and just as great as advertised. Not much more to say, but he should be in the elite level of NBA athletes--and that is saying a lot. He is an explosive leaper and is extremely quick and fast running the floor.
Seems very coachable. Doesn't seem like a vocal leader. He is fairly mild-mannered on the court but can get fired up from time to time--like Rudy Gay type.
Here is a quote from DeRozan at his first practice according to Tim Floyd: "Coach, I don't want to talk about the NBA. I don't want to talk about moving on. I want to be the best player I can be for this basketball team. I want you to coach me, I want you to push me, I want you to drive me. There is a lot of stuff I still have to learn."
And Floyd thought: "Boy, this kid gets it. There's not many of them that come to college with his reputation that are willing to hear and listen and get better."
Full Game Observation (USC vs. Michigan State - 2nd Round NCAA Tourney)
DeRozan scored some of the quietest 18 points you will ever see. Even though he was considered the star on the team, in this game he played 3rd fiddle to Dwight Lewis and Daniel Hackett. While he had a solid game scoring, it was hard to notice unless you watched him the whole game. He was pretty efficient scoring the ball with his midrange game and off the catch and shoot. However, what bothered me is taht he didn't seem to want or demand the ball. He was content standing around the perimeter and waiting for the ball to rotate his way. His defensive abilities were hard to observe as USC was playing zone for most of the game. He got caught in screens a couple times but for the most part played solid on ball defense when he had to. In regards to rebounding, he showed energy and desire to box out for offensive rebounds (though they didn't fall his way in this game). On several occasion he took it upon himself to box out larger MSU players and was fairly successful. However, on the defensive end he didn't have nearly the same intensity in rebounding. He got a couple as they dropped right to him.
I was a little off in my initial assessment: in this game he caught the ball on the right wing several times and dribbled left to the free throw line. However, he passed the ball out on those occasions. He scored 8 in the first half off free throws and jump shots (I think he had 5 free throw attempts early on, including being fouled on a 3pt attempt). His opportunities were spread out through the half but overall he didn't do very much. In the second half, he was a lot more active, especially when a few of his teammates got into foul trouble. He took more shots and looked to attack more (though not exactly go to the basket). He attacked the rim only two or three times in the entire game, which was odd to me considering his superior athleticism. On one occasion he hit a nice floater about 8 feet from the basket going right. Another time he had a dunk in transition. I still have never seen DeRozan go left to the basket or finish with the left hand.
Overall he played a solid game, but did not take over or demand the ball the way a 'superstar' or potential superstar should. He has a solid midrange game and has a lot of skill and ability but there's just something missing for me.
Daniel Hackett Cameo: I've mentioned this before but Daniel Hackett is a player who stood out to me. That said, hes not a great player by any means. However, he is an ok (not great) jump shooter, likes to go to to the basket, big PG (played SG until this year) at 6'5" 215 lbs and can handle the ball. He is known as a very good defender. The knock on him is turnovers. He can handle the ball but sometimes makes bad passes into traffic. He is a draft eligible junior who has signed with an agent and has many similarities to DeMarcus Nelson. I would look at him as a UDFA and summer league/training camp invitee. However, he also has an Italian passport and could choose to play overseas. I think he could be a solid backup PG who would fit well with the Warriors (could shift Monta off the ball when he's on the court)
Back to DeRozan...
Interestingly, nearly all of DeRozan's stats in his first year at USC line up exactly with those of Kelenna Azubuike's junior season statistics at Kentucky (it's scary). The only noticable difference is that Azubuike was a much more willing (and better) 3pt shooter. Meanwhile DeRozan got more of his points from mid-range & inside. Also Azubuike shot a better FT% even thought they got to the line about the same number of times (DeRozan a little more). This comparision intrigues me because I have a hard time seeing why a guy like DeRozan is expected to go in the top 10 when someone like Azubuike went undrafted. That said, while Azubuike is a great athlete, I think DeRozan is even more athletic. On tape he seems quicker and seems like an even more outstanding leaper than Azubuike. However, it is clear that Buike had a much more polished outside shot coming out of college. All in all, I see him becoming a Vice Carter (best case), Jason Richardson (likely) or last season's Kelenna Azubuike (worst case) type of player assuming he develops an outside shot and improves on his willingness and ability to get to the rim. Overall he needs to improve his shot and overall basketball IQ. If he is to become a superstar, he needs to find that desire to dominate and carry a team--like Kobe, Lebron, Dwight and Dwayne have.
Right for Warriors?: Sure, why not? I love his potential and personally wouldn't mind the pick. He is definitely the type of player that the Warriors typically like/draft. He is most often compared to Carter, JRich, Buike and Josh Howard, all of whom have been picked/traded/aquired by the Warriors or Don Nelson. Stil, it is difficult to see DeRozan getting any meaningful playing time on this team. He can't handle the ball and isn't a playmaker. Also, he would likely be stuck behind the logjam at the wing positions and wouldn't get much playing time unless he shows something great early on in his rookie season. The truth is that he is currently a duplicate of Kelenna Azuibike, with a less proficient outside shot. Sure he is 6 years younger and probably has even more potential (because he is taller and even more athletically gifted and explosive) but we have Kelenna on the 'cheap' for a couple more years and he would likely take any of DeRozan's playing time until his contract expires (assuming KA would not be resigned after his contract if we were to draft DeRozan). That said, we could use Azubuike as trade bait in this situation, but I'm not sure how much he could get in return. It is likely that KA & someone else we could get at #7 would be more desireable than DeRozan and what KA could get in return. If the Warriors are at all interested in Trevor Ariza, picking DeRozan would duplicate that as well.DeRozan wouldn't be the worst pick, but I would probably say no to picking him.