The Toronto Raptors are currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 32-26, and one of the main reasons is the growth of DeMar DeRozan. He showed the potential to score the basketball last season with the Raptors, but has taken his scoring ability to a new height this year. His recent success has forced the term “superstar” into the conversation when it comes to DeRozan.
So the question comes down to simply, does DeMar DeRozan have the potential to become a “superstar” in the NBA?
DeRozan has averaged 22.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this season in 55 games. Those numbers show tremendous improvement in both his scoring and playmaking ability for his teammates. He averaged just 2.5 assists per game last season, but worked extremely hard on his ability to make his teammates better around him this past offseason.
When the term “superstar” is mentioned with a young, improving player, it is very difficult to decide whether or not to give it to that player. There’s no doubt that DeRozan is one of the NBA’s brightest young players and at the age of 24 certainly deserves to be in the conversation of superstar. The question really comes down to whether or not he’s just a great scorer or if he can actually take hold of the “superstar” title and take the next step.
One thing that DeRozan will need to prove over the course of the next year in order to be a superstar is consistency. There have been quite a few players throughout the years that have had a breakout season and then never been the same. DeRozan needs to show that he can be the star player of a playoff team and that he can keep his team in contention year after year. If he’s able to finish this year off and keep the Raptors in a top-five playoff spot, and then continue this type of production next year on another playoff time, he might just earn himself that label.
To answer the question as to whether or not DeRozan has “superstar” potential, it’s an easy yes. He has all of the physical tools and all the talent in the world to become whatever type of player he wants to be. Consistency is the one thing that we all need to see in order to consider him one of the top talents in the NBA. Judging strictly off of this years numbers, he has already earned the “superstar” label for this individual season. The Raptors are winning basketball games against good teams and are being led by DeRozan almost every night.
Overall, the Toronto Raptors have a lot to be excited about when looking to the future of their franchise. Assuming the Raptors give DeRozan a long-term contract extension, he should become an even better player for the next two years. There are still some things that he needs to learn, but his scoring ability is pure and his playmaking ability is on the rise.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.