Vince Carter sees big things ahead for DeMar DeRozan on the San Antonio Spurs, especially to work with head coach Gregg Popovich.
DeMar DeRozan was a face of Toronto Raptors basketball for nine seasons before a trade took him to the San Antonio Spurs in July. He led them to multiple playoff appearances and a resurgence that had not been seen since Vince Carter’s days in the early 2000’s.
Carter starred for the Raptors from 1998-2005, maxing out at 27.6 points per game in the 2000-01 season. A desire to leave the team led to a trade to the New Jersey Nets, but he still became one of the franchise’s best players.
On a conference call for the NBA’s Jr. World Championships, according to Uproxx, Carter reacted to the DeRozan trade, seemingly surprised by the move. However, he provided some excitement for the prospect of the USC product and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich working together:
More from Spurs News
- Spurs show remarkable poise against Bulls, unlike many fans
- Devin Vassell is the latest in the Spurs’ collection of silent assassins
- San Antonio Spurs: 5 Players to avoid in any LaMarcus Aldridge deal
- Is Gregg Popovich hiding Luka Samanic as a secret weapon?
- San Antonio Spurs News: More DeRozan trade talk from Chris Haynes
“I think I just said ‘Wow.’ “That’s it, simple as that.”
“I think he’s already established himself as one of the top guards … and I think he’ll take it to the next level, the next phase of players because of what Gregg Popovich brings to the table and what he brings out of players,” Carter said. “You’re getting a player that’s not raw and in the learning stage, you’re getting an established player who he can take to the next level, so that’s scary.”
Carter thought DeRozan would finish his career in Toronto, but that obviously did not happen, as the organization banks on its next star, Kawhi Leonard, who’s no guarantee to stay past the 2018-19 season.
Popovich and DeRozan already worked together at Team USA Basketball’s mini-camp in July, so Spurs fans received their first look at this partnership. It’s another scorer for the five-time champion head coach to work with, and with LaMarcus Aldridge already around, it should mean bigger things to come for the offense.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 27, 2018
The “established player” part of Carter’s comments also play to what the Spurs took in a return package for Leonard, rather than young players or future draft picks. Both may have indicated a rebuild, but DeRozan’s arrival keeps the team relevant in a crowded Western Conference. Let’s see how far he pushes them in the win column when the 2018-19 season arrives this fall.