Dwane Casey thinks DeMar Derozan has some bad habits he needs to get rid of.
Despite his game-winning shot on Thursday against the Orlando Magic, the Toronto Raptors head coach told the Jeff Sammut Show on Friday that he would like to see DeRozan take a more aggressive approach and not rely on his jump shot.
“I’ve been talking to DeMar about for the past couple weeks is about being assertive and in attack mode at all times and not settling for turnaround jump shots,” Casey said on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “It’s something he did not do against Miami and bailed the defence out. But (Thursday) night, we talked to him about being aggressive, not settling for turnaround jumpers, which is a habit. He has to be able to recognize the alley to basket to drive and attack.”
DeRozan has had his share of ups and downs in his fourth season but Casey believes the next step for the USC product is taking charge as a much-needed closer for the Raptors.
“(He) did a tremendous job in the fourth quarter as the go-to guy (against Orlando) and that’s what he came into the season to be, a closer. He had a tough couple weeks but made up for it last night in the fourth quarter.”
Casey is seeing improvement but isn’t surprised DeRozan has fallen into a common pattern that many inexperienced players go through early in their NBA careers.
“No question. This happens so many times,“ he said. “I had Rashard Lewis as a young kid (in Seattle). All he wanted to do is shoot jumps shots. We put him in the post and got him used to the physicality of the NBA...Terrence Ross is going through the same thing right now. His next step is to pump fake and drive. Those things are experience factors that come into play. Unfortunately, getting that experience comes with growing pains. DeMar, last year, he did a better job and he got away from it this year.”
In an ideal world, the Raptors coach would like to see DeRozan using his athleticism to attack the basket on a more consistent basis.
Casey has shown DeRozan video of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and one of his former players, Gary Payton, worked with him last summer in Las Vegas during the summer league.
“Video is a very, very good teacher," Casey explained. "Gary (Payton) spent time with him. One of the best post-up point guards in the NBA. His game was in the post. Unconventional but he would quarterback the game from the low post area. He spent time with Demar in Vegas."
The Raptors have seen improvement after a slow start the season where they were acclimating to a lot of new bodies to the roster.
Casey would obviously like to have a playoff-calibre team right now but understands his young team is still a bit raw and going through the process of learning how to win on a consistent basis.
“Learning from mistakes is how you build a team. I remember Oklahoma City, how many mistakes they made in their first three years and look at them now. That’s what we’re going through now with our team. We’re working together and committed. It’s not always going to be peaches and cream and it’s part of the process. (We’re) staying together as a team and organization and good things will happen.”