We posted the first part of our convo with DeMar DeRozan on Friday afternoon. While that part was about looking back on last season, this one is about the L-word. No, not love or like or anything nice, I’m talking about this damn lockout. Here’s DeRozan on the possibility of going overseas, why the rookies are really losing out and when he realized that he’d be without his best friend when/if the lockout ends this season.
HM: So, about this lockout, have you talked to anyone for advice?
DD: I talked to a few guys and they just prepared me, telling me what to do, how to prepare. Hopefully it turns out for the best, but just be prepared for the worst at the end of the day. A lot of players that had been through it before.
HM: Have you spoken with anyone besides NBA vets about the situation?
DD: Coaches, old coaches. Even the fans, a lot of older guys who had been through the lockout, not necessarily players, people who remembered the lockout in ’99, when it took place. Cuttino Mobley has actually been talking me through it a lot. He’s been giving me a lot of advice and everything.
HM: What’s the main thing they tell you?
DD: Save your money.
HM: How did you feel when you heard that Sonny [Weems] was heading to Lithuania for the season because of this lockout?
DD: I was definitely happy for him because he’ll get an opportunity to play, but it’s funny. Last night my cousins were playing a game and I had realized like, man, if the lockout is over I’m not going to have my man Sonny out there playing with me. I think it hit me just last night that. Like, that’s not my teammate, I probably won’t be playing with him. You know what I mean? It was definitely crazy. It was crazy stuff. My cousins were playing a game and they were playing with the Raptors. And it was just funny because it was like, ‘Hey, next year my man ain’t going to be on the team with me anymore.’
HM: If you end up losing games, or a part of the season, besides the money, besides the checks that won’t come in, how does it feel to know that might happen?
DD: It definitely sucks. You know? Even though we haven’t missed any games or anything, it’s August. Usually guys would be in Vegas playing, and definitely would have been cool to go to Summer League to watch the guys, the rookies. It just sucks. I have a lot of friends that got drafted this year that are not able to go through the first year experience fully. They’ve got to go through this lockout. It sucks. It definitely sucks. It’s just something that’s a part of the business that we’ll have to get through it together as players.
HM: Derrick Williams said if he had known that he would miss a season, if the entire season is wiped and he would have known that before declaring for the draft, that he would have stayed in school.
DD: I’m definitely lucky for that because I know what it is to be a rookie, to have summer league, going into your first training camp. It definitely sucks that there’s a chance that these guys might not get to do everything.
HM: I know you’re close to a lot of the guys that were just drafted. Who do you think we should be on the look out for?
DD: I don’t know. It’s tough. There’s a lot of guys in the second round that I think could come out of their shells and play the game of basketball. It’s going to be interesting to see whenever we get to playing.
HM: What about overseas? Is that an option for you or is that not something you’re considering?
DD: It’s definitely an option. If it goes to where it looks like it’s going to be longer than what we think it is, it’s definitely an option. Just go over there and play basketball and then whenever the lockout is over, come back.
HM: You say “longer than we think it is”. Do you have a time frame in your head where you’ve decided, ‘When we get to this point, I’ll start looking,’ or do you talk to your agent and go from there?
DD: I’ll talk to my agent and go from there. See what’s the best time, see what’s the best deal. You know, I think everything is about timing so we’ll see.
HM: Right now, hopefully there’s a season in October and everything gets worked out. What are you working on trying to mprove upon? You mentioned your three-point shot. How’s it coming?
DD: It’s coming along great. It’s definitely coming along great. Everything I’m working on is coming along great. The biggest frustration I have every day is not knowing when you’re going to play. Just the question mark with everything is the tough part, but game wise everything is coming along great. I’m feeling really comfortable with everything I’ve been working on this summer.
HM: What are the biggest things you were trying to target? Obviously, you’ll tell me everything, but what do you most want to improve upon?
DD: Just get stronger, better shape than what I was last year. Tighten up my ball handling. Just study the game. A lot more of the screen and rolls, reading defenses. More of stufying things now, not just working out game wise. Just understanding more and put it into my game.