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DeMar DeRozan is dominating from a part of the floor no one else even shoots from

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He’s defying every analytic trend and dominating all the same.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

There’s two ways to look at DeMar DeRozan’s season this year.

The first is delight, with a good bit of incredulity mixed in. DeRozan has been a great scorer throughout his first seven years in the NBA, but nothing indicated his sudden leap at age 27. Currently, DeRozan leads the league in scoring, averaging 34 points per game

The other is to appreciate DeRozan as a balancing act to the modern NBA, a player who’s leading a revolution that goes directly against its modern grain. DeRozan is feasting on mid-range jump shots like no one else in the league. Forty-six percent of his points this season have come from shots hit in the 8-to-24-foot range, where he’s shooting 54 percent.

Meanwhile, he’s only made a total of three three-pointers so far this season, so that’s barely a factor. He’s taking shots at the rim, but at a rate well below the one you’d expect from the guy with way more points than anyone else.

DeRozan is taking the NBA back to 1985. It’s both a joy to watch and, so far, a successful formula for the 7-2 Toronto Raptors.

DeRozan isn’t just shooting really well from the mid-range. He’s outperforming entire teams.

DeRozan is averaging 4.9 shots in the 10-to-14-foot range this season, making 2.9 of them. His attempts and makes are both leading the league by a huge margin. Russell Westbrook is the next-closest in both categories, and he’s at 1.7 makes on 4.2 attempts.

Take a broader look at those numbers, and they are even more ridiculous. The Houston Rockets are averaging 3.1 attempts from 10 to 14 feet as a team this season. The Brooklyn Nets are averaging 3.2 attempts. DeRozan is taking more jumpers from 10 to 14 feet than five entire NBA teams and making more than nine other franchises.

Every shot taken from 10-14 feet this year
Via NBA.com/stats

DeRozan’s doing the same thing from the 15-to-19-foot range, too. His 3.9 made shots per game from the area is better than 10 entire teams, and his 7.4 attempts leads the next-closest player (Harrison Barnes) by two full attempts per game.

Every shot taken from 15-19 feet this year
Via NBA.com/stats

DeRozan takes a whole lot of shots in general, but the fact that’s he’s able to outshoot entire teams in the mid-range so far this season speaks to how far the NBA has shied away from that area. Those shots aren’t usually as efficient as a layup or three-pointer, but they are for DeRozan.

There’s more to DeRozan’s act than just being the The Lone (Mid) Ranger, of course. He gets to the line 10 times per game so far, and his 5.8 made shots within five feet of the basket puts him No. 29 in the league.

But try to convince me that a player that hasn’t cracked the top 25 in shots made around the rim and doesn’t make three-pointers is leading the NBA in scoring, and I’d laugh in your face. As the modern NBA hones in on long balls and rim attacks, DeRozan’s first nine games have been a glorious, remarkable outlier.

The question looming over everything DeRozan does is whether he can sustain it, though.

If DeRozan averaged 34 points across nine games in February, we’d note his hot shooting streak, but do little more than that. Since he started the year like this, though, it’s impossible not to wonder if he can carry on.

Nine games is a small sample size, and much too small to predict another 73 games’ worth of results. DeRozan’s mid-range percentages are almost guaranteed to fall — 55 percent is just too high for that 8-to-24-foot range. Kevin Durant led the league from that area last year with a 49 percent mark on several fewer attempts than DeRozan is taking this year.

The question for DeRozan is: how much? A drop from 55 percent to 49 like Durant means DeRozan could easily still average 30 points this season, even if the mid-30s quickly fall out of reach. If that numbers falls to 45 percent, then DeRozan’s path becomes even more difficult. Of course, the worst-case scenario is a complete regression to the mean. Last year, DeRozan shot just 40 percent overall from that 8-to-24-foot range.

Still, DeRozan looks more than comfortable with this style, enough that it doesn’t feel like he’s a supernova that’s bound to fade away any minute now. Statistics say it’s unlikely, but maybe DeRozan just keeps making these shots forever and averages a gaudy number of points this season. The way he dominated the Knicks, to use just one of his nine games as an example, certainly doesn’t feel like he’s exerting his best effort — and he still ended up with 33.

Regardless whether the drop off comes — and OK, yes, it almost certainly will — DeRozan’s game is still hearkening back to the older days.

It’s honestly refreshing. It’s not that three-pointers are bad or that there should be fewer of them, but everyone could use some nostalgia now and again. To see a player go against every offensive norm that has been erected over the past decade and thrive anyway is heartwarming. It’s an underdog story in one sense, if you ignore DeRozan was already a wildly successful basketball player before he emerged into the league’s best scorer for nine games.

Maybe Sports Illustrated really is to blame for this all. Maybe it’s just a hot streak that coincided with the start of the year. Maybe the Kobe Bryant mid-range mantle had to be assumed by someone and DeRozan was the only one who it fit.

Whatever it is, and for however long it’ll last at this peak, take a second and appreciate it. You may not get many more chances to watch a player dominate in quite this way.