When you look at the NBA standings, it’s pretty remarkable the San Antonio Spurs are doing what they’re doing without a current All-Star. Of course, strange things happen when you rely on everyday fans for a large portion of your selection process.
The Spurs are the only team in the top 12 of the league’s standings that won’t have a representative in the All-Star game. While he’s been included on numerous lists of snubbed All-Stars from reputable sites, that doesn’t do anything for DeMar DeRozan‘s resume.
The bottom line is the Spurs were a team many experts had as a basement dweller in the midst of a rebuild heading into the season, and DeRozan has them four games above .500 through 44 percent of the season.
The San Antonio Spurs are a complete team, but DeMar is the brightest star
Gregg Popovich and the team’s budding supporting cast have a lot to do with San Antonio’s success so far too, but there’s no doubt DeRozan is still the team’s star and closer. If All-Star selections put weight into team success, there’s no reason DeRozan shouldn’t have made the cut.
Still, there are many that suggest DeMar was justifiably left off of the Western Conference All-Stars for a variety of reasons. It’s time to tackle some of the more common arguments and explain why they’re dead wrong.
Next: Reason No. 1
1. “DeMar’s 20 points per game isn’t enough.”
When it comes down to it, the NBA will always put scoring above all. It’s not a mistake that the top 11 players in points per game, from Bradley Beal to Kawhi Leonard, were all selected for this year’s All-Star game. After all, fans love seeing the ball go through the hoop.
Is there an unofficial points-per-game requirement coaches and fans go by when voting? Not really. Three guys voted into this year’s All-Star game are averaging fewer points per game than DeRozan as of Friday morning.
Chris Paul – 16.0 Ben Simmons – 16.1 Rudy Gobert – 14.2
One could argue that Simmons and Gobert make up for their lower-scoring efforts with rebounds and assists, which would be fair. But DeMar’s career-high 7.3 assists per game would land him at eighth-best on the 26-man roster, so he has other things going for him as well.
Additionally, his stat line of 20.0 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game certainly isn’t less impressive than Chris Paul’s 16.0, 8.8, and 4.7. DeRozan’s current average in points per game would have him above the three mentioned above and just under Domantas Sabonis on this season’s All-Star rosters. Lack of scoring is hardly the problem when it comes to DeMar missing the cut.
DeMar has eclipsed the 30-point mark five times this season, all of which were Spurs wins.
Next: Reason No. 2
2. “DeMar’s old-school game isn’t efficient.”
Even more than scoring, the NBA is falling more and more in love with the three-ball every season. No play exemplifies the modern NBA better than this hilariously terrible four-on-one fast break the Denver Nuggets blew that cost them a game against Washington last month.
We’re reaching the point now where an open 3-pointer is often favored over an open dunk or layup. It makes sense, then, that all but three All-Star selections average 2.5 or more 3-point attempts per game.
The criticism I often read about DeMar’s offensive game directly relates to his resistance to falling in love with the longball. Does he shoot a lot of mid-range jumpers? Of course. But he also makes them — a lot of them. Despite only shooting 1.8 times per game from beyond the arc, he has an effective field foal percentage of 50.4 percent, which would be the second-best season he’s had in that regard.
— NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2021
DeRozan’s 1.7 turnovers per game are also the fewest of anybody on either All-Star roster, all while he’s dishing out more assists than 19 of them. If that isn’t efficiency, I don’t know what is. DeMar’s passing is only getting better and better. He recently had three straight games with 11 assists for the first time in his career — the first time that’s been done for the Spurs since Avery Johnson.
Next: Reason No. 3
3. “DeMar’s game isn’t exciting enough.”
The whole “the Spurs are boring” argument dates way back to the days of Tim Duncan and the Big Three. Duncan’s famously quiet nature was the subject of endless criticism from the media and fans wanting someone “more exciting” to dominate the league.
In 2021, the most common knock on the Spurs I still hear from casuals involves the word boring. That’s usually the time I walk away/close the tweet/laugh and depart. Not only is the boring label played out — it’s simply not true anymore. Unfortunately, DeMar DeRozan’s highlight-worthy plays are often hidden by the fact that he’s playing in the small-market of San Antonio.
Make no mistake, DeRozan is a beast capable of creating a SportsCenter number one highlight at any moment. His posterization of Chris Boucher last season was considered by many to be the dunk of the year.
On top of his multitude of powerful dunks and acrobatic finishes, DeMar’s passing is getting increasingly flashy and more impressive in a season where he’s averaging more than ever.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/03/02/0022000541/378/02bb6995-e30d-2a9f-0bed-f9589db9de46_1280x720.mp4
The Spurs have a number of athletic guys capable of the highlight play, it’s just not often as noticed nationally as, say, anytime LeBron James scores.
DeMar certainly would’ve had some exciting plays in a game filled with stars. I guess there’s always next year.