Welcome to Lakers LinkedIn, our new free agency preview series (inspired by our friends over at Liberty Ballers’ own "Sixers Tinder") where we look at the "resumes" of various free agents, and determine whether or not we think the Lakers should hire them. The Lakers are a natural destination for Los Angeles native DeMar DeRozan if he chooses to leave the Raptors, but should the front office bring him back from North of the wall?
DeMar DeRozan’s Resume:
-NBA-All Star: 2014, 2016
-US Men’s National Team, 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Champion
-2008 McDonald’s All-American
-Averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game in 2015-16
At 6’7" and 220 pounds with a preference for taking contested mid-range jump shots and hero ball, DeMar DeRozan bears a striking resemblance to a certain future Hall of Fame shooting guard that just left the Lakers. While DeRozan may be the homeless man’s Kobe Bean Bryant, his recent All-Star campaign likely represents the high water mark for his career and the Lakers would be wise not to buy high on his stock.
In many respects, DeRozan had a fantastic 2015-16 season. He and Kyle Lowry were one of the best backcourts in the league, both representing the Raptors in the All-Star game and winning a franchise record 56 games. The North even pushed the eventual NBA champion Cavaliers to 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Individually, DeRozan had his best season as a pro, with a 21.5 PER and his best FG% in 5 years despite a career high usage rate. Although never known as much of a stopper, DeRozan also put forth his best effort on defense in this campaign.
By all accounts, DeRozan will not be looking around this summer and is going to resign in Toronto, which may be for the best. Despite his incredible regular season, DeRozan looked terrible in the playoffs when teams were able to game plan for him. He shot under 40% from the field (including 15% from 3 point range), but continued to chuck almost 20 shots per game while the Raptors struggled mightily in what should have been a cakewalk to the Eastern Conference Finals. DeRozan’s issues were a huge part of their inconsistency, which should scare the Lakers away from trying to lure him with a max contract.
Should the Lakers hire DeMar DeRozan? No, they should let Toronto keep the band together. While it is tempting to see DeRozan as a veteran All-Star in his prime that could help at shooting guard, he is unlikely to fit Luke’s offensive system and has enough holes in his game that it is reasonable to question if you could ever win a championship with him as a max player.