Acquired for his defense, DeMarre Carroll can score the ball, it’s just he hasn’t shown that side of his game very often in Toronto. However, recent tends suggest that may be about to change. This “3-and-D” specialist has been averaging 18.8 points over his last four games and he says we’ve all just forgotten about his scoring. He can be a big offensive threat too.
“Many people forget when I was with Atlanta I had 20 points plus eight straight playoff games,” Carroll told Pro Bball Report. “I can score the ball. My main focus has always been on defense, but offense is second nature to me. I am getting the ball in rhythm and that’s always a positive.”
Carroll became an efficient double-digit scorer in Atlanta and in his final season with the Hawks, he had a six game playoff run over the first two rounds that averaged 22 points per game shooting 56.3 percent from three and then he put up two double-doubles averaging 17.5 points and 10 boards to help close out the Wizards in six games and advance to the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavs.
It wasn’t known at the time, but when the Toronto Raptors signed DeMarre Carroll as a free agent, he was still having problems with his knee that had first showed up in that ECF against the Cavs and it eventually cost him most of last season.
The Raptors were still concerned about Carroll’s durability heading into this season, resting him on back-to-backs and watching his minutes, but that’s all over now. Carroll’s knee isn’t hurting him after games any more.
“It’s gone (knee problems), now I can just focus on my game,” Carroll said. “Last year was always about (that). This year was I hope my knee don’t hurt tomorrow. Now my knee is good.”
Carroll has averaged 34.1 minutes over his last six games, up from 25 minutes in his first 29 games where the Raptors also gave him five games off thru early December.
But it’s more than just Carroll feeling stronger and no longer worrying about his knee. The Raptors are adjusting their style of play to reflect the offensive surge in the NBA this year and, possibly, taking advantage of what Carroll can do now.
“(Carroll) is being aggressive,” Cory Joseph said. “Finding his spot and getting more comfortable. Last year he was battling with his knee.”
“(We’re) getting out and running more, a lot more,” Carroll said. “That’s playing to my (strength). I like to run. I am an athletic guy. There’s where I shoot the threes.
“Earlier in the season I was trying to come back and get a feel (for the game.) We was playing slow down basketball. Now we are running more and it’s conducive to the style I like to play.”
He’s all the way back. Healthy, productive and ready to give Toronto what was promised when he signed as a free agent two summer ago and to keep up in a league that’s gone three-point crazy, the Raptors are going to need him.
“We have to score the ball,” Carroll said. “I think that’s just because teams are stretching three-point line. That’s why people are scoring so much right now and it’s a positive. It fits a guy like myself who likes to shoot the three-ball a lot.”
A “3-and-D” Carroll who can play over 30 minutes per game and put up over 20 points on occasion is a huge add to Raptors rotation for the second half of this year and into the postseason.
Featured image courtesy of Larry Millson