The Toronto Raptors will be without Demar DeRozan tonight vs Miami and @ New York tomorrow at least. Jay Triano in an interview on the Fan 590 this morning confirmed that fact.He also brought to light that Demar already was dealing with a bad ankle and injured the other in practice yesterday. It is to bad because Demar seemed to be turning a corner averaging 10.8 points in his last 6 games. A return date is not known and you can say that Demar is for lack of a better term day to day going forward beyond Thursday.
Demar is set to be in a dunk off with Eric Gordon on All-Star Friday night at halftime of the Rookie vs Sophomore game as well. Hopefully these injuries will not impact on that. DeRozan will have something to prove as he was left of the roster for the Rookies in the game. Gordon will be playing in the game which sets up a rather odd dunk off at the half. Demar had started at the 2 spot for every game this season(Note For Idiots that picked Rookie Team ). I believe the only other player that has started every game at his position is Chris Bosh. Who will get the start at the 2 spot likely would be ether Marco Bellinelli who has been great off the bench. In fact so great you might want to leave him in that roll and start Antonie Wright who would be a better defensive option. Wright as well has been better ever since I slammed him in my mid-term grades here on the blog ironically.
Yesterday we already talked about the added importance of this game. If the Raptors win over the Heat tonight they will leapfrog them into 5th in Eastern Conference standings. It is the front half of a home/road back to back. The Raptors will take on the Knicks who lost by 50 at home to a team the Raptors beat in the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks had a nice bounce back vs Minnesota to wipe that bad taste out of their mouth.
But back to this Demar DeRozan not being on the Rookie Team. I always thought Demar would win the dunk off with Eric Gordon. Now personally I don't want him to just win I want him to smash Gordon and make it VERY OBVIOUS. In fact to be honest I think Demar would have a decent shot to win the whole thing. If the NBA wanted to motivate the young fella by dissing him in not having him in the Rookie/Sophomore game on Friday night might just do it.
This also sets up a situation in which Gordon having played a half of basketball will not be on a level playing field for this dunk in contest. Making it even more of an odd event. However in Raptor terms they just want Demar to get healthy and continue to improve. He now has some added motivation to finish the season strong and make folks take notice.
The one thing I am confident in is that DeRozan will not be phased by it and will continue working hard at his craft. Kobe Bryant gave the young fella some props when the Lakers rolled through town. However Kobe was not picking the rosters for the teams in the game. All Star Weekend as a whole is becoming more and more of a problem with stupid things like this. Allen Iverson starting for the East isn't right. An Event that I use to love is starting to become a bit of a joke. Lebron James backing out of the Dunk Contest and all of it is just leaving me feeling flat. Chris Bosh you would expect will be added to the East roster when the reserves are announced tomorrow. I think that is about as much a lock as you can get. If he is left off I think Canada should demand an investigation on his behalf.
Update 11:50am- Eric Koreen (National Post) wins the Twtter race with the info that it will be Sonny Weems not Belinelli or Wright getting the start tonight against the Heat. I believe this is Weems first start in the NBA and it seems kind of fitting that he would replace Demar as the 2 players seem to be joined at the hip at times.