#Proveem continues to be the motto for Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan.
Still stinging from being ranked 46th by Sports Illustrated’s preseason player rankings, DeRozan sounded off on Thursday about his paltry mark.
“Whoever came up with that is stupid in my opinion,” DeRozan told TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. “I guarantee you a lot of the players that are ranked ahead of me know that they’re no better than me.
“And that’s not just me being arrogant or nothing like that, it’s just proven. I mean, line me up with any one of the guys that you’ve proclaimed that’s ahead of me, or whatever, I’m going to win the battle or whatever I gotta do with my teammates,” he continued.
DeRozan is coming off a career year where he led the Raptors to a franchise-high 56 wins, reached the Eastern Conference Finals, secured his second All-Star nomination, and won an Olympic gold with Team USA.
His final line for the season read 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and four assists – hardly befitting of a 46th-ranked player.
Compare that to some of the names ranked ahead of DeRozan. Rudy Gobert (ranked 33rd) is an all-consuming shot-blocker, but he’s yet to earn any accolades of note. The same can be said of Steven Adams (ranked 40th).
But as SI mentioned, DeRozan does have weaknesses in his game. His shot distribution – largely localized to the inefficient mid-range area – is far from ideal. He also graded out as one of the worst defenders at his position last season by various advanced metrics.
All DeRozan can do in the face of critics is to continue improving. The 26-year-old has added something to his game in every season of his career, and in the process, he’s proven a lot of people wrong.
“It’s always going to be that. That’s the beauty of this sport and being in a competitive sport like this. It’s always going to be that. No matter what you do they’re going to count you out, they’re going to say ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ It’s on you to put the work in and be better the next year,” DeRozan added.