After being part of the Select Team last summer, DeMar DeRozan has been named to the 27-man roster that will make up Team USA’s mini-camp this summer in Las Vegas.
The obvious positives here are that DeRozan will get some summer action in against the best young American players in the NBA and will hopefully use the camp as another instrument in helping him develop his game, but at the end of the day, this isn’t that selective of a group. Again, there are 27 guys that are going to be there (and this doesn’t include the cream of the crop names either), so it’s not exactly like the selection qualifies DeRozan as a bona fide young star.
Nevertheless, DeMar’s inclusion in the camp will likely once again spark up the debate among Raptors fans as to what exactly the 23-year-old’s future is in Toronto, if there even is one. DeRozan unquestionably improved his game last season, especially his court vision and play making, and he seemed to finally begin figuring things out from behind the arc over the final stretch of the campaign, but it’s still a major stretch to say that he improved by enough to justify his four-year, $38 million extension.
And that’s the difference when it comes to evaluating DeRozan’s worth this summer as opposed to previous years. We’ve always had questions about his development, his ceiling and his future worth to the Raptors in general. Only when we’ve raised those questions in off-seasons of the past, we were still talking about a young player on a rookie scale contract. Now, we’re asking a lot of the same questions, only DeRozan is set to earn $9.5 million next season and in the three seasons to follow.
Whether you’re looking for DeRozan to thrive in Toronto or just hoping he can raise his trade value by enough to give Masai Ujiri another option to consider, here’s hoping a strong performance at the Americans’ mini-camp is the first step to a successful 2013-14 season that finally sees DeRozan answer many of those omnipresent questions.