If you were one of the skeptics who believed DeMar DeRozan’s scorching hot start to the season was, gasp, unsustainable, now’s the time to shed your disbelief — or perhaps recuse yourself from all further basketball discussion. DeRozan just set a franchise record: He was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the fourth time this season (for March 20th to 26th).
There’s little room for doubt here: DeMar DeRozan is legit.
Here’s the official press release from Raptors media relations:
If it’s possible, the above summary actually undersells what DeRozan accomplished.
First, DeRozan did indeed begin the week scoring 42 points in an overtime win against Chicago. This is a feat in and of itself, as it broke a years long curse against the Bulls. But on top of that, DeRozan also logged two of the most impressive defensive plays of his career — a half-court sprint and steal from behind on Rajon Rondo, and a weak side block to end Joffrey Lauvergne’s career. This, after many years of vague disinterest on the defensive end.
To back that up with another 40 point game against the Heat is a whole other level. DeRozan is the first Raptor to do that since Vince Carter in 2001. And then, even with the whistles turned against him, DeRozan went out on the road and calmly dissected the Mavericks — they tried so hard! — with a combo of moves and fakes that I’m sure dudes like Wes Matthews will be seeing in their nightmares for some time.
To repeat, DeRozan is and remains one thing: legit. This has easily been the best season of his career, and really, who knows what other levels it could get to. Astounding.
Congrats DeMar, let’s keep the good times rolling.