Every year the ESPN Top 100 is published, and every year there are players who are ranked much lower than they should be, and some players are ranked much higher than they deserve. DeMar DeRozan was on ESPN’s list this year. DeRozan was the 82nd best player in the NBA in 2021, according to ESPN.
Interestingly, ESPN has established the ranking this season after DeRozan achieved an average of 22.1 points per race on 53% of the shots. For the first time in his career DeMar DeRozan shot more than 50%. DeRozan also recorded 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game for the Spurs last season.
Although Spurs missed the qualifications for the first time in 23 seasons, DeMar DeRozan is not to blame. The Spurs traditionally play basketball in a non-traditional era, so they struggle to win games at their usual pace. That, and no Tim Duncan.
DeMar DeRozan has developed as an attacker since his arrival in San Antonio. He shoots better and is more involved in the game than ever before.
DeRozan’s decision made him a very dangerous attacker.
To say that DeMar DeRozan is still an infallible All-Star may be a little exaggerated in the Western Conference, but not having him in the top 50 seems a little outrageous.
DeMar DeRozan is four times All-Star and has even made the All-NBA team twice. With guys like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and PJ Tucker in front of you, you’re already scratching. Although these guys are solid players, it’s highly unlikely any of them will ever make the All-Star team, let alone an NBA team.
Steven Adams, OG Anunoby, Davis Bertans, Miles Turner, Eric Bledsoe and Mike Conley are all on that list for DeMar DeRozan.
Is one of these guys better? Horseman, yes. Better, no.
If you look at basketball, you know that few players in the league can do what DeMar DeRozan does offensively. Greg Popovich has made DeRozan a very popular goalkeeper. Good decision making combined with a fantastic isolation game make him a deadly goalkeeper.
DeMar DeRozan can always contribute to a superstar level, none of these players can. DeMar will give you a coherent attack and now an effective shot.
DeMar DeRozan may not be the best three-point shooter, but it would be stupid not to recognize him as one of the top individual scorers in the NBA. Even at the age of 31, DeRozan still plays big for the Spurs.
DeMar DeRozan may have seen the roster in his first game of the 2021 NBA season because he played as if he had something to prove. DeRozan finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, shooting 50% of the field and 93% of the free throwing line.
DeMar DeRozan is as usual deadly from midfield and scores numerous shots near the basket.
Can Davis Bertans do it? Steven Adams? OG Anunoby? Unlikely. DeMar DeRozan will certainly take it personally.
From time to time there are stars that get older or injured and lose their star status. The other day, that player was Gordon Hayward. Hayward went from 22 points per game and an All-Star performance to 11 and 17 points per game and was also relegated to the fourth scoring option on the play-off team.
The difference between Hayward and DeRozan is that in Hayward’s career the regression is clear. The same cannot be said of DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan has become a much smarter striker and hits the ball better than ever with the Spurs. His point averages are also in line with those of the last four years of his career, including his all-star season in Toronto. DeRozan’s production is not reduced. In fact, some progress has been made. DeMar DeRozan also has more rebounds and assists in San Antonio than when he was All-Star.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that DeMar DeRozan is no longer an All-Star player.
If I were DeRozan, I’d take that assessment to heart, too. What does a player have to do to be recognized? Maybe that’s the extra motivation DeMar DeRozan needed to return to the All-Star game. Could it be the extra boost that allows the Spurs to reach the play-offs in the West?
I’m not sure what ESPN thinks about putting DeMar DeRozan this far on their list. Don’t be surprised if DeRozan is committed to regaining his star status this year, even in the West.