As a three-time All-Star with averages of 23.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game since 2014, DeMar DeRozan checks out as one of the best players currently in the NBA.
And yet, he hasn’t been recognized as such for the second offseason in a row. Despite being named to the All-NBA Third Team last season, ESPN recently ranked DeRozan as the 39th best player in the NBA. Sports Illustrated had him slightly higher in their rankings, placing him behind a trio of non-All-Stars in Khris Middleton, Hassan Whiteside and Kristaps Porzingis at No. 36.
The discrepancy speaks to how polarizing DeRozan’s game is in today’s NBA. On one hand, he’s a perennial All-Star in the prime of his career. On the other, he’s a flawed player in a day and age where his skill set makes him an awkward fit on most teams. To better understand both sides of the argument, let’s take a look at what DeRozan does well and why the way in which he plays continues to draw criticism from fans and members of the media.
DeRozan is one of the purest scorers in the NBA. He finished behind only Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Isaiah Thomas and Anthony Davis in scoring last season with 27.3 points per game. He did so making 46.7 percent of his total shot attempts from the field and 84.2 percent of his attempts from the free-throw line, both of which are fantastic marks. The former ranked him No. 7 among shooting guards and the latter ranked him No. 12.
Furthermore, only four players in the entire league — Harden, Westbrook, Thomas and Jimmy Butler — made more free throws than DeRozan on the season. He seems to figure out new ways to draw fouls every season, and he has developed the unique skill of knowing how to bait defenders into fouling him in volume on shot attempts.