NBA 18/19: 3 things that we have learned from the Spurs' season so far
- The Spurs have managed to stay in the playoff hunt despite the loss of Kawhi Leonard.
The 18/19 NBA season was always going to be a tough year for the San Antonio Spurs. In recent years, Gregg Popovich's team has lost Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to age, and the Spurs have also been hit by the premature departures of both Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker.
San Antonio were forced to trade away Leonard when the player refused to sign a max extension, while longtime point guard Tony Parker made the surprise decision to sign a two-year deal with Charlotte. Ultimately, the loss of Ginobili, Parker, and Leonard in the same offseason would be a hammer blow for many teams, however, the Spurs have once again managed to contend in a stacked Western Conference.
Popovich has coached his team to a record of 25-20, which is good enough for seventh place in the West standings, and the Spurs are just 5.5 games back from the Conference-leading Nuggets. The Spurs' incredible streak of reaching the postseason looks as though it will continue and here are three talking points from the teams season so far.
#3 DeMar DeRozan's Impact
DeMar DeRozan joined the Spurs as part of the trade that took Kawhi Leonard to Toronto, and in his short time in Texas, the 29-year-old has proved his doubters wrong. The four-time All-Star has long had a reputation for going missing during important games, although DeRozan has stepped up with the Spurs, and he has quickly emerged as the team's most effective player.
Earlier this season, Rozen notably dropped 36 points on LeBron James and the Lakers, and the former Toronto man is currently averaging 21.9 points, 6.4 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game. Without DeRozan's performances, the Spurs would almost certainly be outside of playoff contention, and the shooting guard's individual displays will likely result in a fifth All-Star appearance in February.