As the rest of the NBA has placed tremendous value on spacing the floor and punishing opponents with a barrage of 3-pointers, DeMar DeRozan instead has posted the seventh most points in the NBA this season by relentlessly attacking the rim.
Instead of evolving as a long range shooter, DeRozan has accentuated his abilities driving the ball and scoring a the rim to average the ninth most points in the league.
The tactic has worked, as DeRozan is posting 23.2 points per game and has helped the Raptors win 11 consecutive games, the most in franchise history.
Much of the success has been derived from the ninth overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft from applying pressure on opposing defenses. DeRozan is driving to the rim an average of 11.7 times per game, resulting in 8.7 points per game.
Both statistics lead the NBA this season.
Once DeRozan drives, his athleticism and ability to finish at the rim, as he is converting 63.9 percent of his attempts, has propelled him to his second career All-Star appearance.
The path DeRozan is taking to the NBA bucks the trend of the rest of the league, as he has converted just 28 times from 3-point range, tying him for the 157th most in the league.
DeRozan ranks sixth on his own team in 3-point field goals made this year, and is making just 31.8 percent, three percent below the league average.
The 28 field 3-point field goals made are the fewest of any player ranked in the top-12 in scoring this season, with Brook Lopez, Anthony Davis and Andrew Wiggins being the only players in the top-25 in scoring to hit fewer 3-point field goals than DeRozan.
Instead, DeRozan slashes to the rim, resulting in 115 made shots from the field and allowing him to get to the free throw line frequently. DeRozan has knocked down 324 free throws, second only to James Harden.
The Raptors don’t need DeRozan to punish teams from long range, as long as he can bring it to the basket and pile up the points.
Biggest Surprise: Ryan Anderson– New Orleans Pelicans
Nearly 24 percent of the total points New Orleans scored during the past week came from Anderson. During the four game set, as the Pelicans scored over 100 points in each, Anderson produced a total of 105 points and converted 19 times from 3-point range. His average of 26.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game helped New Orleans close the week with a 3-1 record. Anderson has been especially potent from 3-point range, as he shot 51.4 percent from beyond the arc and converted an average of 4.8 times from downtown a night.
Biggest Disappointment: Mike Conley– Memphis Grizzlies
Shots simply weren’t dropping for Conley over the past week. In three appearances, the 28-year-old guard totaled just 25 points, even though he hoisted 37 shot attempts. The 8.3 points on 21.6 percent shooting from the field continues a trend for Conley, as he is shooting a career-low 40 percent from the field and his 34.8 percent shooting from 3-point range is his lowest since his rookie campaign. During the month of January, Conley has been performing as the 132nd best player in fantasy basketball, about 100 spots lower than his average draft position.
Pick ’em Up: Gary Harris– Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have been providing Harris with plenty of run over the past five games, keeping him on the floor for an average of 32.5 minutes per game. Harris has responded by producing at a third round value, posting 13.2 points, 2.8 steals, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. The former Michigan State star has connected at least once from 3-point range in each of his last 18 appearances and is shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc on the year.
Put ’em Down: C.J. Miles– Indiana Pacers
Indiana is shifting towards playing a more traditional lineup, meaning Paul George is moving back to the small forward position, bumping Miles out as a starter. The move has drastically reduced the time on the court for Miles and his scoring numbers have dropped significantly. After emerging as one of the biggest sleepers in fantasy basketball at the beginning of the season, the 6-foot-6 swingman has scored in double figures just once in his past nine games, after submitting seven 20 point performances in the first 25 games of the season.
Injury Watch: Hassan Whiteside– Miami Heat
A strained oblique has forced Whiteside to miss each of the past four games, but the Heat are listing him as questionable to return for Sunday’s contest against the Hawks. Whiteside hasn’t been in the lineup for Miami since Jan. 20, as he suffered the injury after playing just 10 minutes in a loss to the Wizards. Despite the time out of the lineup, no challenger has truly emerged as a threat to his block title this season, as Whiteside still has rejected 53 more shots than anyone else in the league.
Stat of the Week: DeMarcus Cousins– Sacramento Kings
The month of January went flawlessly for Cousins, at least until the final day. Cousins sprained his left ankle Saturday night against Memphis and needed to be helped off the floor. The team is listing him as day-to-day, giving the rest of the league a bit of reprieve from his domination. For the month, Cousins posted his best totals of the season in scoring, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, assists, steals and field goal percentage. His averages of 31.5 points and 12.9 rebounds per game makes him the second player in franchise history to average more than 30 points and 10 rebounds per game in a calendar month, joining Oscar Robertson.