With his arrival to the San Antonio Spurs, reunites with an old connection from his previous Toronto Raptors days.
Before the San Antonio Spurs trade, DeMar DeRozan spent all nine of his NBA seasons with the Toronto Raptors. Four All-Star Game appearances and multiple 50-win seasons later, he provided plenty for this organization, but also played alongside dozens of players, plenty of whom remain in the league.
On the Spurs, DeRozan has a handful of connections from Toronto — aside from Jakob Poeltl who joined him in the deal — some of whom he found success with since arriving in 2009.
Rudy Gay was a Raptor for 33 games in the 2012-13 season and 18 games in 2013-14. The 19.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game on 34.7 three-point shooting are positives in his brief tenure there, but he shot an inefficient 41.1 percent from the field, including just 38.8 percent before the Sacramento Kings trade.
DeRozan started to take off in the final 18 games of Gay’s tenure, as 2013-14 became his breakout campaign. He averaged 21.3 points before the trade and 23.1 points after it.
The Raptors struggled during Gay’s stint, accumulating a 23-28 record. However, with he and DeRozan far past that, as well as time together on the 2014 Team USA squad, let’s see how they do together in a second go-around; based on clips coming from the Drew League, so far, so good:
Spurs teammates DeMar DeRozan & Rudy Gay put on a show at the Drew League! pic.twitter.com/ufvcIotLE8
— BallersHype (@BallersHype) July 23, 2018
DeMar DeRozan with Rudy Gay giving a shoutout to the San Antonio Spurs is like travelling through a time warp AND visiting an alternate universe. pic.twitter.com/tQuKB7fzMp
— Chris Walder (@WalderSports) July 23, 2018
To turn back the clock even further, Spurs fans can go back to the 2009-10 season, when Marco Belinelli had a 66-game stint in Toronto. This was DeRozan’s first year in the NBA.
Belinelli, aside from one game as a starter, played exclusively off the bench, averaging 7.1 points on 40.6 percent shooting and 38 percent from three-point range. Nothing flashy, and it became his only season with the Raptors before a trade sent him to the New Orleans Hornets.
Now, Belinelli and DeRozan will work together in the same backcourt. Add in the more recent Raptors connection, Gay, and there are some familiar faces for San Antonio’s new centerpiece to work with.
Bonus: Chimezie Metu
DeRozan and Chimezie Metu were never teammates, as the Spurs only selected the latter player in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, both attended USC for their collegiate careers.