San Antonio Spurs: Why they shouldn’t offer DeMar DeRozan a max extension

NBA San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
NBA San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

DeMar DeRozan is eligible for an extension this summer, but should the San Antonio Spurs bet their long-term future on him?

DeMar DeRozan is entering the fourth season of a five-year max contract, with a player option for the final year. DeRozan, 30, is eligible to re-sign and extension with the San Antonio Spurs this summer if the two sides can reach an agreement.

The question is, should the Spurs offer one?

According to Mike Finger of San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio is contemplating offering a max extension before the season. DeRozan was the key asset the received in return for Kawhi Leonard last summer, and they may want to lock him in long term rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer.

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DeRozan is a four-time all-star and a volume scorer, but San Antonio should think carefully when they assess his long-term value.

DeRozan established himself several years ago as the go-to scorer for the Toronto Raptors, where the team saw consistent success and made multiple trips to the Eastern Conference Finals. So, it’s understandable why one would think he was worth the hefty five-year $139M extension he signed in the (now infamous) summer of 2016.

San Antonio should know better than to make a similar offer. DeRozan may score in bunches, but his points are inefficient and come at the expense of team success. In fact, DeRozan ranked 110th in the league in effective field goal percentage (48.4%), and 142nd in the true shooting percentage (54.4%). Those shortcomings are compounded when you consider his 27.9 percent usage rate, ranked 25th in the league.

That being said, it should come as no surprise that the Spurs were 5.1 points better per 100 possessions when DeRozan was on the bench. It is also worth mentioning that DeRozan just turned 30. For a poor shooter that relies heavily on athleticism to create separation, it’s hard to imagine his production will be sustainable in the coming years.

The idea of pairing an isolation scorer with someone like Gregg Popovich seems counterintuitive. Since taking the role over 20 years ago, Pop’s Spurs have been known for near-constant ball movement until an efficient shot becomes available. These shots are ideally layups and open threes. DeRozan makes a living in the midrange, where the majority of his shots were between 10ft and the 3-point line. San Antonio also gave up two of its best 3-point shooters in the trade (Leonard and Green), and DeRozan’s 15.2 percent from deep surely doesn’t make up for their absence.

Players like DeRozan seem antithetical to San Antonio’s progressive style. DeRozan is still an asset and can be a productive player in the right system, but a team’s ceiling is hindered when one of the most expensive players is ball-dominant and that inefficient. San Antonio is always mentioned in the “best-run teams in the league” conversation, so you can have faith that they will make a justifiable decision.

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Lastly, if they fail to reach an agreement don’t be surprised if he’s dealt midseason. The entire landscape of the league changed this summer, and many teams see themselves as contenders. So many of them will be looking to fortify their rosters before the deadline.