The biggest blockbuster trade of the NBA offseason happened the morning of July 18th when All-Star DeMar DeRozan was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for All-Star Kawhi Leonard, but does this mean this is the start of DeRozan’s downward slope for his NBA career? Absolutely not.
DeRozan’s career will continue in San Antonio and has the opportunity to skyrocket playing under Coach Gregg Popovich. After winning just 47 games last season, the Spurs are satisfied with the addition of All-Star DeRozan. DeRozan brings his selfless skills to the table and can commit to the higher efficient defensive team. Last season, the Spurs only finished 1.0 higher in the rankings than the Raptors did in defensive efficiency at 102.4 (4th in the NBA).
His career in Toronto was successful. He leads the Raptors franchise in multiple offensive categories: most points with 13,296, most games played, most field goals made and attempted, most free throws made and attempted, most 2-point field goals made and attempted, but also most turnovers. DeRozan played 80 games in 2017, averaging 23 points per game and 45.6 percent shooting.
DeRozan expressed his love for the Raptors organization and the fans on Instagram after the trade.
Words could never express what you’ve meant to me. I was just a 19 year old kid from Compton when we first met, but you took me in and embraced me as one of your own. I am so grateful for the Love and Passion that you’ve given me over the past 9 years. All I ever wanted to do was duplicate it 10x over just to show my appreciation. Thank you Toronto, thank you Canada. #Comp10 #ProveEm
Some NBA players were not happy to hear about the Raptors letting their star player go, and said it was about loyalty.
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) July 18, 2018
Just learn from my story! Loyalty is just a word in this game SMH
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) July 18, 2018
DeRozan has had some incredible finishes at the rim over the past years in Toronto that many fans will not forget. What new, vicious dunks will we be seeing next season from DeRozan as a Spur?
Happy Birthday to DeMar DeRozan.
He’s given us some great posters over the years. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/8p8z0MFrUG
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) August 7, 2018
No one expected DeRozan to be traded from a franchise that was all for him, or at least thought to be for him. DeRozan still has $83 million left on his 3-year contract, with an early termination option. Toronto fans respect DeRozan for what he has done for the city. However, now he has the opportunity to shine with the Spurs under Gregg Popovich.
What will be interesting about DeRozan playing alongside players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay is his “Spur” attitude that he already has. He is a great teammate where you haven’t heard one bad story about him in Toronto, he plays defense at a high level, and he won’t have anything “over the top” to say during an interview and talk about the team.
The mid-range game will be very important for DeRozan on his new team. The Spurs placed 3rd in the league for percentage of mid-range points last season and DeRozan has always been a mid-range killer. That style of play will continue to help the Spurs dominate with the mid-range game.
Spurs fans, get excited, because your soon to be All-Star Spur, DeMar DeRozan, will help bring this team back to the top in the Western Conference.