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San Antonio Spurs: 3 Reasons why DeMar DeRozan is struggling

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- JANUARY 12: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 12, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- JANUARY 12: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 12, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
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SAN ANTONIO, TX – JANUARY 20: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the LA Clippers on January 20, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – JANUARY 20: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the LA Clippers on January 20, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

After a hot start to the season, San Antonio Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan has hit a rough patch. Here’s why he’s fallen off from his dark horse MVP candidate pace.

The San Antonio Spurs have continued to play well during the month of January, but they’ve done so without any major contributions from DeMar DeRozan.

The four-time All-Star can’t get his shot to go in in 2019 as he’s shooting 39% from the floor this month, his free throw percentage has also dipped to 72.7%, and his true shooting percentage is sitting at 43%.

After averaging over 20 points per game in each of the first three months of the season, DeRozan is scoring just 15.3 points per night in January and his plus-minus is -2.9 this month despite the Spurs’ 6-4 record during that stretch.

Here are three reasons why DeRozan has struggled as we pass the midway point of the season and how he can turn around and return to his All-NBA form.

Next: Not getting to the free throw line

DALLAS, TX – JANUARY 16: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on January 16, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX – JANUARY 16: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on January 16, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Not getting to the free throw line

One of the staples of DeMar DeRozan’s game over the years has been his ability to get to the free throw line early and often.

Shooting a lot of free throws at a high percentage allows him to score efficiently despite not having any kind of three-point shot.

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However, this year DeRozan is only scoring 22.2% of his points at the free throw line which is a career-low number for the two-time All-NBA performer.

DeMar has only attempted 3.7 free throws per game during the month of January, and he has normally shot 7-8 attempts per game during the most successful years of his career in Toronto.

Getting to the line more often will allow DeRozan to get into a rhythm by getting some easy buckets to build his confidence back up.

Next: Failing to capitalize on turnovers

SAN ANTONIO, TX – JANUARY 20: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against the LA Clippers on January 20, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – JANUARY 20: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs goes to the basket against the LA Clippers on January 20, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

Failing to capitalize on turnovers

DeRozan hasn’t become known as a fast break scorer during his career, but getting those buckets in transition has always been an important part of his game.

Last year in Toronto DeMar was scoring 3.6 points per game off of turnovers, but that number is down to 2.4 points per night this season.

DeRozan is difficult to stop in transition with his long strides and ability to finish through contact with either hand. Getting him more fast break opportunities will allow those scoring numbers to get over 20 points per game again real soon.

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DeMar’s defense could be key to a revival on offense if he’s able to create more turnovers and get the ball going the other way more often.

If he can do that, we can expect those shooting numbers to rise quickly.

Next: Too many Turnovers

DALLAS, TEXAS – JANUARY 16: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at American Airlines Center on January 16, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS – JANUARY 16: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at American Airlines Center on January 16, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Too many Turnovers

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DeMar DeRozan‘s turnover rate is at it’s highest since the 2014-15 campaign at 9%.

Turnovers have been a major problem for DeRozan during the month of January. He’s already turned the ball over 34 times in 9 games this month (3.8 per game) compared to 31 turnovers during the 16 games (1.9 per game) played in December.

DeMar has turned the ball over 4 or more times in five of his last six games, and that is too many sloppy possessions for the primary ball-handler on this team.

DeRozan looks like he is simply trying to do too much to bust out of this midseason slump. It is a cliche, but DeMar needs to do a better job of letting the game come to him and not forcing it if he wants to return to that early season form.

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These are pretty simple fixes for DeRozan, who has performed well in all of these categories before. Let’s see if he can make the necessary adjustments to bounce back for the second half of the season.

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