“DeMar is probably my toughest cover,” Mann said July 31 on “Podcast P with Paul George”. “I don’t have nobody else that I have problems with, not even P over here. But I mean, yeah, as a young player, and a young defender, you want to make plays. And he’s gonna exploit that.
“He knows you’re in there, you’re trying to make plays. So, my first couple years, he’s pump faking, ball faking, his footwork is getting me in positions where I’m out of position. He knows I’m gonna bump him, foul. So, if I would have played the whole game, I would foul out guarding him back then.”
It was not the first time that Mann said that DeRozan is a difficult matchup for him.
George also acknowledged his difficulty covering the Bulls star, telling DeRozan in May that he had a “problem” dealing with DeRozan dating back to their matchups in high school in the Los Angeles area.
DeRozan, appearing on “Podcast P” in May, told George that he had a read on Mann’s tell, adding that he looks for a weakness in every matchup.
“It goes back [to] how you could pay attention to offensive guys’ tendencies. You can pay attention to the defensive guys’ tendencies too,” DeRozan said. “Once I get any type of tendency that you give away to me defensively, I’m a milk it every time you guard me. And it always works with young guys because you just not disciplined. … And he has a tendency to give it away.”
DeRozan also told the story about getting Mann during the 2021-22 season.
Mann insisted that those days are gone.
Terance Mann ‘Excited’ to Face DeMar DeRozan Again
“Now I know what I’m doing,” Mann told George. “This year, I knew what I was doing. Didn’t jump for no pump fakes – he’s gonna try that pump fake bull all year next year. Not happening. I’m not going for that. I am excited for this.”
DeRozan, who turns 34 on August 7, averaged 20.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in two games against the Clippers this past season, both of which were Bulls losses. His 52.6% true shooting mark in those games was his seventh lowest against any team last season, and he averaged just 4.5 free throw attempts per game.
Mann held him to four points on 1-of-2 shooting with one turnover in under three minutes across both matchups, per NBA.com.
Despite the short time he spent guarding DeRozan’s shot attempts, the overall effort is notable.
DeRozan averaged 7.1 free throw attempts and 59.2% true shooting on the season. And the year before, DeRozan averaged 42.5 points in his two matchups against the Clippers including the 50-point game that led to his story on George’s podcast, a 135-130 Bulls win in overtime.
DeMar DeRozan Giving the Game Away
A noted master of the mid-range — where few players operate as effectively, making it rare for defenders to encounter — DeRozan ranked 18th in personal fouls drawn per game last season. He also ranked in the 95th percentile in the percentage of shot attempts that drew a foul and has ranked no lower than the 89th percentile in his career, per Cleaning the Glass.
“I always try to explain this to a lot of younger guys,” DeRozan told George. “Think about it like in boxing terms: You’re getting 10th, 11th round you, dead tired, you start dropping your hands a little bit. It’s the same with how a defender may guard me.”
This is where DeRozan’s reputation as a fourth-quarter maven comes into play.
“I know in the fourth quarter, I know you tired, so you not fully focused on this spot,” he continued. “And you probably already feel against the gun because I probably got 30 points. Now, you want to stop that bad. I’m gonna dribble real hard right there and pump-fake knowing you’re gonna jump.”
If any of it pays off for the Bulls, we’ll be hearing tales such as this about those other players.