- Maddie Meyer/Getty
DeMarre Carroll was one of the biggest winners of this NBA off-season.
Following two breakout seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, in which he became almost the epitome of the NBA’s in-demand “3 and D” player (can shoot 3-pointers and play good defense), Carroll signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Toronto Raptors.
Carroll’s contract caught many by surprise. Despite his importance to the Hawks – and to what any NBA team needs to exist today – it was big-time money for a role player, often one who had to do the dirty work on the Hawks.
Further, Carroll had jumped around the league since being drafted 27th in 2009, playing for five teams in six years while earning a combined $8 million. His ascendance into a near-max contract player caught some off-guard.
But Carroll, who calls himself the “Junkyard Dog,” feels he’s earned it, and that his play speaks for who he is.
“The guys who are blue-collar guys who play hard, you can tell that those guys have never had nothing handed to them,” Carroll told James Herbert of CBS. “Everything that they got, they earn. And then some guys that don’t like all the bumps and bruises, you can tell that they had an easy-going life and it came natural to them.”
Carroll told Herbert that as a leader with the Raptors now, he’s going to make teammates prove their worth:
“A lot of guys ain’t been through what I’ve been through. A lot of guys haven’t been shot while they were in college, haven’t had a liver condition. So I think I’ve been through tougher situations. It’s my job to be a leader and get guys who haven’t really been through a lot in their life to understand that this game ain’t promised to you.”
Carroll notes that, according to Herbert, he was once shot in college while helping intoxicated teammates leave a bar and avoid a fight, and he also was diagnosed with a liver disease later on.
The Raptors paid a big price to bring in Carroll not only to bolster their defense and shooting but also to add a grain of toughness to their team. From the early sounds of it, they’re going to get their money’s worth.