The Raptors are currently riding a nine-game win streak, tied for the longest in franchise history, with most of the load carried from their all-star backcourt Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan, and without their free agent gem, Demarre Carroll.
When Demarre Carroll re-injured his knee, countless fans jumped to conclusions (after half a season), that he was a “waste of money”, ” he sucks”, or that “he can’t do anything but defend”. But I on the other hand bought his T-shirt, knowing that Demarre is a great player.
I’m pretty sure we all know what Demarre Carroll’s forte is. Lockdown defending. That’s the main reason Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri brought him in for. Sadly, being a pest on the defensive end doesn’t show up on the statsheet, and some fans just don’t understand that. Demarre Carroll does the dirty work, and fans need to start to appreciate that.
Demarre hasn’t been there offensively, and this is where he has disappointed. He’s on a new team, meaning new system, and he has to form some new chemistry, thus showing his struggles even though he has mirror stats from last season.
The different systems is the big reason that Demarre Carroll isn’t up to par offensively. Back in Atlanta, the Hawks played the San Antonio Spurs way, due to head coach Mike Budenholzer being a former coach from the Spurs. Atlanta constantly passes the ball waiting for the open man, meaning that Demarre would get a lot of touches. But as for the Raptors, most of their offense is ran through Lowry and DeRozan, and that means Carroll is usually waiting in the corner for an “open” three.
Here’s what I think. Demarre Carroll is that feisty defender no one wants to play against. He’s the toughness that makes the Raptors scary. Without him, when Toronto goes into tough buildings against tough teams like a Cleveland or a Chicago, they’ll easily get pushed around and get bullied as they have no lockdown defender. But with Demarre in there, he brings that “it” factor, not of skill but for his toughness, that defensive swagger, that the Raptors lack without him. Now teams won’t go hard as much with a beast such as Carroll.