DeMar DeRozan is saying the right things for Spurs fans

DeMar DeRozan is going to need to be great on the floor for the Spurs next season. He’s also going to need to be a leader for his new team.

Kawhi Leonard was a lot of great things for the Spurs, but he’s never been accused of being a vocal leader. Evidently, DeMar DeRozan sees that as an opportunity to improve his new team. The talented swing man claims he’s ready to become a leader for his new teammates.

It’s fair to say Team USA minicamp came at a good time for the Spurs. It gave Gregg Popovich an opportunity to get on the floor with his newest star. For what it’s worth, DeRozan came away from the experience impressed. He called the opportunity to speak to Coach Popovich away from everything “cool.”

More important for Spurs fans, DeRozan is already expressing a strong interest in serving as a mentor for the team’s young corps. In particular, he’s impressed by the potential of point guard Dejounte Murray. DeRozan told reporters Murray caught his attention when he played a strong game against the Raptors early in the 2017-18 season. The 10-year veteran says he wants to do everything he can to help Murray reach his full potential.

The best news is that DeRozan is also willing to learn from his new teammates. Players of his caliber are often guilty of walking into a new, unproven roster and only trying to impart their wisdom on others. A real leaders shows that he’s willing to listen as well. The fact that DeRozan seems to grasp this concept bodes well for his ability to make a smooth transition to life with the Spurs.

Of course, all of this is a moot point if DeRozan can’t elevate his game on the floor. He’ll need to take his game to a new level if he’s going to help Popovich and company recover from the loss of Leonard. DeRozan has been an All-Star on multiple occasions, but he’s trying to replace a guy who can be a legitimate MVP candidate when he’s healthy.

Ultimately, it won’t be clear just how much DeRozan can help the Spurs until the regular season truly gets underway. San Antonio fans can at least feel good about the way their new wing is starting his tenure with the team. His willingness to both lead and listen should pay serious dividends for the Spurs.