DeMar DeRozan "I Am TORONTO"

DeMar DeRozan was born on August 7th 1989 in Compton, California. He played basketball for Compton High School and was ranked the #3 high school recruit in the country. After weighing his options DeMar decided to stay close to home and attend the University of Southern California, more commonly known as USC.

Once at USC DeMar quickly became a star with a 21 point and 7 rebound performance in the teams first exhibition game. DeRozan was a constant for USC in his freshman season as he played and started in all 35 regular season games. Over those 35 games DeMar averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and shot a solid 52% from the floor.

DeMar only spent one year with USC, deciding to forgo his remaining years at USC and declare for the NBA Draft. DeMar has stated that an attributing factor to his declaring for the Draft was he wanted to be able to take care of his mother who suffers from Lupus. DeMar was projected on most mock drafts to have been drafted between 5th and 10th overall. With the top 10 nearing a close DeMar wondered where his professional basketball career would begin. That question was answered for him when Canada's only NBA team came to the podium to make the 9th overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft.....

DeMar would make a significant impact on the Raptors starting in 65 games out of 77 played. DeMar played along side NBA All-Star Chris Bosh who was the face of the franchise. In DeMar's rookie season he averaged 8.6 points per game and just over 2 rebounds a game. Although many saw DeMar as the future of the Raptors, the teams then best player Chris Bosh was a free agent and coming off a very impressive season where he averaged a double-double. Chris's impressive 24 points and 10.8 rebound a night numbers drew interest from all over the league. On July 10th, 2010 Chris Bosh agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send him to Miami to join up with Dwayne Wade and LeBron James and eventually win two NBA titles. Most of the Raptors community was destroyed, but DeMar showed a cool confidence that he shared with Canada in one tweet...

The following season it was abundantly clear that this was becoming DeMar's team. After averaging only 8 points a game in his rookie year, he averaged 17.2 points 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his sophomore campaign. This along side his incredible Slam Dunk Contest the year prior asserted DeMar as a future star in the NBA.

Over the next two seasons DeMar continued to assert himself as an up and comer in the NBA averaging 16.7 and 18.1 points in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. At this point many were wondering when DeMar would have his breakthrough season and go from a kid with potential to a bonafide All-Star. The Raptors decided to make a trade to help aid DeMar in Toronto's search to make the playoffs and in the 2013 season the team traded for Kyle Lowry. In the duo's second year together DeMar shined averaging 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game. This impressive year earned DeMar a spot on the bench in the NBA All-Star Game. This made him only the fourth Raptor to ever make an All-Star Game. This year continued to impress as DeRozan helped the Raptors reach 48 wins, a franchise record, and make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Unfortunately for the Raptors they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. They went seven games with the Brooklyn Nets and ended up loosing game seven when Kyle Lowry's game winning shot was blocked by future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce.

Large expectations followed DeMar into the 2014-2015 campaign as fans expected him to build off of an All-Star year. Unfortunately DeMar suffered from some injuries in the year and missed 22 out of 82 games. His stats slightly dipped as he only averaged 20.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Again the Raptors and there dynamic duo found themselves in the playoffs. Unfortunately they found themselves once again making a first round exit after being swept 4 games to 0 by Washington. However with the 2015-2016 season on the horizon the Raptors expected a lot out of there team leader coming into his contract season.

The atmosphere in Toronto around the 2015-2016 season was electric! Toronto had made some big offseason moves and with All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan playing the best basketball of there careers the Raptors were set to make a name for themselves. Most time such high expectations are placed on a team, especially in Toronto, they tend to fail. However this team didn't just live up to expectations they surpassed them. The team put on a spectacle all year and about midway through the season it was time for the biggest spectacle to ever come to the Air Canada Centre, NBA All-Star Weekend. For the first time not only would Toronto host the game but it would also have two players, DeMar and Kyle, voted to the Eastern All-Stars team.

Together DeMar and Kyle had brought the Toronto Raptors into the spotlight of the NBA. DeMar continued dominating past the All-Star game even in times when Lowry struggled. He set a career high 23.5 point per game, while averaging 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists. His efforts were enough to get the Toronto Raptors there first 50 win season, ending with a franchise high record of 56-26. The Raptors went into the playoffs as the number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and were expected to bring the Raptors further in the playoffs then they had ever reached.

The Raptors first playoff series was against Paul George and the Indiana Pacers. An incredible seven game series, including a miraculous 4th quarter comeback in game 5 in which DeRozan lead scoring with 34 points. After winning the series in seven games the Raptors turned there sights toward South Beach and the Miami Heat. The Raptors again went the distance with the Heat winning the series in game 7 behind DeMar's 28 points. This was the first time in team history the Raptors had won two playoff series in the same year. For the first time ever the Raptors were going to the Eastern Conference Finals. However in front of them stood LeBron James and the 1-seed Cleveland Cavaliers. After starting the series off with two losses the Raps returned home to win the next two games. After a game 5 loss in Cleveland the Raptors were 1 loss from elimination, there last hope remained in Toronto and what has now become known as "Jurassic Park". Unfortunately the Raptors fans couldn't help push through a win, however the franchise got a slight peek at what DeMar has done for Canadian basketball when they saw there fans reaction to there loss. Even the legend LeBron James could not ignore it...

Although Toronto fans had just got a taste of what it was like to be an elite team in the NBA, it could all be washed away if DeMar leaves the Raptors. Going into the offseason DeMar was a free agent and could sign with any team in the NBA. Many feared he would flee Toronto to play for his hometown LA Lakers. However when he finally made his decision Toronto fans rejoiced after hearing just three words. "I AM TORONTO".

DeMar managed to not only remain with the Raptors but in the process became the second highest paid player in NBA history with a 5 year $139 million contract. This created a certain level of expectations from fans. It was no longer good enough to be a All-Star it was time to become a superstar! Although some may have taken it easy now that they were paid DeMar knew he couldn't let Toronto down. Now that the final game of the 2016-2017 season is over and playoffs is a few days away it is safe to say DeMar has not let down Toronto. DeRozan has been tearing up the NBA this year averaging 27.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists. These numbers were good enough to not only earn him his third All-Star game appearance but it reserved him a spot as the starting shooting guard for the Eastern All-Stars. With one electric scoring performance after another DeMar has catapulted his name into the discussion of 1st team All-NBA shooting guard, a feature once held by the greats like Michael and Kobe. With the playoffs tipping off tomorrow there is no saying where this Raptor team will end up but it is for sure that no matter where they end up DeMar DeRozan will take them there.

After only his eight season with the team it is clear that there has never been a more dominant Raptor than DeMar Derozan. He is not only the best Raptor on the team he is the best player in franchise history. He has amassed an incredible resume while in Toronto including, 595 games played (1st team history), 20,275 minutes played (1st team history), 4071 field goals (1st team history), 3078 free throws (1st team history), 11,456 points (1st team history), 2424 rebounds (5th team history), 1661 assists (5th team history) and 570 steals (3rd team history). With so many team records and top five finishes there is no doubt that DeMar is the greatest Raptor of all-time, and with four more seasons on his current contract he is set to eventually be the franchise leader in almost every category. No matter what generation you watched the Raptors in there in no denying that from Compton to Canada, DeMar DeRozan is the best basketball player Toronto has ever seen.

Created By
Mike Milner

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