DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay need to spend a week in my kindergarten classroom learning how to share.
Over the first eight games of the season, DeRozan has attempted 142 field-goal attempts per game on 173 touches. Gay is even worse at 161 field-goal attempts on 201 touches.
It would be easier to accept this kind of shooting binge if either player was effective or on a hot streak, but Gay is ranked 222 in the NBA in points per possession (0.76) while DeRozan is ranked slightly better at 173 (0.81).
Combined, Toronto’s not-dynamic duo is shooting 35% from the field and accounting for 44% of Toronto’s field-goal attempts (303 of 680).
What all those stats boil down to is that whenever Gay and DeRozan touch the ball, it “sticks” and both players have become the definition of ball stoppers.
Not the kind of player, or even worse, players, you want on your team.
The ineffectiveness and borderline selfishness of both players alone are scary and hinders the Raptors from winning games, but what about the goal of developing Jonas Valanciunas? The talented Lithuanian showed promise his rookie season and then garnered MVP honors in the Las Vegas Summer League and continued to impress while playing for his country in August.
The strong play from Valanciunas caught the attention of Dwane Casey and his head coach vowed to give him more touches this season.
However, eight games into the season, Valanciunas is averaging only 8.3 field-goal attempts and getting only 10.1 touches per game. It’s not like he’s stinking it up, as he’s shooting 50% from the field, 73% from the free-throw line, and he’s averaging 9.6 points.
For a point of comparison, Gay is averaging a team-best 19.3 points but is requiring 20 field-goal attempts to do that. DeRozan is averaging 17.8 points but requiring nearly as many field-goal attempts (17.6).
Besides losing games, Toronto runs the risk of stunting the development of a player the front office has admitted as the only untouchable on the roster and a building block for the future.
Hopefully the team is able to teach Gay and DeRozan how to share, or at least to be a little more shy when it comes to shooting the ball. If not, it will stunt the development of Valanciunas and prevent the Raptors from winning games this season.