With one round of fixtures left, the 2019-2020 NBA regular season is drawing its curtains with the postseason playoffs on the horizon. Since the restart, most of the remaining playoff places which were up for grabs before the league’s suspension are all taken except for the 8th and final seed in the Western Conference. One team in the conversation for the last remaining 8th seed is the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio Spurs have been perhaps one of the few best teams since the restart. Since the restart of the season in Orlando, San Antonio Spurs have won 5 and lost just twice in their last seven games, giving them a 5-2 win-loss record. The impressive wins have also extended their win percentage to .457, giving them a slim chance of making the playoffs.
San Antonio Spurs’ form after the restart comes as a surprise considering their struggles in the league before its suspension. However, Spurs’ exciting and talented roster has stepped up and improved their performances in Orlando. Leading San Antonio Spurs’ charge for a potential appearance in the playoffs is Small Forward DeMar DeRozan, who is undoubtedly the best player on the team’s roster. There is no debate that without DeRozan this season, Head Coach Gregg Popovich and his San Antonio Spurs side wouldn’t even be in their current position and still retain a slim chance of making the playoffs.
DeMar DeRozan’s stats this season
DeMar DeRozan is having another excellent season at San Antonio Spurs after joining from Toronto Raptors with Jakob Poeltl in a trade deal that saw Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green heading in the other direction.
Initially, there were concerns that DeRozan would make an impactful contribution to the Spurs team despite his exploits at Toronto Raptors. However, after two seasons, DeRozan is by far Spurs’ biggest asset despite being 31 years old. This season, he has recorded significant numbers to carry the team all season. In 68 games this season, DeMar DeRozan has averaged 22.1 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 5.6 assists per game and 1.0 steals per game. He also has 53.1 for Field-Goal percentage and 25.7 for 3-point percentage. DeRozan has also recorded 84.5% for Free-throw percentage. His numbers for points per game averages ranks him 18th in the NBA leaderboards this season and also makes him one of the lethal players upfront, especially when it comes to tight games.
Aside from his scoring feats, DeRozan’s playmaking abilities have been impeccable. In several games this season, he has created a lot of openings for his teammates also to score. He has also helped the likes of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White to improve their game and play more prominent roles in the team’s offense.
DeRozan has also shown his willingness to adapt to unfamiliar roles in the Spurs team as he has shone in the Power Forward role in some games this season.
Despite his strength in the offensive department of his game, there is still room for little improvement in the defensive department of DeRozan’s game. His average numbers for steals per game this season (1.0) is the second-highest return from any San Antonio Spurs player this season. The only player who has more steals per game averages than DeRozan is Point Guard Dejounte Murray.
However, the issue DeRozan has on the defensive side of his game is his average numbers for blocks per game. His average numbers for blocks per game (0.3) is one of the lowest returns from any San Antonio player this season. DeRozan’s total of 30 blocks is his lowest return in the last six seasons.
Despite his weaknesses in defense, DeRozan has been effective in keeping possession of the ball and popping up with individual brilliance when the game is on the line. It was evident in the closing period of Spurs’ second game after the restart against the Memphis Grizzlies. With the score close late in that game, DeRozan kept the ball, calmly moved past the 3-point line and scored two crucial free-throws to close out the game and ensure his team got a vital win.
He also provided another individual brilliance in their recent 122-113 win over New Orleans Pelicans. In that game, Spurs lead looked to be in jeopardy after a -13 third quarter. However, DeRozan went 6-8 from the field, scored all of his free throw attempts, and added 15 points in the final quarter of the game to seal another impressive win for Spurs.
What’s next for DeMar DeRozan?
For DeRozan, the focus will be on squeezing his team into the in-play tournament to stand the chance of making the playoffs. If San Antonio Spurs fail to do so, they will be looking forward to relying on DeRozan’s services in their rebuilding project for next season.