DeMar DeRozan Talks Spurs Role Change, Calls Teammate ‘One of My Favorite Rookies’

San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan recently appeared on JJ Redick’s The Old Man and The Three podcast. During their hour-plus chat, DeMar discussed plenty of topics. That included the emotions of seeing his former team win the NBA championship, to the Lakers, to his current squad. While discussing the Spurs, he mentioned which player ranks amongst his favorite rookies, and also talked about his changed role with San Antonio.

DeMar DeRozan on his New Spurs’ Role After Time in Toronto

One of the interesting topics that JJ Redick brought up with DeMar DeRozan was how he’s one of the most unique scorers in the modern NBA. JJ indicated that DeRozan was averaging 3.6 three-point attempts a game in his last season with the Toronto Raptors. Since joining the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar has averaged just 0.6 in his first season and only 0.5 attempts in his second.

So what changed for DeMar DeRozan? He mentioned he was told during one of his seasons in Toronto that he wouldn’t last long in the league unless he started shooting more three-pointers.

He initially disregarded that advice to show those naysayers he didn’t need to shoot a lot of threes to be effective. Despite doing so, a comment started up that he wasn’t a good three-point shooter. That led to the increase in the 2017-18 season, where DeMar averaged 3.6 attempts and 1.1 makes a game.

Upon his arrival in San Antonio, he said he was able to adapt to his strengths and take on the role of a playmaker-scorer. That comes from the experience of playing for nearly 10 seasons in the league.

“These last two years I’ve been more playmaking and playing to my ultimate strengths until I feel like someone could stop me or slow me down doing that,” DeRozan admitted with regards to his past two seasons in San Antonio and shooting less threes.

“I kind of got addicted to seeing my shooters get shots,” he also admitted, saying he’s playing with a lot more shooters in San Antonio.

It’s no surprise that DeRozan has averaged the most assists of his career in the two seasons with San Antonio. He had a career-best 6.2 assists in 2018-19, and 5.6 per game this past season.

Keldon Johnson is one of DeMar’s Favorite Rookies

In another topic of the conversation, DeRozan’s teammate Keldon Johnson came up as JJ and DeMar were discussing their Pelicans-Spurs game from the bubble. Redick said it seemed like Johnson’s only bad game really in the bubble. JJ went off with an 8-for-12 performance from three-point range with Johnson guarding him.

Redick also said he noticed Gregg Popovich and others talking to Johnson about how to improve or adjust for defendingagainst Redick.

DeMar followed that with praise for Johnson. DeRozan said he wants to take on those tough challenges, like trying to guard a great shooter or scorer.

“I love him to death. One of my favorite rookies I’ve ever played with.

He always wants to take on the challenges too! That’s what I love. He’s going to be pretty good,” DeRozan said of Johnson.

In his rookie season, Keldon Johnson averaged 9.1 points, to go with 3.4 boards and about one assist per game. However, the belief is Johnson could become amongst very good defenders in the league as he continues to progress.

Check out the complete DeMar DeRozan interview from The Old Man and The Three below.

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