Last night, during the Raptors game against the New York Knicks, DeMar DeRozan made a bit of history. After scoring 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting, and fending off a late Knicks rally, DeRozan moved into the number two spot on the Raptors all-time scoring list. The man he passed was none other than Vince Carter.
With a total of 9,426, DeRozan is now just 849 points behind the Raptors' all-time leading scorer, Chris Bosh. Unlike the other two players in this rarefied air, who both left the team under bad circumstances, it seems likely DeRozan will re-sign with Toronto next season and eventually claim the top spot. (Also, DeRozan's ascendency pushes Andrea Bargnani, in the four spot, further from our minds.) At 26 years old, DeRozan has proven himself to be an All-Star calibre NBA player. And in Toronto, he's proven a lot of people wrong.
To be honest, I'm amazed we're here. If I look back through the things I've written about DeRozan, it's clear that while I thought he was a decent enough player, it seemed unlikely he would get much better than he was. Well, I was definitely wrong on that count. To watch DeRozan now is to see a player in firm control of his abilities. He takes the shots that are there for him to take, he can finish around the basket with either hand from a million different angles, and when it's needed, he will get to the free throw line at will. Having him paired up with human dynamo (and friend) Kyle Lowry is easily the best backcourt Toronto has ever seen.
It's a great time to be a Raptors fan.