The Toronto Raptors are playing winning basketball but it seems different than in years past. They're sharing the rock and spreading the floor. The Raptors are shooting more threes than ever and one guy is doing so most notably, DeMar DeRozan. Two nights ago DeMar scored a killer 52 points. Most of these points came in typical DeRozan fashion while driving to the hoop, getting fouled and heading to the line. He shoots the 5th most free throws in the league and is known as one of the league's elite mid range shooters, something that is going out of style in a league that is in love with the deep ball. It seems DeRozan has taken notice and decided to transform himself over the summer. Here's a look at just how much more he's shooting from down town.
Last year DeRozan attempted a total of 108 three pointers and made just 31, good for 28%. This season in only 35 games DeRozan has already hit 31 threes in just 92 attempts (33%) and is on pace to shoot 215 attempts from deep, that's nearly doubling his shots from beyond the arc over last season. How has this shot selection changed how often he shoots the mid range jumper we're used to seeing?
DeMar DeRozan shot 648 mid range attempts last year and is on pace for just 541 after 35 games this season.That's 100 less. I don't think I've ever seen someone so completely revamp his shot chart from one season to another quite like this. DeRozan's mid range game has always been a point of emphasis for him and can also be directly related to the amount of isolation ball he plays in that area of the court. Sending him to the perimeter may actually minimize his ISO heavy habits. Watching DeMar in the playoffs is painful, often looking like a black hole, but maybe this trend can continue and having him shoot from the outside will spread the floor and lessen the ball stopping effects he can so often have.
While he's shooting the three more than ever, it is not this change alone that is reducing his mid range attempts. DeRozan is also shooting under the rim at a higher rate which is resulting in him having the highest true shooting percentage of his career. There's no denying DeRozan has a huge impact on his team's offence. The Raptors' offensive rating is a plus 10 with him on the floor, that's wonderful. Looking down at the other side of the court, not so much. DeRozan has made some big defensive plays at key moments in recent games but overall opponent's offensive ratings are also a plus 10 with him on the court. A deficiency that drags down the value of his minutes. If DeRozan can pump up his defense and continue this pattern of shot selection while remaining efficient, and Kyle Lowry decides to show up, I'm starting to convince myself we'll see a relevant playoff team come April. Overall I'm a big fan of the changes he's made and watching the Raps is becoming more and more enjoyable as the change endures. If he can continue to trust teammates, move the ball and play competitive defense, he may win me over just yet. However, it will take more than 35 games until seeing is believing.
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