DeMar DeRozan missed his eighth straight game on Sunday. But he was at Madison Square Garden to watch the Raptors beat the Knicks 95-90 in overtime. Before the game, coach Dwane Casey talked a bit about DeRozan's role with the team while he recovers from his groin injury.
"He's been in our coaches meetings," Casey explained. "He's heard some of the criticism we have of our players. I think it's helpful for players to come in. I remember in Seattle, Nate McMillan would come to meetings with (head coach) George Karl. It was huge for the coaching staff to hear the thought process from a player's standpoint."
When asked whether DeRozan had taken some of the criticism he heard and told the players, Casey joked that he hope his shooting guard wasn't doing that, but also said it would be okay because nothing in those meetings are things the coach wouldn't say to the players in person.
Casey also called DeRozan "a sharp guy", and said he's probably more familiar with the offensive system than some of the coaches because he's been here "since day one".
"He says a lot," Casey said when asked whether DeRozan is vocal in the meetings. "He just doesn't say a lot around you guys (the media). A lot of our guys say a lot in their quiet way. It doesn't matter how loud you say it, it's how you say it and when you say it."
It's interesting to see DeRozan involved in this way. It definitely speaks to work ethic and willingness to learn that has become a defining characteristic of the team's All-Star guard.