Gregg Popovic Lauds Courageous DeMar DeRozan for Playing with a Heavy Heart

Published 01/19/2021, 1:36 AM EST
Dec 26, 2020; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) passes the ball in the fourth quarter of the game against the Toronto Raptors at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports


DeMar DeRozan is proving with the San Antonio Spurs that he can still be a key player. This year, DeRozan has been crucial to the San Antonio Spurs‘ performances and led them to an 8-6 record, one of the best in the Western Conference. However, DeRozan has been playing through great adversity.

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Pop praises DeRozan’s strength

Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich spoke to the press after their win over the Portland Trail Blazers. He praised DeRozan for his ability to soldier through his personal problems and continue performing at a high level for the team. The professionalism displayed by DeRozan has really impressed Popovich.

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Gregg Popovich, on the "courage" DeMar DeRozan is showing while his father battles illness in L.A.: pic.twitter.com/ZdyMIEeAgv

— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) January 18, 2021

Pop said, “He’s showed a lot of courage. He’s still worried every day about the family and his dad. In some respects, I guess that’s probably the time, when his mind could kind of drift for a bit, just go compete for a while. As soon as the game is over, you know what he is thinking about. We feel for him, but he is showing great professionalism, being strong and at the same time competing with his teammates.”

DeRozan had a good game against the Trail Blazers. He scored 20 points, 11 rebounds, and had 6 assists during the game. He was a big part of the Spurs’ performance against Portland. DeRozan and Dejounte Murray led the team in assists with 11 each. Since coming to the Spurs, DeRozan’s current season has been one of the best.

Tough time for DeMar DeRozan in San Antonio

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DeRozan arrived in San Antonio in 2019, when the Raptors sent him there in exchange for Kawhi Leonard. As it turns out, Leonard was what the Raptors needed, as he led them to their first NBA championship in franchise history, whereas DeRozan was poor for the Spurs since arriving. Last season, the Spurs missed the NBA playoffs for the first time in 23 years, with DeRozan in charge.

San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) dunks as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) looks on during the first half. Mandatory Credit: Mike Wyke/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

However, DeRozan re-signed with the Spurs this year and has looked reinvigorated. He and the Spurs have been looking much better this season. DeRozan has shown that he can help lead a solid playoff team as one of the best players on the team.

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Can DeRozan lead the Spurs to playoff success this year? A franchise with the history of the Spurs will expect high competition from their team, and DeRozan will be trusted with leading the team back to the NBA playoffs.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1052 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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