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Can DeRozan Actually Shoot the Three?

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When was the last time someone saw DeMar DeRozan shoot a three-pointer in a game? Most of us probably can’t answer that. DeMar DeRozan is the shooting guard drafted by the Toronto Raptors. He was the 9th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft and has played with the Raptors for eight years. Once his career subsides, he will go down as one of their greatest players, just not for shooting three-pointers.

DeRozan works out hard and in his routine, there is always dedicated time for shooting. In his regimen, he shoots 3’s consistently from all sides of the arc. He can even be seen shooting 28-footers and consistently hitting them. Back-to-back with a precise, quality stroke.

So how come we don’t see it in games?

DeRozan is known for great ball handling, driving in the lane, and a sweet pull-up midrange game. When he gets to the basket he either finds a way to score or get to the free throw line. We also get to see some pretty good dunks from time to time. That’s his game, and that is what makes him so great today. DeRozan is a three-time NBA All-Star and he made the All-NBA Third Team in 2016.

DeRozan has always had good ball handling skills, but in 2014 things would change. He took advice to hire Johnny Stephene. Stephene is known throughout the NBA as, “Dribble2Much.” He’s a dribbling and ball handling coach/trainer for hire.

“I only improved and tweaked his great God given talent,” said Stephene. “His mid-range game is what comes natural to him and his body.” DeRozan’s game with Kyle Lowry keep the Raptors a mainstay in the top of the NBA Eastern Conference.

The league has been changing for many years now, and the three-pointer has evolved from a specialist role to a necessity. Teams now stretch the floor to confuse defenses and make passes to the open man. In most cases, that person can shoot a three-pointer. It’s no longer one guy on the team that can shoot three’s. Everyone must have the ability to shoot 3’s now. Even the 7’0 foot centers of the league have the stroke now. Suggestions for this theory is the “Warrior Effect,” or the “Steph Curry Conundrum.”

DeRozan has attempted just 1.5 three-pointers per game for his career, converting on just 0.4 of them. That’s an underwhelming 28.6%. Kyle Lowry and other role players on the team are left to shoot the majority of the three’s. In general the Raptors aren’t a three-point shooting team. They’ve averaged 8 makes on 28 attempts since DeRozan was drafted. In terms of this new climate, they are slightly behind the eight ball. The top teams in the league attempt in the 30-40 range, converting on 12-14 of these shots, and improve every year. Right now, Houston is leading in both categories.

The Raptors are currently averaging 11.1 three’s on 31.5 attempts this season. Clearly, they are improving in stretching the floor and catching up to the rest of the top teams in the league. Even DeRozan is averaging 3 attempts and making 1 three-pointer per game so far this season. It seems we will see him increase these averages as the season progresses. “I’ve always worked on my three-pointers, said DeRozan in a post-game interview. “I’ve just always gotten caught up in my confidence and dominance of my mid-range game.” DeRozan would go on to say, “It’s just a matter of me having that same mentality from the three-point line.”

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About Roderick Wilbon

General NBA writer from St. Louis, Missouri. Twitter: @Rodzrd

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