You might have noticed Doc Rivers approach DeMar DeRozan at the end of the Celtics 93-79 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday evening.
While the coach had a few words for the young Raptors’ player, I don’t have them for you. Why? Because I was trying to wait out the rest of the media so I didn’t have to ask him in the huddle…the same thing the rest of the media was trying to do. In our quest to get the quote solo, none of us ended up with quote and it’s likely one of the guys who is traveling to Chicago will grab it from him today. At least, I hope.
Anyway, while we don’t know what Rivers said to DeRozan, we do know his thoughts on the second-year player’s growth. In Rivers’ postgame media scrum, he was asked about the improvements DeRozan has made to his game.
Rivers didn’t hold back the praise, saying,
“He’s playing terrific. I don’t think he gets enough news or credit, probably, because of their record. He’s playing great basketball. He really is. He’s improved his little in-between game. He attacks the basket. He gets to the basket every night. He creates fouls. He plays hard. He’s a great find for them. He’s playing terrific.”
As someone who gets to coach vets like Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, along with one of the most electric point guards in the game in Rajon Rondo, it’s nice to hear Rivers say the Raptors have a fine player in DeRozan. The verdict was the same along press row, where I sit by the visiting writers. The same guys who were not sold on him during preseason were raving about the potential and how much trouble he causes by attacking the rim.
While it’s been a tough patch for the Raptors with all of the injuries they’ve had, the silver lining is that DeRozan realized he had to be the guy to step up offensively and he had to be aggressive every night. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold with Andrea Bargnani back in the lineup, but for now, take a little bit of enjoyment out of the play of on of Toronto’s young guys.