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The Starting 5: Is DeMar DeRozan a Winning Player?

J.P. Wilson/Icon Sportswire

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet 

1. Can DeMar DeRozan be a winning player? – Reuben Dongalen, Raptors Cage

With Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan headed to free agency next summer, there’s been some talk among those who follow the team as to whether DeRozan will truly be worthy of the max contract he’ll likely be seeking. He’s averaging over 20 points per game and is an integral part of the Raptors’ offense. All the basic statistics will tell you that DeRozan is a huge part of what’s made the Raptors successful the last few seasons. But some other metrics and stats show how inefficient he is, leading to the question of whether he’s a smart enough decision-maker to be paid to be the “star” of the team.

2. This Week in the Bulls: Why can’t Derrick Rose make a layup? – Ricky O’Donnell, Blog a Bull

Derrick Rose’s struggles can at least be partly attributed to the fact that he’s been partially blind in one eye since the preseason, but things have gotten worse and don’t look to be getting better any time soon. In four games since returning from his ankle injury, Rose is shooting just 27.1 percent from the field. On the season, he’s shooting 39.4 percent at the rim. Ricky O’Donnell of Blog a Bull has a theory on what Rose might need to be doing differently to help his shooting percentages, and it’s something that fans were used to seeing Rose do before the fateful ACL tear: jump.

3. The Pocket Pass: The Philadelphia 76ers are going in two directions – Adam Mares, Hardwood Paroxysm

The 76ers are a bad team playing in a bad stretch of seasons where they’ve obviously tanked to try to assemble a roster of good, young, cheap talent that — they hope — will one day be able to transform into a winning team and lead them to dominance in the NBA. So far, the jury is out on how it’s working. The Sixers drafted Jahlil Okafor this offseason and have been operating with him in the post as one of their primary weapons. Complicating things is that they have Nerlens Noel, who doesn’t have the offensive skills that Okafor possesses but is much stronger on the defensive end. Playing them on the court at the same time has been a disaster, even more so than the normal dumpster fire that the 76ers have on the court. How do they solve this problem if they’re going to eventually take the next leap as a franchise?

4. Byron Scott Tells Media To ‘Relax’ About Nick Young Not Playing – Ryan Ward, Lakers Nation

After beating the Wizards in a quality victory, the Lakers went back to doing what they do — being dysfunctional and playing poorly in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. It’s the second game in a row that Nick Young has been hung with a DNP-CD, and head coach Byron Scott seemed a bit annoyed with the media when they inquired as to why Young can’t find his way into the rotation all of a sudden. The whole situation is very curious, given that Young had been shooting the ball well from long range (40.7 percent on threes), which is something the Lakers desperately need. Los Angeles ranks No. 24 in the NBA in three-point percentage.

5. Can Blazers Make the Playoffs? – McLayne Bertsch, Rip City Project

The Portland Trail Blazers lost several players in the offseason, including longtime star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Despite it all, point guard Damian Lillard has been fantastic for the Blazers this season, averaging 24.5 points and 7.1 assists in 36.6 minutes per game. C.J. McCollum has taken a huge step forward in his development as well, averaging 19.6 points per game and shooting it well from beyond the arc. McLayne Bertsch of Rip City Project wonders if the Blazers, who are currently 8-12 and just a game out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference, are good enough to make the playoffs?

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