Raptors' DeRozan scoring more

March, 18, 2010

Until he starts doing more than score points, it's going to be hard to sing DeMar DeRozan's praises too much as a fantasy player, but the Toronto Raptors rookie is doing some seriously efficient scoring these days, and -- given his athletic ability -- the potential for fantasy success seems to be there.

David Lee, Knicks: 29 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists against the Celtics.
Caron Butler, Mavericks: 27 points (6-11 FG, 14-16 FT), 5 rebounds against the Bulls.
Aaron Brooks, Rockets: 31 points (11-14 FG), 7 3's, 5 rebounds, 4 assists against the Grizzlies.
Courtney Lee, Nets: 2 points (1-8 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists against the 76ers.
Marvin Williams, Hawks: 2 points (1-10 FG), 4 rebounds against the Raptors.
Tim Duncan, Spurs: 5 points (1-10 FG), 6 rebounds against the Magic.

In the past few weeks, DeRozan has firmly established himself as the Raptors' starting shooting guard and has been slowly gaining ground in the playing-time department. Wednesday night's performance against the Atlanta Hawks that snapped the Raptors' five-game skid should help him solidify his role even more; he finished with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor and is now averaging nearly 15 points per game on better than 50 percent shooting from the floor over his past five games overall.

Unfortunately, as I said above, the current version of DeRozan is nearly useless in fantasy no matter how many points he scores. Sure, he helps you in field goal percentage, but he's not anything special as a free-throw shooter, and he doesn't really rebound, get assists, or rack up numbers in the defensive categories. Right now he's a one-trick pony. Still, if you're considering guys who might make huge leaps next year, consider DeRozan. He's already an efficient scorer, and he's got the athleticism to be the rare sort of player who contributes in blocks and rebounds from the guard position. He's a decent bet to make a huge leap forward next season.

Looking Back

Hasheem Thabeet had his second straight pretty good performance for the Memphis Grizzlies in their loss to the Houston Rockets, finishing with eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. It seems pretty clear that Thabeet will get blocks when he plays, but you can expect his minutes to slip back into irrelevance when Marc Gasol returns from his neck injury. … Acie Law and Flip Murray each have been productive for the Chicago Bulls in Derrick Rose's absence, but with Kirk Hinrich back playing huge minutes and Law and Murray splitting minutes, it's too much to hope Law and Murray will continue scoring double figures off the bench. … Paul Pierce isn't putting up his usual all-around numbers of late, but it would be a mistake to claim that he's slipping as a scorer. After putting up 29 points in 24 minutes against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, he's averaging 19.2 points per game in just 25.8 minutes over his past five games. I still think he's a good bet to stay productive for the rest of the season. … Theo Ratliff continues to get regular minutes for the Charlotte Bobcats, and as long as that's happening, he's certainly a hard guy to ignore if you're desperate for blocks after picking up five in his past two games. … Chris Douglas-Roberts had a nice game for the New Jersey Nets in their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, scoring 23 points in 26 minutes. He was a pretty good fantasy option to start the season, and if you're desperate to take a chance on a guy who could help you in scoring, he's worth watching down the stretch. … Jrue Holiday has been playing extremely well lately, and looks like a great option down the stretch and for next season. He's averaging 13.6 points, 6.2 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.8 3-pointers over his past five games, and has the potential to play like that on a regular basis given the opportunity. … For the Golden State Warriors, who are missing nearly half their roster for the rest of the season, it's time to start looking at guys like Chris Hunter (17 points, 8 rebounds against the Hornets on Wednesday night) and Reggie Williams (22 points, 8-for-11 from the floor) as important fantasy options down the stretch. Because it's the Warriors, you can't rely on guys to be consistent every night, but most nights they are going to put up pretty good stats considering the pace they play.

Looking Ahead

Carlos Arroyo has been much less than stellar filling in for Rafer Alston as the Miami Heat's starting point guard. Fortunately for Arroyo, Mario Chalmers has been no better, and so the job remains Arroyo's for now. Normally, that still wouldn't mean much for fantasy, but the Orlando Magic, despite their great defense, have a tendency to give up some production to point guards, and if nothing else Arroyo should at least be able to help you out in assists based on minutes alone. … If you are playing the hot hand in the Hornets' backcourt while they wait for Chris Paul to return from injury, it's worth taking a look at Morris Peterson, who has scored in double figures in three consecutive games while knocking down a ton of 3-pointers. Those trends should continue against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, although Peterson remains a shaky long term option because of the tremendous recent play from Marcus Thornton.



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