DeMar DeRozan is disciplined in his defiance.
Calculator-carrying coaches must be infuriated by DeRozan’s style.
The NBA is about the 3-point shot and getting into the paint. But here’s DeRozan, Toronto’s All-Star guard, taking mid-range jumpers considered by the hardcore analytics crowd as bad shots.
But DeRozan, who turns “bad” shots into points by the bunches, isn’t changing his style.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
He’s the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer at 28.3 point per game, relying on a style that’s admittedly old school. DeRozan is fine not drifting out to the 3-point line regularly. A 15-foot jumper suits him fine.
“I’ve never been a person where ... just because everybody else is doing something or something is changing, I’m supposed to do it,” DeRozan said. “I stick to everything that I know.”
DeRozan is one of only two players among the top 40 scorers attempting fewer than two 3-pointers a game (1.8). The other is Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, which makes sense.
But how does a shooting guard thrive without the 3? By knowing his limitations.
“I know I could go out and if wanted to shoot six 3s a night. But I’m going to go out and do what I want to do,” DeRozan said. “It’s whatever you believe in, no matter what type of player you are.”
Raptors coach Dwane Casey said DeRozan scores the “old-fashioned way” and called his mid-range game “impeccable.” Casey also points out DeRozan welcomes contact, as he averages 9.1 free-throw attempts.
“He’s very disciplined,” Casey said. “He knows what his strengths are. He’ll venture out there, wander out there every once in a while to make sure he sees what he’s got going. But he knows who he is and ... he doesn’t get out of his lane.”
Of DeRozan’s 401 field-goal attempts through Friday, 121 have come from 15 to 19 feet, where he’s shooting 46.3 percent. 74 Seventy-four shots have come from 10 to 14 feet, where he’s making 55.4 percent.
In total, 83.8 percent of DeRozan’s shots have come from inside 20 feet, and he sees no reason to change.
“It’s cool to me now when I see people say the mid-range is not a lost art because of me,” DeRozan said. “But no, I never felt like I had to do something because everybody said that’s what needs to be done or that’s the only way be a good scorer. So I just stuck to what I do.”
DeRozan doesn’t put pressure on a defense in the way a deep shooter does, but he’s certainly a problem. The 6-foot-7 guard is difficult to defend because of his size, strength and determination to get to his spots.
And DeRozan has no intention of finding out if things are different if he does it another way.
“I think if you’re a great scorer, no matter what defense it is, they’re going to worry about you,” DeRozan said. “Because if you’re knocking down that (mid-range shot) at a consistent rate, they don’t want you to see the next one go in. They’re going to try to stop you and everything. It’s me fighting against the so-called principles in today’s league and showing you can win with it, you can be successful with it. You could lead the league in scoring.”
The ‘This Can’t be Life’ Award
Al Horford and his wife, Amelia, welcomed their second child, a daughter, last Sunday.
The Celtics center missed a game the next day at Miami to be with is wife and new daughter.
Boston-area media personality Michael Felger cited Horford’s annual salary of about $30 million as a reason he should have gotten a private jet and left his wife in Atlanta and played at Miami.
“It’s about a 90-minute flight to Atlanta,” Felger said on the air. “Play the game and come right back. I’m sure his wife in the hospital (is) surrounded by nurses, mothers, aunts, relatives. I would have gone to the game, I would have played the game, and I like my guys to sort of forsake everything for the team.”
Forsake being with his wife and newborn because the world would have ended if he missed a game against the Heat?
Horford’s sister, Anna, took to Twitter to offer a popular response.
“Yeah, Mike Felger can (expletive) right off,” she wrote.
Thankfully, Horford’s priorities are in order.
The ‘Keeping it Way Too Real’ Award
Cleveland’s J.R. Smith has love for Milwaukee’s Jason Terry. Perhaps too much recently.
Smith left the court to greet Terry, who was on the bench, while the ball was in play. That left Cleveland down a player on defense, and Tony Snell ended up with an uncontested dunk for Milwaukee.