DeMar DeRozan has a point to prove next season and the Spurs should benefit

DeMar DeRozan has warned his opponents that he’ll be playing with “the biggest chip on his shoulder ever” next season and that could be good news for the San Antonio Spurs. 

The shooting guard was shocked to be traded to the Texas-based franchise by the Toronto Raptors last month and is determined to prove that his former team have made a huge mistake. 

Despite committing to the Raptors by signing a five-year deal in free agency in 2016, the team chose not to display the same level of loyalty as they secured a deal to acquire Kawhi Leonard. 

DeRozan was understandably upset by Toronto’s decision but the move could be a blessing in disguise for him. 

Winning organisation

The 29-year-old will be part of one of the most successful organisations in the NBA in the last 15 years. 

San Antonio has displayed a winning culture and this could prove to be a perfect fit for him and what he wants to achieve. 

He developed into a star and a leader with the Raptors and led them to their best ever season last year but his failings in the playoffs show that he’s still lacking something. 

That’s where the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich can help. 

DeRozan may be a hugely experienced veteran but that doesn’t mean he still can’t improve and he’s already excited by the prospect of working with Pop. 

“I’ve always been a fan of Pop,” he told ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

“There was just something about him from the way he ran his team, the way he coached, his credibility. Everything that stands out about Pop, you just have to love.

“So to have this opportunity to play with a legendary coach at this point in my career, I think it’s one of those blessings that’s in disguise because this is a cool moment to be with a guy like that.” 

The four-time All-Star is an elite scorer and if he’s able to produce at his best level next year, the Spurs should be contenders in the west again. 

MVP consideration

If that’s the case, there’s also no reason why the Los Angeles native can’t put himself in the MVP conversation. 

He’ll be heading into the new campaign with a different mindset and already expects to perform even better. 

“This whole transition of making this move, it kind of makes you look back at your career in the sense of what points you could’ve been better at, how you could have been better at it, the success that you had, the failures that you had,” he said.

“And you kind of accumulate all that into a ball of motivation and hunger and kind of frustration, on top of this situation happening.

“I’m going to start from the bottom, to show why I’ve been the player I’ve been, but this time, with a whole different level of “I don’t care about nothing else.”

Jakob Poeltl, the player who was also part of the trade to the Spurs, says the rest of the league should be worried if DeRozan plays with a chip on his shoulder. 

“It’s a little bit scary, to be honest,” Poeltl said, per Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

“Because I know what he can do when he has a chip on his shoulder, when he gets that extra motivation. Yeah, I think he’s going to be ready.”

Playing in Popovich’s system, the former Raptors star will have a great opportunity to flourish. 

In the recent odds released by Las Vegas bookmaker Bovada, DeRozan has been placed among the top 15 candidates to win the award at 80-1.

Since the trade took place, some people praised Toronto for the move and have questioned whether he’s a true superstar.

It became clear that he couldn’t prove that with the Canadian outfit but he’s in a great situation to silence his doubters in San Antonio.

He promises that he’ll provide “hell for a lot of people” next season and that should be music to the ears of Spurs fans.

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