One of the biggest surprises through the first couple of weeks of the season has been the play of Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan. He has been an offensive tear that has him leading the league in scoring. According to the Vertical, DeRozan has revealed his source of motivation to produce at this elite level.
He studied the work ethic of Kevin Durant, absorbed the confidence of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, and took note of how hard Kyrie Irving works at getting better at finishing at the rim. He learned leadership, something he says he and Lowry strive to be better at every day.
“We are always trying to be better leaders,” DeRozan said. “We’re a better team because of last season. We were tested at the highest level. We fought through two Game 7s. We went to a Game 6 in the conference finals. Nothing came easy. To go through something like that, it builds you. We have a better understanding of what it takes to win.”
It’s not surprising to hear as players have often stated that their time with Team USA has been vital to their growth as players. This is a time that allows them to pick the brains of many of the game’s best. For DeRozan, he was able to see what other stars around the league are doing to become better offensively each year.
The 27-year-old has used that to his advantage that is directly showing through his production on the court scoring more than 30 points in all but one game this season. It has put him in elite company, in the last 50 years joining Michael Jordan, World B. Free and Tiny Archibald as the only player that have begun a season with 30-plus points in eight of the first nine games. DeRozan has clearly taken his play to the next level.