Basketball: Dominican Republic at USA

DeMar DeRozan has brought a different kind of swagger to Team USA leading into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, though some of the things he hasn’t done haven’t connected with head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

In the United States’ 107-57 win over China on July 26 in an exhibition game, DeRozan attempted a 360 dunk against a defender that he was unable to finish.

After the game, Krzyzewski offered this comment to reporters about his team’s performance, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

In an interview with Michael Lee of The Vertical, DeRozan jokingly acknowledged the attempted dunk was a mistake:


What the hell was I thinking? I have no clue, from start to finish, what I was trying to do. I’m used to doing the [360] layup. Before you know it, I’m just hanging on the rim. Even if I would’ve made that, how crazy that would’ve been. When you do something, you really don’t realize in the moment, or the time, the magnitude of it. Even with a miss, it’s talked about like it’s a made dunk, so it’s crazy.

DeRozan did not say he shouldn’t have attempted something he hasn’t finished but just that he should have taken a more practical approach with something he’s done in the past.

On a different topic, DeRozan is still a member of the Toronto Raptors after signing the third-largest contract in NBA history with the team earlier this summer.

Despite his new found riches, DeRozan told Lee he hasn’t “looked at it like [that]. It’s crazy when you do say it. But I’m going to go out there and play like I’m still playing for a contract.”

DeRozan said the biggest key for him in free agency this summer was “knowing what you felt comfortable with, what made you happy, where you want to play, I just wanted to get it over with, in a sense, just get it out of the way.”

The Raptors are the only franchise DeRozan has ever known since they drafted him ninth overall in 2009. He’s made two All-Star teams in the last three seasons and helped lead the team to a franchise-record 56 wins in 2015-16.

Yet, entering a season with high expectations after winning 56 games and playing in the Eastern Conference Finals isn’t changing DeRozan’s approach to things:

The beauty of playing basketball is being able to build yourself all the way up and then go back down and start all over again. It’s going to be a brand new challenge for us, with a couple of new guys and losing a couple of key players from last year. But starting the first day of training camp, it’s about laying that foundation of how great we can be, coming off the great season we had.

Last season was the best of DeRozan’s seven-year NBA career, finishing with 9.9 win shares, per He’s keeping his momentum going by playing for Team USA in the Olympics for the first time in his career.

Even with the failed highlight-reel dunk, DeRozan’s star continues to rise. He is a foundational building block and decided to remain in Toronto after having his choice of teams over the summer.

At 26 years old, DeRozan is still scratching the surface of what he is capable of doing. A potential gold medal leading into the next NBA season will be an appropriate stepping stone for one of the NBA’s brightest stars.

Courtesy:Bleacher Report


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