Does Toronto Raptor’s DeMar DeRozan still “got us”?

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 7: DeMar DeRozan /

A few simple words went a long way for DeMar DeRozan. After Chris Bosh had failed to bring Toronto a title dream after a career year, he decided it was best to join other superstars in hopes of a ring.  Little did he know a kid straight out of Compton, CA living in his shadow would begin to deliver his promise little by little as he grew into a man.

A Man of His Words.

TORONTO, CANADA – MAY 7: DeMar DeRozan /

"“For me being that young, tweeting something like that… It’s crazy.” – DeMar DeRozan"

A year after Raptors fans felt abandoned by their franchise player Bosh, DeRozan made it clear he was a superstar in the making. In his second year, DeRozan made the jump from 8.6 PPG to 17.2 PPG, with 34 minutes per game and playing all 82 games in the season.

When asked where DeRozan got his confidence from and his work ethic to be great, DeMar gives credit to his former teammate Bosh.

"“He was tough on me from the standpoint, I think he knew how good I could be,” DeRozan said to Basketball Insiders. “I was the starting guard with him, (Hedo) Turkoglu, (Andrea) Bargnani, Jose Calderon. I was the only rookie out there. A lot of mistakes I made, he would just be hard on me about it so I could be better. He was a good dude. He’s a good friend of mine.”"

When the city of Toronto needed a player to depend on after Bosh had left, DeMar had enough confidence to tell the city he’s got them. Chris Bosh left a mark on the city as one of our greatest players of all time and deserves the utmost respect for leaving a mark on the Raptors Guard.

In his rookie season, DeMar averaged 8.6 PPG, 0.7 ASTS, 2.9 REBS on 49% field goal percentage.

DeRozan in his latest season has put up career highs of 27.3 PPG, 3.9 ASTS, 5.2 REBS on 46% FG. That places DeMar ahead of Chris Bosh’s all-time scoring spot and Vince Carter’s all-time playoff scoring lead.

Through the mentorship and hard work ethic gave to him by Bosh, the kid from Compton developed his game and he’s now amongst the league’s top 5 best scorers this season and is debatably the best shooting guard in the NBA right now.

"MIAMI, FL – DECEMBER : DeMar DeRozan“One game we were playing Miami in Miami and I wouldn’t shoot the ball,” DeRozan reminisced. “He yelled at me, saying, ‘Shoot the ball! Shoot the ball!’ I just took from that have confidence in yourself. No matter if you miss it, continue to keep playing, continue to keep shooting.”"

In his first 12 games of the season, DeMar had 10 30-Pt games which is the most since Michael Jordan had 10 in 1st 12 games of 1986-87 season.

DeMar DeRozan and his other half of the duo, Kyle Lowry, managed to bring the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in history. What else could solidify the truth and meaning of those simple words?

None other than bringing a Championship home to the Six.

A Toronto Raptors fairy tale or another superstar bail?

TORONTO, ON – MAY 07: DeMar DeRozan
TORONTO, ON – MAY 07: DeMar DeRozan /

The Toronto Raptors are stuck in a very peculiar place right now, and their off-season wasn’t reassuring that they could find a way out of it. They keep the same core while moving assets like Cory Joseph and DeMare Caroll and replacing them with a solid role player in CJ Miles, Justin Hamilton and a rookie Ogugua Anunoby. While at this point anything would be better than DeMare Caroll for the Raptors, nothing about their acquisitions screams great additions to a contending team.

The Raptors have looked to re-tool their roster to accommodate DeMar DeRozan many times, even with the success they find in the regular-season, they haven’t been able to get over the eastern playoff roadblock. The Raptors added a huge piece to their roster with Serge Ibaka and still failed to go further in the playoffs, struggling against a one-man show Giannis Antetokounmpo and of course falling apart against the self-proclaimed king, LeBron James.

TORONTO, ON – MAY 07: Lebron James
TORONTO, ON – MAY 07: Lebron James /

The Cleveland Cavaliers however, are in some serious turmoil. With a team that lacks chemistry after their star Point Guard has requested a trade, it’s only a matter of time before the Cavs become completely dysfunctional and derailed. It would seem like the perfect opportunity for DeMar to put the finishing touches on his legacy—but does DeMar have Mamba mentality?

DeRozan’s leadership is questioned after being swept by the Cavs this season and having a disappointing playoff run. Coming off one of his best years DeMar was expected to shine and compete with Cleveland pushing them past 4 games, but he failed to meet expectations, which isn’t surprising

His FG percentage this year in the playoffs was his most efficient putting up 22.4 PPG at just 43%, which is just a little higher than his career playoff FG 40%. DeRozan did have a monster game against the Cleveland in game 3, putting up 37 PTS, 3 ASTS, 3 STLS, 2 REBS on 52% FG and it still wasn’t enough to take the game. But to have your team leader saying “If we woulda had LeBron on our team too, we woulda won.” Isn’t the motivation your team needs to comeback with a vengeance next year.

It has some fans wondering if DeMar DeRozan still believes they can compete against LeBron James.

As of now though, DeRozan seems committed to improving his game and making the most out of the Eastern conference situation. The problem is less focused on DeMar leaving the Raptors and more on if he can continue to be the leader. He’ll be an unrestricted free-agent in 2021 which is more than enough time to see if the Raptors can still compete with him. His loyalty seems to be all there for Toronto.

"“I want to leave my own mark in Toronto.” Said DeRozan. “I want to be able to go through the good, go through the bad with one team, and realize that at the end of my career I can potentially play for one organization.”"

5 words were all it took to assure Raptors fans their future would be bright. Now is the time for DeMar to prove those words.  Not by simply attempting to win a championship, but by becoming the greatest leader the Raptors have ever had.

Don’t worry, he’s still got us.