- Raptors have one-year audition to land Kawhi Leonard long term
- DeMar DeRozan slides into the scoring machine role Spurs need
- Which All-Star will excel best in his new digs next season?
The Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan star swap is just the latest mega move in the NBA.
Get a load of this:
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If someone told me these trades would happen in 2015 I would have laughed at them. . TAGS: #KOBE #SPORTS #BASKETBALL #LONZO #LEBRON #JORDAN #LOSANGELES #WARRIORS #STEPHCURRY #LAVAR #CHAMPIONS #RONDO #NBA #RUN #JUMP #BLOCK #23 #MIAMI #FLORIDA #DHTK #DONTHATETHEKING #STRIVEFORGREATNESS #LAKERS #LEBRONGANG
Imagine if every top 10 quarterback in the NFL changed teams in the last two seasons. The sports world would go berserk!
It’s one of the reasons the NBA is so appealing to its fans: the off-the-court stuff is sometimes just as amazing as the on-court product. And the on-court product in the 2010s has been dope, man.
Back to this swap, and the two teams who turned their respective notebooks onto fresh, crisp new pages.
The Raptors knew what their ceiling was with DD, and gambled on a top-five talent that, barring anything but an NBA title, will likely bolt after this year.
For the Spurs, every player had to punch up a class to stay competitive in the West last year.
LaMarcus Aldridge did earn an All-NBA nod, but he’s better suited as a 1b than the main option.
Minus Kawhi, they still cobbled together 47 wins and another trip to the playoffs.
LaMarcus Aldridge did earn an all-NBA nod, but he’s better suited as a 1B than the main option
Now, they are adding another current All-NBA talent to their roster (seriously, how many teams can say that? Two: Golden State and OKC) that will push everyone back down to their competitive weight class.
DeRozan may not be on the same star tier as Leonard, but the man can get buckets. With a system and a coach that can bring out the best in him, that could push him to a higher level.
Let’s take a closer look at how these two will fare.
Raptors and Spurs 2018-19 Regular Season Wins
|Team||Over / Under||Odds|
|San Antonio Spurs||44.5||-120o/-120u|
Let’s put away numbers for a minute, and let’s unwrap things this way. Upon hearing that he had been traded, DeMar DeRozan took to his Instagram story and let his feelings all hang out.
This dude will be throwing the anger/pain Molotov cocktail mixture at every team in basketball. Gregg Popovich can and will stir the pot, adding more fuel to an already volatile revenge tour.
Meanwhile, @DeMar_DeRozan not backing off of claim he was lied to by Toronto regarding a potential trade, per source. Extremely upset.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) July 18, 2018
Is it too much to anoint DeRozan the early candidate for the NBA’s John Creasey award? No, no it’s not.
San Antonio is injecting 23 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds a game into its scoring-deprived lineup, a guy that can get to the stripe in the crunch.
Even in the gauntlet that is the West, you must bang the over on this one.
Meanwhile, you have a Raptors team coming off a franchise-best 59 wins and top seed in the East, with a first-time head coach (Nick Nurse), trying to incorporate this guy:
Kawhi Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto, league source tells ESPN.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 18, 2018
Leonard has a lot to prove. Since getting Zaza’d in the playoffs two seasons ago, he’s appeared in just nine games. And no one really knows anything yet about his condition.
His lingering quad injury is a concern, but if all goes right, there’s no question he can take the Raptors to places they’ve never been before. He’ll need to show he’s still elite, and it’s fair to say Leonard’s got some reputation rehab on the way.
I’m an optimist, so I’d take the over, but that’s an avoid-at-all-costs bet.
Kawhi vs DeMar 2018-19 Season Stats
Since 2013, DeRozan has averaged less than 22.7 points a game just once. If renowned Spurs shot doctor Chip Engelland finds the right remedy, expect an uptick in scoring.
And his career high assist mark last year is a welcome addition to the pass-happy Spurs.
It’s an over kind of day: I see DeRozan as a 25-5-5 guy next year.
No one outside Leonard’s inner circle knows what condition he’s in – physically and mentally
In his seven-year career, Leonard’s best scoring season was 2016, when he tallied 25.5 points, along with 5.8 rebounds and a career-high 3.5 assists.
Again, at this point, it’s impossible to know just what we’ll see this season. No one outside Leonard’s inner circle knows what condition he’s in – physically and mentally.
Kawhi Leonard (Feelings) is listed as questionable for the 2018-19 season. pic.twitter.com/oQ6jfw3Jhj
— David Swander (@dlswander) July 18, 2018
In this scoring-happy NBA, take the over on scoring and assists.
The Raptors, though, have plenty of dirty-work wings that could keep Kawhi off the boards, and fresh to handle the superstar burden.