1. DeMar DeRozan (No. 42)
This is becoming something of an annual tradition now, isn’t it? Nevermind the fact that DeMar DeRozan has qualified for the All-Star Game in each of his two seasons with the Bulls and even earned All-NBA honors, the media will continue painting a negative portrait of the star forward likely up until the day he retires or joins the Lakers.
I’m not sure how many players in the NBA can consistently give you more than 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game on excellent efficiency, but it most certainly isn’t 41. It was one thing to downplay Caruso’s defensive intensity, but overlooking one of the league’s most dangerous offensive weapons feels unforgivable. There’s a reason why DeRozan is one of the NBA’s most respected players among his peers.
An All-Star like DeMar DeRozan should be not ranked anywhere outside of the NBA’s top 30 players.
But since the media constantly wants to downplay DeRozan’s accomplishments, I figure we can play that game too. Let’s look at the people directly ahead of DeMar in this list.
Evan Mobley? Disappeared in the playoffs. Paolo Banchero? Worse in virtually every stat other than rebounds per game. Cade Cunningham… only played 12 games last season, why is he even on here? Darius Garland? Missed the All-Star Game and isn’t even the best guard on his own team.
We could play this game all day, but it’s ultimately reductive and foolish reasoning. Just because DeMar has never been in a position where he doesn’t have to carry his team, and thus hasn’t achieved great playoff success, doesn’t mean he’s not a star in this league. I don’t see the Jrue Holidays, Brandon Ingrams, and Bradley Beals of the league getting docked for failing to carry their teams far in the postseason. Why is this exception almost exclusively applied to DeRozan? It’s time we finally start putting some respect on his name.