Toronto Brass Told DeMar DeRozan He Could Be The Raptors’ Kobe Bryant
The Toronto Raptors are within the midst of arguably their greatest season as a franchise. Not solely do they at the moment maintain a three-and-a-half recreation lead on Boston for the No. 1 seed within the East, they’re the one crew ranked within the prime 5 in each defensive and offensive effectivity this season.
A lot of this can be a direct results of how head coach Dwane Casey has recalibrated the offense to push the tempo (they’re 11th within the NBA in that division) and create higher spacing. A few of that could be a byproduct of DeMar DeRozan‘s willingness and improved proficiency from downtown. He’s making an attempt Three.6 three-pointers per recreation, which is the best mark of his profession, and changing a borderline-respectable 31.7 p.c from that vary.
That is in no small measure as a result of approach Toronto’s entrance workplace execs gave him some motivation to enhance by evaluating him favorably to his childhood hero earlier this season.
By way of Zach Lowe of ESPN:
DeRozan, a proud native of Compton, California, grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. The Lakers had retired Bryant’s two jersey numbers the night time earlier than. DeRozan had certainly watched. Ujiri instructed DeRozan he might be Toronto’s Kobe — a lifetime participant who defines a franchise and, perhaps, brings it championship glory. However to get there — to push this live-wire Toronto crew to its full potential — DeRozan needed to begin taking pictures extra Three-pointers.
They empowered DeRozan as a result of they knew he was ready. “When everybody has that form of confidence in you — that you would be able to carry a franchise — it offers you that further confidence,” DeRozan says. “For them to say I might be in [Kobe’s] place — it was an honor accepting that absolutely.”
The Raptors’ over-reliance on its two important stars — DeRozan and Kyle Lowry — has traditionally been its downfall, which is what units the 2018 model of this crew aside from earlier incarnations. Each are averaging fewer factors per recreation and logging decrease utilization charges as the remainder of their peripheral gamers are extra concerned and extra productive.
With the Cavs nonetheless attempting to create chemistry and discover consistency with their revamped roster and the Celtics battling a slew of accidents, the trail to the Finals has by no means been clearer for the Raptors. However there’s plenty of basketball left to play, and so they’ll should show they will hold their momentum going when it issues most. It’ll actually assist if the man they view because the franchise’s Kobe Bryant can sustain his sizzling play.
(By way of ESPN)