Often the media loves to joke about individual workouts, and at times, it’s not hard to see why.
The most famous case may be the footage of Yi Jianlian going mano-a-mano against a chair, and it’s true that unless you’ve seen a prospect via game footage, it’s tough to REALLY say just what type of player said prospect may become.
However yesterday was different.
The media buzz was deafening. Demar DeRozan was indeed in attendance and I must say that he did not disappoint. Of all the players that I’ve seen so far through this workout process, DeRozan is the one player that to me screams one word more than the others: Potential.
Slated by some to be the Raptors’ pick at number nine, DeRozan is a definite athlete and when put through the paces yesterday, that athleticism was on full display.
Here’s an example. In one drill, he grabbed a rebound, hit the outlet pass, sprinted up court, received the pass and finished well above the rim. First one-way and then back down the next. I was amazed not so much that his head was at the rim or that he finished with thunder and lightning, but that he seemed to hit both rims before I even had a chance to be amazed! People I can’t say this enough: Demar DeRozan IS AN ATHLETE!
But does the athleticism warrant DeRozan to be picked so high? Is there anything else that would warrant those lottery dreams?
Well for starters DeRozan showed a good mid-range jumper, pulling-up and making the shots with ease. He also showed good range when he was in the drills making more than half of his shots when the media were watching, something that seemed to fly in the face of the criticisms of his long-range abilities. Looking at his form, he didn’t look to have any wasted motion on his shot and should be efficient with practice at the next level.
To be fair, there were no defensive drills that we were able to see since DeRozan was the only player on tap for the workout. (That is unless he went up against Boogie or Alex English when we weren’t looking!)
And again, without seeing DeRozan going up against any other competition, there’s only so much you can discern from these types of workouts.
But let’s project for a minute.
If you want to find a good perceived end to all the potential in DeRozan then you may see Andre Iguodala waving on the other side of the golden tunnel.
If you want the polar opposite, you may be looking at the next Harold Miner (remember him?).
Both had freakish physical tools but have ended up as either semi-franchise player or trivia question. DeRozan definitely has the tools to end up like an AI 2K9, but does he have it in him to not be a forgotten Dunk Champ?
Ever since William Avery bolted for the riches of the NBA from Duke, there have been a number of players that though were not primary options, oozed potential. Demar falls in this category.
He played on a USC team that featured two potential top draft picks and that may have stunted his player growth, especially in his first season. So my bottom line is this:
Could DeRozan use another year or two in college where he can play every game and develop as the star?
I’d have to say yes.
Could he stand to use another season playing under the bright lights of the highest level of college basketball?
But right now it’s hard to say he wouldn’t make a great pick.
He is an incredible athlete, something that is not teachable. He also looks like a player that can learn and he’ll have lots of time for that over the next couple of years. Considering the other options that look to be available to Toronto at 9, it’s not to say that the team shouldn’t swing for the fences.
After all, you are looking at DeRozan not as the immediate solution to anything, but like a piece of fine art, hoping it will appreciate with time.