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  1. #1
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    DeMar DeRozan; the Raps best Defensive Player

    Like many of you, I have really enjoyed the growth and maturity of DeMar DeRozan. Yes his offensive game has taken great strides this year with the addition of a consistent mid range jumper with a slight improvement of his success beyond the arch. But; one area where DeMar has made the greatest improvement and continues to get little to no respect when it comes to Raps fans is his defense. Now many people will likely call me crazy for this statement, but DeMar is easily the best perimeter defender this team has to offer and may just be the most vital defensive player to our success this post-season.

    DeMar this season has been nothing short of sensational on the defensive end. He has made great strides in improving his lateral quickness to stay in front of defenders and developing the patience to no longer jump on shot fakes or be caught put of position on defensive rotations.

    To illustrate my point, let’s examine just how good DeMar has been on defense compared to the NBA’s elite. In order to do this, I will focus on the wonderful tool of analytics. Keep in mind that the players I picked were based on reputation amongst fans as being some of the more elite defenders in the game today or recently. I also included Terrence Ross for good measure since Raps fans have a raging hard on for his defense. The defensive areas I chose to focus in on were defending the pick and roll, spot up and off screens. The reason for this is because the majority of wing players spend the vast majority of the time defending a pick and roll play or a spot up shot. Usually just these two plays alone account for over 60% of a wing player's defensive plays.

    Categories included in this chart include:
    Overall Defense (OD – Measured by Points per Possession)
    Overall FG% Against (FG% – Measured by the field goal percentage the player gives up)
    Pick and Roll defense on the ball handler (PnR – Measured by Points per Possession)
    Spot up Defense (SuD - Measured by Points per Possession)
    Off Screen (OS - Measured by Points per Possession)
    Isolation plays – one on one (IP – Measured by Points per Possession)
    Post defense (PD - Measured by Points per Possession)

    Code:
    
    
    Player 	      	         OD    FG%      PnR     SuD	 OS      IP 	 PD 	 	
    
    D. DeRozan 	        .81    36.7 	0.73 	0.92 	0.86 	.40	1.04 	 
    L. James 	        .83    37.8	0.56 	0.90 	0.86 	.79	0.75		
    P. George 	        .83    37.2 	0.71 	0.90 	1.02 	.72	0.81	 
    A. Iguodala   	        .83    39.3 	0.71 	1.05 	0.70 	.80	0.88	 
    T. Allen	 	.89    37.8 	0.81 	0.86 	1.00 	1.13	1.18		
    L. Stephenson 	        .85    37.5 	0.78 	1.05 	0.75 	.89	0.92	 
    T. Sefolosha            .94    42.7 	0.74 	1.22 	0.90 	.75	1.33	
    J.Butler 	        .81    38.7 	0.80 	0.83 	0.91 	.70	0.77	 
    K. Leonard 	        .76    35.4 	0.62 	0.94 	0.76 	.68	0.94		
    T. Ross		        .89    39.3 	0.85 	1.02 	0.82 	.86	0.76
    
    After reviewing these numbers, a few things jump out at you likely. For one, just how incredible Kawhi Leonard is defensively. At the young age of 22, he is already dominating the league with his defense. He ranks 30th overall in the league in terms of PPP given up which is quite incredible for a wing defender given just how much wing players touch the ball on a given night. Another area that jumps out at me personally is DeRozan, the topic of this post and discussion. DeRozan ranks with the best of the best when it comes with overall defense, FG% given up, defending the pick and roll, Isolation plays and off screens. As I said, the stats that we need to pay most attention to are PnR and Spot up defense because they make up the majority of a wing players defensive time. When it comes to DeRozan he is right alongside Lebron, George and the leagues best when it comes to these areas and perimeter D.

    Some interesting points of discussion for DeRozan are around his PnR defense and Isolation plays. Currently, DeRozan is the league’s best isolation defender. Yes his sample size is fairly small with just 58 plays where DeMar was isolated but he still ended up only yielding .40 PPP on those plays and only allowing shooters to shoot 19% from the floor. In terms of the other areas, DeMar is well above the league average and in the top echelon of wing defenders when it comes to defending the pick and roll (giving up .73 PPP). Ross on the other hand, who has made strides on defense gives up .85 PPP defending the pick and roll. Demar also happens to be a better spot up defender as well as he gives up .91 PPP while Ross gives up 1.02 PPP. The only area Ross has a significant edge in on defense is post D but both players spend less than 8% of their time defending on the block. DeRozan also currently has a significant edge in opponent field goal percentage as Ross gives up 39% on defense to DeRozan's 36%.

    While Ross is a more flashy defensive player (playing the passing lanes and making the dramatic stops), DeRozan is the better defender though I do think it is close. I think Ross has the tools to be just as good as DeMar defensively. I also don't buy the argument Ross is always on the other teams best player. This is mostly true with PG's and quick guards like Wall and Curry but bigger guys like Melo, Lebron, George etc often see lots of match up time with DeRozan. If you honestly believe DeRozan is always on the weaker defender, take a look again because it ain't the case. It is more split then you would first think. I hope this post shows Raps fans, just how good of a defender DeRozan is becoming and currently is today. Please note that analytics are most effective if we can consider a sample of a few seasons but one year can give us a good indication of where a player is headed. For DeMar, the ceiling is quite high and he is easily the Raps most consistent and best defensive player.
    Last edited by Mile High Champ; 04-10-2014 at 10:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    Lol no.

    Demar guarded Toney Douglas and James Jones vs the Miami Heat last time we played them. Ross, Salmons, and Fields guarded LeBron.

    Ross also guards Paul George the vast majority of the time and does a damn good job too.

    Do you honestly watch Raps games?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Yorker View Post
    Lol no.

    Demar guarded Toney Douglas and James Jones vs the Miami Heat last time we played them. Ross, Salmons, and Fields guarded LeBron.

    Ross also guards Paul George the vast majority of the time and does a damn good job too.

    Do you honestly watch Raps games?
    One game? That is the sample we are examining here. Unless you can show me statistical evidence showing the percentage of time DeRozan defends the teams second best player or off guard, it is simply a claim.

    I don't know why you have to be offensive with a comment like "do you watch raps games?" Seriously? Lets debate and discuss things properly. This is not the NBA forum.

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    good post MHC.. I never really looked at Derozans D in that light, I'll have to play closer attention to it. If the list up there is true, it looks like he is up there with the elite defenders in the league.

    that can only mean good things with ross as the other defender on the perimeter. by the way, the other 3 starters aren't slouches on D either. I think Casey should get a lot of credit here.

  5. #5
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    I also have to stress, this post is not about me arguing DeRozan is better than Ross or vice versa. It is to simply educate about the growth of DeRozan on the defensive end. Why peolpe would want to debate just how far he has come, I am not sure. It is certainly not a mirage.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by smith&wesson View Post
    good post MHC.. I never really looked at Derozans D in that light, I'll have to play closer attention to it. If the list up there is true, it looks like he is up there with the elite defenders in the league.

    that can only mean good things with ross as the other defender on the perimeter. by the way, the other 3 starters aren't slouches on D either. I think Casey should get a lot of credit here.
    You make a great point about Casey deserving credit. He has certainly taugh DeRozan a lot about defensive technqiue and his willingness to learn and listen has really paid off. You are also right on about the team really having no pushovers in the starting line up on the defensive end.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mile High Champ View Post
    One game? That is the sample we are examining here. Unless you can show me statistical evidence showing the percentage of time DeRozan defends the teams second best player or off guard, it is simply a claim.

    I don't know why you have to be offensive with a comment like "do you watch raps games?" Seriously?
    I gave 2 examples where DeRozan clearly does not guard the Lebrons/Georges of the world. I won't go through every game but I will show you examples.

    Here's some video evidence:

    Ross and Salmons guarding George.



    Here's another. Ross, Salmons, Fields guarding LeBron. Look at who's DeRozan's guarding.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feIn931OU7Y

    Ross shut down Wall at the end of games too. It's quite clear he's our best perimeter defender by a WIDE margin over Derozan. He has superior lateral quicks.

    If you want to crown DeRozan as an elite defender when he doesn't guard elite players, then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

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    What NorthYorker said.

    If we can't agree on the fact Ross guards the opposing teams best wing then we can't have a productive discussion.

    I've seen him guard Irving, Wall, George, Harden, Lebron consistently. Whose defensive stats wouldn't take a hit guarding these players?

    And if he isn't guarding them then it's because he's in foul trouble, in which case Salmons fills in for him.

  9. #9
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    I think Amir Johnson and Ross are better


  10. #10
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    Ross lowry and Johnson are better defenders than Deroan.
    Try staring at this picture for more than a minute without getting a headache




  11. #11
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    DD's defence has gotten much better this year but Ross does always take the toughest assignment on the wing.

  12. #12
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    Demar isn't a bad as people think, but he doesn't always defend the other team's best guard. That is normally Ross.

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    This is exactly why I always say stats can be misleading. Ross gives up 39% on defense to DeRozan's 36%. Lets look at the fact that Ross is guarding guys that shoot higher field goal percentage than 39%. The guys Demar guards is shooting around 40.

    Ross guards guys shooting 44% and above
    Demar usually guards the guys shooting less than that

    Ross is guarding Wall, Lebron, Durant, Paul George, Harden, and every other elite guard we face.

    The post is titles Demar Derozan, The raptors best Defensive Player. There will be debate because he isn't even top 3 best defenders on this team.

    I watched every sinlge raptors game this year. Derozan gets blown by so often. He's improved compared to the last couple years. Watch a Raptors game and tell me when the defense picks up. When Derozan is out the game or when Ross and Salmons is out the game.

    Only time Demar guards the best is if he ends up on a switch or Ross is in foul trouble. But even then Salmons comes in.

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    One also has to take into account that Ross is only in his second year, his first season as a starter, and he is guarding the best scorers in the league. I will give you that Derozan is becoming a good defender...but Ross is on his way to becoming an elite perimeter defender.

    Our starting 5 is one of the best defensive lineups in the NBA, and they are one of the youngest too...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartron_44 View Post
    One also has to take into account that Ross is only in his second year, his first season as a starter, and he is guarding the best scorers in the league. I will give you that Derozan is becoming a good defender...but Ross is on his way to becoming an elite perimeter defender.

    Our starting 5 is one of the best defensive lineups in the NBA, and they are one of the youngest too...
    very good point. Ross is still learning and he is going to be a very good defender if he keeps working hard. In one year, he has come a long way. It is a big deal when you have to guard the best players in the league. Most of the nights regardless of how hard you try to guard them, the stars are always going to put up good numbers. How often DD guards the best players on the opposing teams? If we can see the stats and compare that to ross, then we can get a better idea. Without that we can't simply proclaim DD as the best defender on the team.

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