Spurs: 3 Silver Linings in Close Loss to Bulls

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Gregg Popovich, Dwane Casey, DeMar DeRozan / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

3. DeMar DeRozan is One of the Best Ex-Spurs Ever

If you look at the admittedly outdated list of the top 25 Spurs ever, you’ll notice that most of the players near the top spent their entire primes in the Silver and Black. Kawhi Leonard is a notable exception. Players like Patty Mills, Danny Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, and even Tony Parker have or will end their careers elsewhere, but none of them ever found the success in their new home that they had in San Antonio.

There are three players who spent time in San Antonio but then went on to cement their Hall of Fame legacies elsewhere. First, of course, is Kawhi Leonard, who was dealt in 2018 for DeRozan. He went on to win a ring with the Raptors and then form a quasi-superteam in Los Angeles with Doc Rivers and Paul George. 

Well, the Clippers haven’t won anything significant yet, and he has benefited heavily from load management so it’s hard to attribute team success to him as an individual. Still, he’s a three-time All-Star since leaving San Antonio, but he is not the best ex-Spur ever.

Monday night’s dominant performance helped solidify why DeMar DeRozan is one of the best pure scorers of this generation. He doesn't just take shots -- he creates shots that everybody knows will go in. He’s one of the league’s top scorers despite being deathly allergic to the three-ball.

This season, he is averaging 28 points, scored 40 on his former team to single-handedly win the game, and has been averaging a whopping 34 points over his last ten games. He is an MVP candidate, a starter in the upcoming All-Star Game, and was the best offseason acquisition in the entire league last summer.

But he is not the best ex-Spur ever. At least, not yet. 

Dennis Rodman was a Spur. Some of us have forgotten, some of us are trying to forget, and some of us look back gleefully at the Worm’s highlights. Rodman went on to win three rings with the Bulls, lead the league in rebounding three more times after leaving San Antonio, and cemented his legacy as a Hall of Famer largely because of his post-San Antonio accolades.

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DeRozan is still in his prime, and if he keeps up his insane scoring and leads the Bulls back to the Finals for the first time since his rival in this race, he could very easily surpass Rodman. For now, he can be second best. But dropping 40 on his former team helped his case a lot.