DeMar DeRozan says Raptors ‘nowhere close to satisfied’
Canada’s only representatives in the NBA underwent an image change for the 2017-18 season, finally evolving into a more modern style of play with ball movement and spacing. But the Toronto Raptors didn’t do this by trading away their core or star players, who worked well under the old regime — they simply worked hard to mold those players to perform well with the new strategies.
All-Star DeMar DeRozan has headlined the Raptors for some years now and has developed his play well to befit this evolved style. The 6’7″ California-native has noticeably become more of a team player on the offensive end, seeking the opportunity to tee up his teammates more often than in previous seasons. He’s recording a career-high 4.9 assists per game after 35 contests while his 34.2 minutes per game is the lowest since his rookie campaign in 2009-10.
While the swingman is the best player on the court for the Raptors, it’s clear that his mentality change is helping to make his team better, being more effective with his minutes and involving his teammates more. As recorded by The Star, DeRozan has been pushing to help boost others in the Toronto jersey, stating:
“I know I can score. I know I can do this. But I want to make everybody around me even more comfortable.”
Source: Sporting News Canada, via Twitter
He’s never been the greediest All-Star in the NBA but his increased willingness to include his teammates for scoring opportunities has not only bolstered the scoring of his teammates but it has also sped up the rate at which this new approach to the game has been taken on.
The newly implemented ball-moving strategies have worked well with the Raptors and while some assumed that it might take time for the same players to adapt to the new schemes, the Canadian club sits healthily in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
While the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers might make for better bets to win the conference (including the playoffs) at +250 and -125, respectively, the Raptors certainly look to put in an improved postseason performance this time around.
To back Toronto at any of these great and reviewed Canadian-oriented sportsbooks, as it stands, the Raptors are at +450 to win the Atlantic Division with the Celtics very dominant right now. They’re then +1400 to win the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals and a very long +5000 to win it all at the 2018 NBA Finals.
The switch in play style comes off the back of some uninspiring playoff performances. However, in both of the last two seasons, the Raptors crumbled to the eventual Eastern Conference Finals champions, the Cavaliers, who happen to be led by LeBron James. Toronto is moving in the right direction to better their postseason fortunes, but DeRozan reckons they’ve got a way to go yet.
Source: Capitan NBA, via Twitter
Despite their winning record and entertaining play thus far, DeRozan says that the Raptors are still adjusting to the new schemes, as reported by Fox Sports:
“We’re figuring it out. That’s the beauty of it, the comfort of it. We’re getting more and more comfortable with it. We’re nowhere close to satisfied.”
As the Raptors continue to perfect their ball-moving play style with the likes of DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and C.J. Miles putting up decent numbers, Raptors fans can look forward to seeing better, more modern basketball. They may not be favored to overcome the juggernauts of the Eastern Conference just yet, but they’re certainly moving in the right direction.