Saturday, 29 November 2014
How The Raptors Can Turn The DeRozan Injury Into a Positive
It's never good to see one of your players get injured. It's especially unfortunate when that player happens to be the only All-Star on your roster. DeMar DeRozan's injury came as a surprise to everyone, considering he has been one of the most durable players in the NBA over his career. As he fell to the ground kicking the floor, many fans began to expect the worst and rightfully so, as it did not look good.
Luckily for us fans, he will be back.
However, we will have to deal with at least 4 weeks, and up to 3 months according to some reports, with no DeRozan. That means losing a 20 PPG scorer who is elite at drawing fouls and a very steady ball handler. He also drew double teams in every game, leaving other players open for easy shots.
Sure, an injury to arguably the best player on the roster is never good, but it doesn't have to be all negative. Injuries are the best way to give players with a smaller role a better chance to contribute. Perhaps if we could get them going, you can build their confidence to the point that they can keep up their production, even when DeRozan comes back. If you haven't realised yet, the players I'm taking about are Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas The two third year players have yet to break out into the elite players they have the potential to become. Both players have shown glimpses, but have yet to show the aggressiveness needed to be elite. They are both too willing to let Lowry and DeRozan do all the work. However, with DeRozan out and Lowry likely to draw more double teams without him, Ross and Valanciunas are going to be forced into bigger roles. Ross will get more opportunities to shoot and be involved in the offence. Valanciunas will get plenty of post up opportunities and will need to be a much bigger force consistently on the glass and on defence. We know both of these guys can step it up at any time, but we've never needed them to step up as much as we do now.
So really, this injury could end up being a blessing in disguise if one of these guys (or both, of course) can step up and become a legit 3rd wheel for the Raptors offensively. This will also give us a much better look at what these guys can do when they are more involved, and we can get the best judge of their true potential in their 3rd year. It's up to them to keep the Raptors at the top while DeRozan recovers.