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Dinos & Digits: DeMar DeRozan in the driver's seat

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Another instalment of Dinos & Digits, where we look at five interesting Raptors stats.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Dinos & Digits, a place where we dive into the stat sheets and find five interesting or strange Raptors statistics and put them on front street for discussion. There will be a mix of both individual player and team statistics to explore, ranging from raw box score numbers to some interesting and funky advanced metrics.

So, let's get down to it. Here are this week's interesting digits:

DeMar DeRozan leads the league in points per game on drives with an average of 9.0.

DeRozan is fresh off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honours, and it might be time we start appreciating how subtly he's been improving his game this season. Our own Daniel Hackett has a great statistical breakdown of just that, so check it out.

In terms of driving to the basket, DeRozan has become one of the best in the business. He averages 12.0 drives per game (second in the NBA), scores 9.0 points per game on those drives (first), and is shooting 56.2% from the field on drive possessions (which is very high). Those numbers are up from 7.9, 4.9, and 44.7% last season, respectively.

The Raptors have shot 39.0% from the field in first quarters this season, the worst mark in the entire NBA.

We all know the Raptors have been dreadful in first quarters this season and this number sums up just how bad they've really been. They have a Net Rating of -4.8 in opening frames, which is the fifth-worst mark in the Association. Luckily, they're in the top-seven for Net Rating in each of the remaining quarters and play fairly well from behind.

The five-man lineup of Kyle Lowry, Cory Joseph, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Patterson, and Bismack Biyombo has a Net Rating of 13.6 in 55 minutes of floor time.

With Jonas Valanciunas and DeMarre Carroll on the shelf due to injury, coach Dwane Casey has had to tinker with his rotations quite a bit to find lineups that work. This five-man unit of Lowry, Joseph, DeMar, Patterson, and Biyombo has easily been the best combo of the last little while, posting an Offensive Rating of 103.4 and a stellar Defensive Rating of 89.9 in 55 minutes of playing time together. It's not quite as effective as the Lowry, Joseph, DeRozan, Carroll, Valanciunas lineup (Net Rating of 27.2 in 34 minutes), but it will do while JV and Carroll are unavailable.

If the Raptors wanted to jumpstart their games and have better first quarters, could this be an idea for a starting lineup?

Patrick Patterson scores 66.9% of his points on threes.

Patterson hasn't had a very good season, averaging just 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 22.7 minutes per game, while shooting 37.7% from the field and 33.7% from long range. Those shooting percentages are down from career marks of 47.2% and 36.5%, respectively, and both represent career lows.

Perhaps a big part of the problem with 2Pat this season is that he's forcing things a bit too much from deep, posting a career-high Three-Point Attempt Rate (percentage of field goal attempts from three-point range) of 67.1%. When more than two-thirds of your points are coming from deep, but you're only connecting on about one-third of your attempts from that range, that's not exactly what one would call efficient scoring.

Lucas Nogueira scores 93.8% of his points in the paint.

That's the highest percentage of any player in the Association who averages over 10 minutes per contest. He's shot 15-for-21 this season, with 20 of those shots coming within five feet of the basket (the other was a missed above-the-break three-point attempt at the end of a shot clock). 5 of his 15 made baskets have been alley-oop dunks. Bebe is fun.

All stats courtesy of NBA.com/stats and Basketball-Reference.com.

(Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a one-day fantasy basketball league tonight. It costs $2 to enter, the top 26,000 entries win cash, and the best lineup gets $20,000. Join now!)