Ranked 11th in the league in free-throw attempts per game at 6.5, DeMar DeRozan has no shortage of ways to get to the line, from seeking out contact at the rim to a deft use of pump fakes to get his defender up in the air.
The most interesting is a move that he seems to have made all his own in this league. It’s a funky variation on the Eurostep, which he’s used to his advantage for years. Here’s the second bucket he made as a Spur:
And here’s the move in question, one that happens not with the usual downhill momentum that players rely on with the Eurostep, but beginning from a stationary, face-up position in the half court:
It all happens pretty quickly, with the viewer left as nonplussed as the defender who’s just been baited into a foul call. When isolated and guarded closely, DeRozan will size his man up and subtly feint right before gathering his dribble across his body low — giving the defender a whole arm to make contact with as he pushes forward with his back foot — and taking one final lunge with his right leg to finish the play.
Here’s another look:
Here's how they normally turn out pic.twitter.com/rsaAMSL9lm— Bruno Passos (@bouncepassos) December 15, 2018
You’ll usually see DeRozan do this on one of two areas of the floor: either around the right elbow, or closer to the basket on the left baseline. Here he gets rookie Deandre Ayton on the switch and, rather than pull the action away from the basket, goes right at the seven-footer. He doesn’t get the call, despite an audible plea to the official, but still finishes at the rim.
Sometimes he gets the hoop and the harm:
As effective as plays like this can be, DeRozan doesn’t overdo it. The face-up Euro slots into a seemingly bottomless bag of tricks that he turns to depending on what the defense gives him. It’s also what makes him so unpredictable despite the glaring lack of a three-point shot: opponents can guard him close and risk sending him to the line, or they can give him some breathing room and give up the jumper. It’s a pick-your-poison scenario that plays out every time he has the ball in his hands.
Earlier this season, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle called DeRozan one of the best two-point scorers of all time for his ability to get to the line and “knock down everything from 19 feet in.” Spurs fans are getting an up-close look at why that might be the case.