San Antonio Spurs: Can DeMar DeRozan run point guard?
By Dylan Carter
With multiple guards sidelined due to injury, can DeMar DeRozan take over as the San Antonio Spurs’ starting point guard?
Things are getting a bit rough in San Antonio prior to the 2018-19 season. With guards Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White sustaining significant injuries over the past week, the Spurs backcourt is getting pretty thin.
Good thing they acquired a star shooting guard this summer.
There’s a lot to prove for 2018 All-NBA selection DeMar DeRozan in the new season. Displaced by the only team he’s ever played for, DeRozan is entering the season with a major chip on his shoulder. When combining his undeniable skill, the masterful game planning of head coach Gregg Popovich and the cast of characters built in the Alamo City, the sky’s the limit for the new-look Spurs.
Except all of their point guards are injured and the choice of starters is down to Patty Mills or Bryn Forbes.
This is not an ideal scenario to enter the season with and that’s putting it lightly. Both Mills and Forbes are perform better as spark plugs off the pine and lack the extra gear necessary to take over primary ball handling duties.
Pop on DeMar DeRozan's transition: "He’s turned out to be maybe the best passer on our team, frankly."
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 10, 2018
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DeRozan, on the other hand, has blossomed into an elite ball handler and a surprisingly talented playmaker as he’s matured. He posted a career-high in assists with 5.2 per game during the 2017-18 season and has emerged as the team’s best passer, according to Popovich.
As outlandish as it may sound, the Spurs best option may be to run DeRozan at the point guard and introduce sharpshooter Marco Belinelli as the starting two-guard to start the year. The nine-year veteran has never formally run the point guard position but was often tasked with ball handling duties as a Raptor.
Scoring is and always will be DeRozan’s first priority, but he may be able to take advantage of playing at the one to begin the year. He’ll have the size advantage in nearly every matchup he faces and can operate out of the high post with ease. His ability to drive to the rim and dish the ball would be increasingly valuable next to a high-caliber shooter such as Belinelli or forward Davis Bertans.
There’s a solid chance he’d bring the ball up the court and initiate offense even if Murray was still healthy. Since they operate in a team-based offense as opposed to the isolations that DeRozan is used to, the responsibility of handling the ball would never solely rely on him, but would rely on the team as a whole instead.
It’s not ideal to run DeRozan at the point guard but desperate times call for desperate measures. Forbes is better as a complimentary two-guard and Mills is too important to the second unit to separate from them.
Running DeMar at the point guard is becoming less of a dream and more of a realistic option as we near the start of the regular season.