The San Antonio Spurs won less than 50 games for the first time since the 1998-99 season when they won just 37 games. The Spurs still managed to win 47 games with their star Kawhi Leonard only playing in nine games. The Spurs also managed to the be number one in opponent’s points per game and 3rd in defensive rating while their best defensive player played nine games.
Of course, all eyes will be on the new addition DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is not a better player than Kawhi but Spurs fans won’t have to question whether he wants to play or not. DeRozan just works on his game and each season he comes in and shows out during the regular season. After averaging a career high 27 ppg, the Raptors wanted him to be a better playmaker so he took less shots and averaged a career high in assists.
DeRozan loves a good 2-point shot but he had the critics and embraced a new offense the Raptors wanted to run so he took more 3-pointers. He didn’t hit them at a high rate but compared to his other seasons it was an improvement. With all hate DeRozan receives you might forget he was 2nd team All-NBA last season along with his teammate who also gets a lot of hate LaMarcus Aldridge.
Both players might have had their best seasons as pros last year but that doesn’t mean the Spurs system can’t make them look better together. The Spurs were at the bottom of the league in terms of 3-point attempts so expect them to stay around there. They should see an improvement in free throw attempts with the addition of DeRozan; he does a good job of drawing fouls.
In terms of defense the Spurs system can make DeRozan look like a decent defender. Remember they played a lot of games with Patty Mills, Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Kyle Anderson and Rudy Gay but still had a great defense.
DeMar should fit right into this Spurs system and have another great season although he may not be an All-Star in this loaded Western Conference. However, can another stellar regular season transfer to the playoffs? DeRozan has struggled in the postseason particular against LeBron James led teams. How ironic would it be if the Spurs met the Lakers in the playoffs and DeRozan had to face LeBron James in the playoffs again?