Teams are forcing DeMar DeRozan to shoot jumpers this season and he’s taking the bait but failing miserably.
If you were to skim DeRozan’s stats this season it would appear his career-high 17.5 points per game would be reason to celebrate his growth on the offensive end. The problem is he’s shooting only 43.4 per cent from the field and he has been prone to coasting for quarters where he fails to assert himself on either end of the floor.
Last season Dwane Casey implored DeRozan to “body hunt” to earn free throws. The idea was fantastic as DeRozan finished 21st in the NBA in free-throw attempts per game and he attempted 5.3 attempts per game. The chance to get some easy points at the charity stripe helped to bump his scoring when he shot an abysmal 42 per cent from the field and 26 per cent from beyond the arc.
This season, however, teams have rediscovered that DeRozan’s jump shot isn’t reliable so they are stacking the paint against him and sagging off him while daring him to shoot. His free goal attempts are down (4.9) and he is lurking out on the perimeter more than he did last season.
DeRozan’s shooting woes were highlighted this weekend when he failed to score in double digits in both games. He was held to shooting 4-9 from the field in the Raptors win over the Los Angeles Lakers while going 4-10 in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
The troubling thing is DeRozan’s shooting woes aren’t isolated to this weekend, but instead have lasted all month as he is shooting 40 per cent from the field in January.
According to Basketball Reference, DeRozan has made 26 of his 27 dunk attempts and 59 of the 117 layups he has shot. Those two shots are responsible for almost a quarter of his field goal attempts and helped to spike his field goal percentage.
Where things start to get scary is when you realize that nearly 75 per cent of DeRozan’s field goal attempts are jump shots but he is only making 38 per cent of those (169-440). So, in essence, he’s a shooting guard that has struggled to shoot this season.
By taking away his ability to score in the paint it has rendered DeRozan a relative ghost.
The other thing that is worrisome is that DeRozan is able to start games strong in the first quarter (he shoots 49.5 per cent from the field) but in the fourth quarter he cools down considerably (31 per cent) once opposing defenses figure out that his jumper is shaky so they decided to take away his ability to penetrate or dunk.
Also, along those lines, he only shoots 35 per cent from the field in the final three minutes of a quarter. So, in essence, when it comes close to resembling clutch time DeRozan shrinks in a big way.
DeRozan has long been heralded as a player who works hard and spends a ton of time in the gym. However, all of that time clearly isn’t paying off because his jump shot isn’t improving and the athletic guard is unable to find ways to score outside of the paint.
As the scouting report on DeRozan continues to circulate about his inability to hit a jump shot, look for his shooting percentages to dip closer to what they were last season. Or, look for his field goal percentage to sink to something ugly like the 40.3 per cent from the field he is shooting from the field so far this month.
This slump could turn ugly quickly.