Tongues are wagging around Raptorland now that DeMar DeRozan has inked a new deal with the club. We’re going to take a run at answering the most important questions surrounding this contract, which are: Why did it take so long to complete? & Is it a good deal?
Taking the second question first, we need to address the details of the contract. DeRozan signed an extension of his rookie contract; he’s now signed for 4 more years at $38 million (plus incentives, which are moot to this discussion). Let’s look at players comparable to DeMar, & see how their compensation stacks up.
Regular readers probably know by now that I’m not a stats wonk. However, I recognize their importance, particularly in this context (i.e., value for money, & comparison to peers), and I’m glad there are good sites to draw data from.
82games.com is very helpful with fine-grained analysis. They have decided, courtesy of some arcane algorithm, that DeMar was +0.8 last season. That made him the third-highest ranked Rap, behind the Johnsons, oddly enough. More importantly, where are the other swingmen? Lebron is the highest-ranked player (surprise!) on their chart, with 17.8, & luminaries like Kevin Durant, Deng, Carmelo, Rudy Gay, & Pierce are miles ahead of DD, as they should be. DeMar is in a clump with Detroit’s Prince, SA’s Leonard, Portland’s Batum, & Shawn Marion at Dallas. That feels right to me. DD is a work in progress, & some elements of that work may never get finished. Coach Casey is of the opinion that shooters are born, not made, & he is pessimistic about DD ever becoming a threat from distance. He doesn’t think DD has the magic (in contrast, Terrence Ross is a Rap because Casey thinks the young man does). DD is a career 26.1% shooter from 3, which is dismal, so Coach’s pessimism is warranted.
What does the respected John Hollinger, he of the “33 wins for the Raptors” prediction, have to say? Hollinger created the popular PER (Player Efficiency Rating), another helpful snapshot algorithm, which postulates an average of 15. DD was 12.8 last season, hardly stellar.
Time to nose around other team’s salary pages, courtesy Hoopsworld. Shawn Marion is making a shade over $8M, Ben Gordon is at $12.4M, Trevor Ariza makes $7.4M & Richard Hamilton $5M. If we accept that DD is somewhere in the mix with these guys, his compensation may be a wee bit high, but not insanely so.
Anymore of this stuff & I’m going to suffer from MEGO [my eyes glaze over], so let’s draw some conclusions. I think Colangelo has hedged his bets with this contract. If DD improves by 10% in his major statistical categories, the contract looks like a bargain. If his progress flat-lines, the deal is not so onerous that DD can’t be moved. DD is a quality jumpshooter out to 20 feet, & is a willing attacker of the hoop, which, with improving defense & physical strength, adds up to Small Forward. I suspect BC & Dwane view Ross, with his deeper range, as the Point Guard of the future. That move pushes DD to the 3, & Fields to the bench, or another team.
As to why the deal took so long: I suggest that Dwane Casey wanted to take every moment available to him to observe DD in pre-season before giving a thumbs-up to Colangelo. Dwane is intensely interested to see how many of his fuzzy-faced players can make the Boys 2 Men leap necessary for the Raps to start winning consistently. I’m sure Coach also appreciates that DeRozan stays off the Injured List, & is anything but a head case, although I have difficulty envisioning him as this team’s leader.
Time to climb off the fence. I like this deal, as it doesn’t handcuff the Raps financially, but I’m not wild about it. DeMar is solid, but will never be an All-Star.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.