Four of the Raptors’ starting five is basically in stone. You know Calderon is starting at point, Hedo at the three, Bosh at the four and Bargnani at the five. The shooting guard spot? That’s where it gets debatable. While early indications out of TO suggest that top draft pick DeMar DeRozan will begin the season as a starter, there is no guarantee that will stick throughout the season and maybe even preseason. The sure-to-be fan favorite guard out of USC has his fair share of competition at his spot.
No question, DeMar is the future of the franchise. Because of his flair and freakish athleticism, he will certainly be looked at as the second coming of Vince Carter, formerly known as “Air Canada.” But remember, DeRozan is just 20 years old and only played one season with the Trojans. As he proved at the Vegas Summer League, he can fill in the lanes (i.e. catching alley oops) and is a solid defender. But his undeveloped perimeter game is going to be an issue this season. At USC he shot an awful 64.6 percent from the line and an even more awful 13.7 percent from behind the arc. His numbers were pretty much identical in the summer league. He might be too much of a liability come the end of basketball games.
In the offseason, Raps GM Bryan Colangelo stocked up on shooting guards by acquiring Marco Belinelli and Antoine Wright. Belinelli is an interesting prospect because of his ability to shoot the ball and spread the floor. Colangelo, who we know loves foreign players, has already dubbed Belinelli as the team’s sleeper. He killed the summer league two years in a row, and has had some big games in the League so far. Although he didn’t get consistent minutes as a Warrior, he did top the 20-point plateau four times last season and has a career three point percentage of nearly 40 percent. If he catches his stride early, he could really steal some minutes away from DeRozan – especially in the fourth quarter.
Wright on the other hand, is a proven NBA two-guard. While he is no star by any means, he is certainly solid. He started 53 games for the Mavs last year and really locked up guys on the defensive end. Coming into his fifth season as a pro, Wright has a lot of experience, especially coming from a winning program in Dallas. Quincy Douby could also be someone who could find a place in the guard rotation. With the ability to play both positions, the former Rutgers standout put together a nice summer league, leading the Raps in points (18.0) and assists (3.8). And even though Jarrett Jack came in to back up Calderon, he can also play the two.
I have faith DeMar is going to be a beast in the future. Raptors fans will just have to be patient and not expect him to be taking home the Rookie of The Year – though the dunk contest might not be a stretch. I guarantee we will be seeing Jay Triano playing musical chairs a lot at that position this season.
So who do you think will get the majority of the burn at the two guard position for the Raps? Will DeRozan be the starter by the end of the year?
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.