Monday, May 11, 2009

NBA Draft Prospects: Demar Derozan, USC

For a complete listing of NBA Draft prospects and their player breakdown, click here.

Stats: 13.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg (2.4 off), 52.3% FG, 64.6% FT, 16.0% 3PT, 1.5 apg, 2.1 t/o's

Listed Size: 6'7", 207 lb, 8/7/89 (19 years old)

(photo credit:

About Him: Demar Derozan is a freak athlete. That much is obvious if you scroll down and watch the second highlight clip. But if you watched Derozan play this season, he was far from a ready for the league, and any GM that selects this kid needs to do so with the understanding that he is a clear cut work in progress (and based on what we have heard about Derozan, he is a good kid that does work hard - good sign for a project).

So what can he do now? Other than jump out of the gym, well, not too much right now. By the end of the season, he became much more aggressive, especially going to the offensive glass (where he can let his tools take over). But for someone with as much athleticism as Derozan has, he really didn't put down too many "Good God, that's possible?!?" dunks during the year. In general, Derozan just didn't seem to get it for the first half of the season. A lot of that, I believe, had to do with confidence - no matter how good you are, it sometimes takes a while to prove to yourself what you can do on the court. A lot of it had to do with Tim Floyd finding the right times to get Derozan the ball. But by the end of the year, specifically tournament time (he averaged 21 ppg and 9 rpg, tallying two double-doubles, during the Trojan's run through the Pac-10 tourney, and set his season-high in FT attempts with seven), he finally put it all together and played like a future pro.

Offensively, Derozan can basically do two things - knock down a mid-range jumper and dunk. His ball-handling is very shaky, to the point that he even struggles at times with the two dribbles that get him from the perimeter to the rim (he can't change direction either). He doesn't have range beyond 17 feet. He can't catch-and-shoot when he is moving. His upper-body strength is not where it needs to be for him to be able to finish through any kind of contact around the rim. He is not a great passer (0.7 a:t/o) or decision maker, and does not have a high basketball IQ. But, like I said, his mid-range game is already pretty solid. He can knock down shots off the bounce. When he catches with his feet set, he is an above-average shooter from 15-17 feet. A guy like that can develop into a pretty solid shooter if he puts in the work.

Another positive sign is how efficient Derozan is scoring the basketball. He averaged 13.9 ppg on just 10.5 shots, which is all the more impressive when you consider he made just six threes and 95 free throws this year (and also hit 56.2% from two). While he might not have been shooting the ball enough, in general he wasn't taking bad shots, and he was making the ones he took.

On the defensive end, Derozan has a lot to learn. His fundamentals are not yet up to par, he sometimes falls asleep (especially on help side), and he never really showed flashes of being a playmaker on this end. But one thing he did too was play hard. Like I said, for someone as raw as Derozan is, skills and fundamentals and basketball basics can be taught. Effort, work ethic, and the heart to play hard (on both ends) cannot.

Comparisons: Best Case: Some combination of Josh Howard, Gerald Wallace, Vince Carter, and Jason Richardson; Worst Case: Desmond Mason, Rodney Carney

Bottom Line: Derozan has more potential than any other wing player in this class. If he works his tail off and develops within a team's system, he has enough raw ability that he can be a top 10-15 player in the league. But that is a ways down the road, and it is always tough to keep working hard when you aren't getting minutes. As to what kind of player Derozan becomes, it is really going to depend on who drafts him and what they are looking for Derozan to be - do they want a scoring guard (a la VC), or do they want a slashing small forward (a la Gerald Wallace). Because of how risky (read: how raw) Derozan is as a prospect, he is probably going to fall to somewhere in the middle of the lottery (6-12 range), but that is subject to change based on how the draft order shakes out.


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