His work in the mid-range has become a trademark despite the NBA trying its best to move away from shots in that area of the floor. And, when that conversation comes up, DeRozan often feels it is aimed at him.
DeRozan, 33, is the poster child for working the mid-range, leading the NBA in shots from that region by more than 300 attempts from the player in second place, Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray. It was his second consecutive season atop the list and the third time in the last four seasons with an eighth-place finish in 2020-21 breaking up the run.
He has led the league in mid-range attempts four times total in his career.
DeRozan said he would look to take more threes next season as part of the continued evolution of his game during his exit interview on April 15. But he also tried to stress that he will always be more focused on perfecting his game.
He has shot 33.8% from deep over the last two seasons including 35.2% in 2021-22.
DeRozan is a six-time All-Star – including this past season – and three-time All-NBA selection entering his 15th season after averaging 24.5 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.6 rebounds for the Bulls in 2022-23.
DeMar DeRozan Among Elite Company
A stat line like that by a player at least in their 14th NBA season has happened just 12 other times in league history, per Stathead, with four instances occurring this past season.
And only four other players are on that list: the late Kobe Bryant (twice), Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry (once), Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns (twice), and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (seven times).
“If I could motivate the younger guys to still understand the fundamentals of the game where it all started, don’t lose sight of that,” DeRozan told Shumpert. “The threes, that’s cool. I’m not, I’m not never against that or anything. But sometimes it’s a complete game that you could have too, playing basketball. And I think so much of that gets lost by so many threes being shot.”
To his point, only 13 other players have scored at least 21,685 points with 1,566 three-point attempts or fewer in their careers as DeRozan has. He is one of just two players listed shorter than 6-foot-8 on the star-studded list joining Hall-of-Famer Adrian Dantley.
DeRozan is the seventh-leading active scorer in the league and 39th all-time heading into next season. He named Durant and his Phoenix Suns teammate Devin Booker as well as Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard as other players who still thrive in the mid-range.
DeRozan said his relationship with the younger players is a two-way street. He tries to give them the game of the NBA – he specifically noted “discipline” as his biggest message – while they help him stay adaptable. That much has been evident in his taking Patrick Williams and Dalen Terry under his wing.
But DeRozan also understands what being an example for the generations to come.
DeMar DeRozan: Drew League ‘What It’s All About’
“I played it for like, for a couple of reasons. One, I remember my dad, when I was 14…just threw me out there and just getting my a** busted,” DeRozan said. “The other reason…is because, if I could be any hope to these kids to come see me play, that’s what it’s all about.”
DeRozan also said that he is looking to “turn up” the Wilson Chi-League pro-am.
The league’s next round of games is scheduled for July 29 with the semi-finals on August 5 and the finals on August 13.