Raptors: With and Without DeMar

Does your team really need you? Source: demarderozan.com

Does your team really need you? Source: demarderozan.com

It’s easy for smarty-pants bloggers to criticize their teams’ players for all their faults, especially when there’s no proof available to back up the claim that said team would be worse off without him. I’ve targeted DeMar DeRozan for his inefficiency from the field (under 40% this season), his subpar defence (Joe Johnson murdered him in the playoffs last season), among other things. But on November 28, when DeMar went down with a groin injury, my theory that the Raptors would be just fine without him would be tested.

With and Without DeRozan – by the numbers (this took me really long to research. You’re welcome.)

  • Win/loss. With: 13-3 Without: 7-3
  • Combined record of opponents (as of today): With: 213-197 (52 W%) Without: 97-159 (38 W%)*
  • Points per game: With: 107.6. Without: 106.2**
  • Assists per game: With: 19.7. Without: 22.8***
  • Offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions): With: 115.4. Without: 117.67****
  • Effective field goal percentage (weights free throws, two pointers and three pointers): With: 50.5%. Without: 54.2%****
  • Field goal percentage: With: 45.5%. Without: 48.5****
  • Derozan usage rate (estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while on the floor): 29%
  • Lowry usage rate: With: 24.2% Without: 27.8%

Notes

-percentages in each game given equal weighting. I did not add up every attempt and make for each game individually

*massive difference, rendering a credible conclusion from this experiment a lot more difficult

**negligible difference, but TO had the benefit of two overtime games (out of only 10 total) to pad that number

*** over three assists per game increase without your leading scorer seems significant

**** Perhaps a little something can be gleaned from these figures. DeRozan shoots poorly from the field, but he gets to the free throw line a lot (7.8 attempts per game, 7th in the NBA). However, the Raptors, by most offensive measures, are better without him. From an eye-test standpoint, this appears mostly true. Guys like JV get more chances inside, Patrick Patterson has been shooting the lights out lately (55.7 FG%, 53.7 3FG% without Derozan), and the Vasquez/Lowry combo is fun without having to defer to DeRo all the time.

But, late in games, it becomes clear that Toronto needs its All Star. Outside of Lowry, it doesn’t appear that anyone wants a sniff of the ball when the team needs a bucket. Terrence Ross has shown some flashes, but that was against the likes of the dreadful Knicks. There is simply no one to go to except Lowry and DeRozan when the offence stalls, and Lowry, while incredible, at 6’3 and boasting an 8 eight inch vertical, shouldn’t be counted on to score late.

While the numbers point to an improved team without DeRozan, it can’t be considered an Eastern Conference contender if he’s not healthy and threatening to produce in crunch time.

  1. Chris Ross says:

    I mean this is spot on. I don’t even know what else to add. They don’t need him for the most part. However, against better teams late in games they miss being able to get it to him in that mid-post area and letting him go to work.

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