For the past few years, Demar Derozan has been considered to be a near elite player, with many obvious limitations. Perimetre shooting. Defence. As much as those have been expanded upon, his upside has also been touted. Low turnovers. Free throws. At the end of the day, can you really consider him elite, though? He certainly he thinks he is, tweeting out frustration over his ranking of SI.com recently. Nobody, not even the most arduent of Raptors fans, would belive that Derozan can be a Number one on a title winning team, or really as it stands the number two. Not in a league with Lebron and Durant.
But there lies the rub, and watch out because it’s going to get philosophical: Durant is technically the second best small forward in the league, right? Sure, he might be a perrenial MVP candidate, but at his position, he’s still second best with Leonard and George nipping at his heels. Point Guard has always been deep, Centre is getting an athletic revival via the past 4 drafts, and even Power Forward has been reinvented with elite jack of all trades like Green and Millsap at the top.
Which brings me back to Derozan, and more interestingly, his position as it currently stands. Harden is a PG, George and Butler are SFs, and Wade is now in the twilight of his career. Who else, but players with only one full season pedigrees like McCollum, Beal, and Middleton. If you think about it, Only Klay Thompson is in the way of Derozan being the best Shooting Guard in the league, but he will definitely settle for second.
With the league transitioning towards position fluidity, how important really is that asterisk? Second Best Shooting Guard *. I would argue that it is still very significant achievement, and here’s why: Teams still line up with five players beginning games, one for each position. In a league where every advantage is significant, Derozan lines up with an advantage over everybody but the Golden Boys from Oakland. He can punish two point guard lineups with his post ups, or even teams with a defence specialist at SG for Kyle Lowry (Detroit, anyone?) Derozan’s no role player. He’s a star. And not only is this league driven by advantages, it’s driven by stars. So throw that ranking and the backhand compliments back, Derozan. Prove everyone wrong. Show them why Toronto is so lucky to have the second best Shooting Guard. No asterisk needed.