In this running segment, I will be attempting to break-down offensive and defensive plays of the Raptors. The purpose of this segment is double edged,. First, it is an attempt to provide a different dimension while watching the game and secondly it will provide insight into the development/digression of Raptors players.
In the first play Sonny Weems fronts Gerald Wallace without having any help behind or without Amir Johnson pressuring the ball-handler: Boris Diaw. Ultimately, Bargnani provides help after it is too late. The fault here falls squarely on Weems, who does not fight with Wallace at the beginning and gets seal out and he cannot expect Amir to pressure Diaw at the 3-point line either.
This play is a good example of how Andrea hedges out hard against the pick to prevent DJ Augustin from driving to the hole. Amir picks up the roll guy (Brown) and DJ passes the ball the Diaw. This makes DeMar hedges towards Diaw before getting back to Jackson, which gives Bargnani a chance to get back to Diaw and help disrupt the shot and evidently lead to a fast-break.
Compare the previous Bargnani hedge to the Ed Davis hedge. Davis is worried about his player diving to the hole which allows DJ to drive to the hole, luckily he misses. Eventually, Davis will learn that his help will be there and he can hedge out harder against DJ.
The last play is about DeMar DeRozan. We all know the improvement he has made (https://raptorsmatchup.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/demar-derozan-why-hes-playing-better/). The next step in his player development is his ability as a creator. In this play he tries to make a play in the middle. Generally in this situation, you see most PGs driving baseline and kicking it baseline 3-pointer. DeMar should have went up and hit Sonny cutting baseline towards the basket
The Show Stopper in Ultra-Mo video
Gifs after the Jump
DeMar DeRozan has been playing really well as of late. He has upped his scoring average every single month this season and he is off to a good start in the the 2 games that he has played in February.
To me, it seems like his shooting motion has improved, it is more fluid compared to his rookie season (wish I had some video evidence). This is definitely a testament to this work ethic. Consequently this means that all those commercials on NBATV Canada about him working out in the gym were not just badly edited commercial but rather an accurate portryal. I have heard that both him and Sonny are gym rats and that is very good for both themselves and the Raptors.
So in this article, I can only give an outsiders perspective as to why he is actually playing better. Evidently, DeMar knows best as to why he is actually playing better.
So, 1st – He is starting and is also playing more minutes than last year. Having more minutes probably allows him to get into the flow of the game. He is also less likely to get yanked if he makes a mistake, which is a luxury most players don’t have as rookies. Also, his general feel about the game seems to be better, this might be from just getting experience from last season. He is also being relied upon more out there. He is clearly the second option behind Bargnani and sometimes first.
Usually, players get stronger between rookie to sophomore season as they adjust but I can’t really tell at this pont.
2nd His mid-range game has improved. Above 10 feet, his shooting has improved significantly, while taking more shots
3rd Because of point 2, they are using him differently.
In watching the raptors games, it seems they have been using him more off the screen at the elbow. From there he is able to elevate into this shot or drive towards the basket. I think that’s where needs to develop his game from. Slowly he can extend it out as he gets more confidence.
Here is a simple example of how Bargnani used the pick to allow DeMar to get into the lane, where he can do a lot of damage.
As expected, his transition buckets are also pretty good but not compared to the rest of the NBA.
I was really surprised by his abilities when he is isolated. He ranks 36th in the NBA, not bad considering he is in his sophomore year and I would assume that this will improve as his experience and games add up.
Personally, I would like to see more off-screen plays called for DeMar. His elite athleticism is unmatched during most nights. The curls and stagger screens really forces the defense adjusts because he is such a threat in the lane. So he needs to get in the lane as much as possible.
Eventually, the next big step for DeMar’s game is to work on recognizing the defense and passing him game, which will hopefully develop.
Keep working hard DeMar and hopefully you won’t leave us hanging after a good few years.
Data obtained from Mysynergy and Hoopdata