The Reinvention of DeMar DeRozan

What is compelling about the San Antonio Spurs is they essentially morphed from the gold standard of egalitarian basketball, to almost the exact opposite. Gone are Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and their steadfast leadership. In their place the isolation-heavy LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. Neither could be perceived as Spurs-type players prior to their arrival in San Antonio both have gone through the Greg Popovich car wash and come out more complete.

DeRozan led the Toronto Raptors to multiple 50-win seasons by the side of Kyle Lowry being his yin to his yang. Lowry would move the ball, do the dirty work and DeRozan would shoulder the majority of the scoring burden. For years pundits wondered why someone so athletic and talented would not try to add a reliable jump shot to his game. DeRozan never really had to do anything beyond his comfort zone because he was so good at driving to the basket and beating defenders off the dribble.

Heading to San Antonio after being traded abruptly in the middle of the summer, DeRozan did not do what we all expected and suddenly become a sufficient defenseman and shoot more three-pointers. Instead, the Spurs car wash took in DeRozan and he came out a superior facilitator, averaging a career high in assists; generating 14.7 points per game thanks to his passing. In the last five-seasons in Toronto DeRozan averaged 10.3.

His previous career-high in defensive rebound rate was 13.6 percent, this season DeRozan sits at 16.7 percent. Throughout his career DeRozan’s been on the negative side of defensive box score plus minus, this is his first season on the plus side (0.3).

What’s outstanding is you would never have guessed this by watching DeRozan. He moves and plays seemingly the same way he did in his Toronto-days.

The Spurs this season aren’t impressive. Their roster is immensely underwhelming and lacking in what made them so special in the stays of Duncan. In the advanced metrics department DeRozan appears to be more of a hinderance on the Spurs; his mere existence costs them more games than he wins. Yet, advanced stats aren’t everything. They do not tell the whole story. Neither does the old-fashioned eye test. Sometimes the value of the simple box score tells more about a player than any complex metric you can find on NBA.com.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

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