NBA / Sep 2, 2009 / 11:58 am

The Battle to Start In Toronto

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan

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?

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  • jzsmoove

    Better have a scenario like this than no scenario. Triano will tinker with the lineup and he is the main bench boss now. Having been the Team Canada boss not too long ago, he knows what to do in this situations. Hopefully this tramslates to a winning season for the Raptors. definitely Demar will be in the top-5 ROY candidates (Griffin, Evans, Curry, Jennings and Derozan I think).

  • flavur

    He’s better than their 2 guards so it can’t hurt them anymore than putting belli or antoine out there

  • Mark

    Raps have enough 3 point shooting in the staring 5, just cos the rook cant stoke it yet wont affect the team, raps need someone to attck the rim and collapse the defences, DeRozan should be the choice

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    I’d give it to Bellinelli all except he’ll make my Warriors look stupid for trading him for nothing.

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Griffin is a lock to win ROY.

  • Celts Fan

    DeMar’ll probably start since they need everything he brings and don’t need the shooting (Mark covered it better in post 3)

    @Big Shot Bob – He’s def. the favorite, but Steph Curry and Johnny Flynn will get a TON of PT (Flynn anyway, who knows how Nellie’ll jerk Steph around if he hits a cold streak) so I could see them taking it. Same for Tyreke.

  • Mellmeister

    Starting 2 guard should be DeMar Derozan…
    @3 is right because the Raps have plenty of 3 point shooters… aside from bosh (who’s in love with midrange jumpers anyway) who else would attack the rim? that’s where derozan comes in… bellineli could come off the bench and become their candidate for “sixth man of the year” he could light up… that’s fo’ sure… the Raps would get a playoff spot 4th-7th… they would be there…
    so for the Raps future… push derozan in and get him started with his career. :)

  • Arrogant

    i think Marco Belinelli will…. he will spread the floor, u can play loose on Derozen and that will make everyone else job harder…

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven Duece

    Unless Derozan’s defense upgrades quickly, I see Wright starting for the time being.

  • Kobeef

    At this point Antoine Wright brings the most stable play at the SG position and should start.

    Belinelli and DeRozan could combine their skill sets to make a perfect SG – Bellinelli can shoot and pass but that is about it. DeRozan can slash, rebound, defend and play above the rim…but can’t shoot outside of 15 ft.

  • mtindore520

    Wright will start for a good chunk of the because he’s a proven defender, can shoot, and wont care about getting his shots, but isnt amazing at anything except solid D, Hopefully DeRozen does take the spot, though, i like this kids game just needs to work on that J…Belinelli doesnt need to start he’ll be better off the bench raining in threes alongside Calderon, Hedo, and Bargnani(2009 Bomb Squad)!

  • Jayo

    “64.6 percent from the line and an even more awful 13.7 percent from behind the arc”

    That pretty much sums it up for DMR. He’ll get some minutes but the starter will be Bellinelli or Toine. If he starts they’re playing 5 on 4 b/c he can’t shoot. Ask James White or Tony Allen about what happens to athletes who can’t shoot a lick.

  • Heckler…formerly ‘Yallallreadyknow’

    DeMarr is/was the best pure athlete in the draft. but the bastard can’t shoot for shit. and to all those who think that ain’t a problem

    oh yeah, we gonna double off him all game. leave his ass open and double Hedo. double Bosh. double Bargs. how the hell you think its gonna work out if Demarr is on the court and misses 3 straight open 14 footers?

    he aint gonna be on the court for long. it might be like the Rapts are playing 4 on 5 on offense. and since we dont know yet if DeMarr can play WITHOUT the ball…his lacking jumper can/will be a problem.

  • http://www.geraldnarciso.com Gerald Narciso

    Completely agree with Heckler and Jayo. It will make things harder for Hedo and Bosh if other teams start to double off DeMar because he can’t shoot. He’ll definitely help and improve his shot over time, but for now I can’t see him playing past 25 minutes and finishing games

  • Kobeef

    Question for the stat freaks

    How many NBA guards have had a successful career shooting 60% or less from the charity strip? My guess is not many.

    How in the hell is it possible that a guy like Demar shoots 60% on FT’s (and that is being nice, he shot 50% in summer league).

  • Mark

    I saw the Raps live in the summer league this year. DeRozan has potential but he was far from the best player this summer…even on his own team. Quincy Douby was much better at both ends. I would say DD was solid and at times spectacular, but so were many players. His shot was very weak compared to his competition, which will limit his minutes to at most 20 a game. I also think his athleticism is overrated – but basketball is not only about athleticism and leaping or James White would be an all-star. I say this not because I don’t think he star potential, but that he is not going to contend for ROY or be a difference maker this year. Defenses will collapse against him, causing problems for other players and limiting the effectiveness of his drives.

    But don’t despair, he seems to have a great attitude and a solid work ethic that will allow him to improve…. give him a year or two to breakout.

  • D-NICE

    Start wright for now until DeRozan is ready. He’s a solid vet who plays great defense and we all know the raps have been lacking on perimeter D for a while.

  • DOM


    Derozan should start cuz hes got the D, the athletic ability, and the guy can provide the necessary slasher to the baskebtall ability we need. Belinelli is nice of the bench no problem there. he can fill it up from 3 and his a good passer.

  • LA`Clipperz

    The Raptors have a very nice youth core.
    I think Derozan will start, but with due time Belinelli will get a long look

  • ProphetGk

    Derozan should start, with time he should develop into the second coming of Vinsanity..

  • chris botch

    only morons would start an unproven rookie nobody over antoine or marco. give it a break kids,mr.demar will be riding rookie pine.keep dreaming for your vince dunks you sad dummies.

  • Brown

    DeMar won’t start right away. He’ll have to earn it. At least the Raps have options at the 2/3 unlike years past.

  • http://manilatonight.com solomon (el latino machismo)

    demar shouldn’t stay anywhere near antoine wright… he’d mess up the boy’s D, and teach him how to play lame ass D in clutch…

    ask carmelo :lol:

  • sk

    i’m not a toronto fan but they could be so fun to watch. marco is one of the better passing two guards in the league; so 10-15 mins a game, plug him at the 1, demar at the 2, hedo at 3, and bosh at 4. very very tall ball, but fast and entertaining.

  • Da_Griff

    If DeRozan can’t shoot, he will NOT fit into the Toronto system. He needs to be able to put the ball into the hoop, AND play D.

    Marco will be best off the bench as he is a total liability on D.

    I think Wright will get the starting nod. Hell, he started for Dallas and they have Jason Terry. Plus his D is good, and he can score if he needs to, and does not need the ball in his hands all the time like Hedo, Jose and Bargnani will (bosh creates his own ops).

    You read it here.

  • mrcanadian

    Too bad Gerald writes like a 7th grader.

  • mtindore520

    people dont relize he will develop his jumper, and it isnt exactly a J-Chill broken J…also in college and summer league he was usually the best player and was guarded very well, he’s gonna be left completely open for most the game because of all the scoring threats on the floor. Look at Trevor Ariza, he had a horrible J until he played with the Lakers and teams doubled off him, he came up big, i think DMDR will have a similar role for the Rapts…and his athletism isnt all he poses in terms of NBA skills, he plays tenacious defense, passes well, speed, strength, and driving ability. His athleticism is amazing just ask Kobe.

  • spirow

    Outta the top ten picks dd is the second best mid range shooter after curry. . . His mid range game isn’t week, he just needs tighter handles, it’s good he has the mid range game but the handles are necessary with higher defensive intensity. . . He’ll need to get better at driving and dribbling the ball. . . And three pointer he can work on after this year . . . Theres enough 3 point shooting to begin with. . .

  • NC

    Derozan will start for the season I think. I believe Marco is a great asset off the bench.

  • Banga

    They’re going to start DeRozan but at the end of the game you’ll see Marco or Jack in the game.
    Derozan brings his athleticism into the starting lineup and he’ll be able to run wild and do his thing. He won’t be looked at for scoring so he’ll have time to develop in the starting lineup.
    If he comes off the becnh he’ll be the focal point of the offense and his shooting deficiencies will be harder to mask.

    He may not be able to shoot but he’s the perfect complement in a starting lineup that is lacking athleticism

    Do you think the Raps will actually have 4 Euro starters if they start Marco???
    It’s more like 5 since Bosh’s Big Man game is more of a Euro Big Man game

  • UltimateRaptorsFan4

    The raptors will go far but i doubt it they will go past the 2nd round although I am a die hard fan

    Belinelli will be a big support off the bench and if they can put in hard work and patients into DeRozen they can be a playoff caliber team and especially with someone like Jack coming off the becnh

  • Big Smoke Gary

    DeRozan will start the whole year but only 20min/game. I think Belli splits the role with him and depending on situations (Protecting a lead or trying to catch up) and the hot hand it could be one of DeRozan/Belli/Jack or Wright finishing games at the 2.
    What’s more important satrting or finishing?