Brandon Tierney is not a DeMar DeRozan guy. He doesn’t think DeRozan is a bad player, but in no way does he think he’s a great one. In fact, Tierney thinks DeRozan is the most overrated star in basketball.
“Anybody that’s the best player on a team that can win a playoff series is a great player,” NBA analyst Greg Anthony said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You got to start with that premise. Now, DeMar DeRozan was a dog last night. I’ll be the first to admit he was not a good player. But let’s go back one series when Toronto was getting it handed to them. Who was the guy that carried them? Who was the best player in that series. Let’s be honest. Think about how many great players can’t even get in the playoffs and then how many great players can’t win a playoff series. Think about Tracy McGrady, as great as Tracy was – one of the all-time best. How many first-round series did Tracy win?”
Zero – unless you count riding the bench for the Spurs in 2013.
That’s fair, Tierney said, but no team will win an NBA title if DeRozan is its best player.
“I will not argue with you there,” Anthony said. “But is it your fault if you’re not as good as LeBron or Curry or Durant?”
No, but shouldn’t DeRozan – a shooting guard – shoot better than 21.5 percent from three in the playoffs?
“You’re basing it on him being a three-point shooter,” Anthony said. “Great players are great when they play to their strengths, not their weaknesses. Now if he was shooting 12 threes a game shooting 20 percent, I would have a problem with that. But he plays to his strength. Listen, I’m not saying he’s a top 5 or 10 player in the league, but he’s a great player. I can’t take that away from him. He is a great player.”
DeRozan averaged a career-high 27.3 points per game this season, but he had an awful showing against Cleveland on Wednesday. He scored five points on 2-of-11 shooting, as Toronto lost to the Cavs, 125-103, to fall behind 0-2 in their second-round playoff series.
“DeMar DeRozan was horrible last night,” Anthony allowed. “He was absolutely horrible. Without a doubt, one of the worst performances you will see on that stage. But I can’t let that speak to who he is as a player. Listen, the guy just went to the conference finals last year. He comes back this year when they had their backs against the wall down 2-1 against Milwaukee having to go on the road, he had a monster performance in that game.”
DeRozan scored 33 points in an 87-76 Raptors win to even the series.
“They go on to win it in six,” Anthony said. “We can’t be prisoners of the moment. I can appreciate you not liking certain guys as much as others, granted. But DeMar DeRozan has been in the playoffs for about five years now. Let’s have perspective. It is hard to win a playoff series even for great players.”
Don’t think so? Ask Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins and see what they say.
“There’s a lot of great players that aren’t getting into the playoffs,” Anthony said. “That’s all I’m saying. He’s not one of the five best players, but he’s a great player, and let’s face it: He’s not playing with a team that’s built like Golden State. He doesn’t play with three other Hall of Famers. He’s not paying with LeBron James, best player in the world. All you can do is play with what you’ve got. He’s got a solid team.”