NBA

Lewenberg: DeRozan sets new career mark in assists

{eot}
Josh Lewenberg
2/24/2014 5:29:52 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

TORONTO - Following the final game in each of his first four NBA seasons, DeMar DeRozan has stood in front of the media contingent at the Raptors' annual post-mortem gathering, vowing to work tirelessly on his game during the summer and return a more well-rounded player come the fall.

One of his most glaring weaknesses as a young guard in the league was his playmaking ability.

As a 19-year-old rookie in 2009-10, DeRozan averaged less than one assist per game. Among NBA guards that logged at least 20 minutes per outing that season, DeRozan assisted on the lowest percentage of his teammate's field goals (just under 5 per cent, tied with Orlando's Mickael Pietrus, per NBA.com/stats).

He's come a long way since then, making good on his yearly end-of-season promise.

DeRozan's four assists in Sunday's win over the Magic raised his season total to 205, a new career-high, besting last year's mark with 26 games left to play.

"I want to make my teammates better," said the Raptors' guard, who continues to evolve as a distributer, averaging a career-best 3.8 dimes this season. "It just comes with experience and understanding. It's something that I really enjoy doing, getting my teammates involved, looking for them."

The 24-year-old's assist numbers have increased in each of his five seasons and his assist percentage this year (18.6) is more than three-times higher than it was in his rookie campaign (4.9).

DeRozan had recorded five or more assists in just five of his first 222 games as an NBA player, his first three years in the league. Since then he's accomplished that feat 28 times in 136 contests, including 15 during his 2013-14 breakout season.

"That's huge," Dwane Casey said of his leading scorer's improved court vision. "Now he's drawing so much attention from the other teams as far as double teaming, guys helping, they're sinking in and he's making teams pay for it." 

"He's one of the best wings right now in the league as far as passing the ball out [of the double team] and he's doing a great job of it," Casey continued. "So that's a big step in his growth process. It's good to see and the more attention he gets the more he's going to have to rely on that part of his game."

A first-time all-star this season, DeRozan has had to adjust to the defensive attention he's getting now that he finds himself on the top of the opposition's scouting report. There's nowhere left to hide, not after the trade of top dog Rudy Gay, but DeRozan has embraced the responsibility.

"The game definitely does slow down," he noted. "You understand every defence. There's not too many defences I haven't seen yet and just watching film and understanding how teams play key players, especially key scorers, once you understand that a lot of things come a lot easier."

As a team, the Raptors are just 14-17 when DeRozan scores 20 or more points, however they're 18-8 when he tallies at least four assists.

DeMar DeRozan (Photo: The Canadian Press)

zoom

(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story


Big Tour

A Historic Event

It was Canada's night at the NBA Draft as four players from north of the border were selected.


1. Andrew Wiggins - Cavaliers

8. Nik Stauskas - Kings

18. Tyler Ennis - Suns

45. Dwight Powell - Hornets


2014 NBA Draft Tracker

Social Media
twitter icon

Follow the Raptors and Raptor play-by-play man Matt Devlin on Twitter! Check out the latest Tweets!

Podcasts

TSN 1050: 1On1 With Will & Duane - Aug 10th 2014

Love-Wiggins done deal? KD: The Real Reasons, what's next for USA Basketball, Becky Hammon breaks barriers & Naismith 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

TSN 1050: 1On1 With Will & Duane - August 3rd 2014

1On1 talks Paul George & what's next for NBA vs FIBA, Wiggins for Love & welcomes Washington Post's Michael Lee to talk Five Alive & the Wizards.

TSN 1050: 1On1 With Will & Duane - July 27th 2014

Will & Duane fill the lanes with new friends of the program Aggrey Sam/CSN Chicago & Tony McIntyre/CIA Bounce along with the News, Views & Truths.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television