It’s only a few days after the tragic and untimely death of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, and though it feels like the game of basketball needs to take a long, hard pause before returning to its regular fast-paced schedule, the NBA All-Star reserve selection process is in full swing and the reserves will be announced today.
As has been obvious over the last few days, nobody feels like playing. However, everybody knows, to honor Kobe the right way, they must go on. Nobody knows this fact more than DeMar DeRozan.
“Everything. Everything. Everything I learned came from Kobe. Everything,” said a somber DeRozan Sunday afternoon. “Take Kobe away, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have love. I wouldn’t have passion, the drive. Everything, everything, came from him.”
DeRozan, as most did, looked up to Kobe, admired him personally and as a player, and implemented all he could from Kobe’s game into his.
This is obvious in many aspects of DeRozan’s style of play. He’s been praised for his intricate footwork, a trait he attributes to studying Kobe’s remarkable talent for quick and well-thought-out movement that caught up even the best defenders.
In his second year with the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan seems to finally feel comfortable with his role in the historic franchise which is visible in the leadership he’s providing for the struggling squad. It’s no secret the San Antonio Spurs are in the midst of arguably their worst season in over more than the past two decades. Still, DeRozan has proven his dedication, consistency, and leadership time and again throughout this year.
The 2-time All-NBA player, 4-time NBA All-Star is averaging 22.7 points a game on 53.4% shooting and 5.2 assists. He’s had eight 30+ point performances and led the Spurs in scoring on multiple occasions. But is all that enough for a 2020 All-Star reserve selection?
Before joining the silver and black, DeMar was selected as an All-Star during the 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons. In 2018, his last appearance as an All-Star, DeMar was averaging the exact same in assists and only three-tenths of a point more in scoring. During that season, DeMar was a leader for the Raptors, much like he is for the Spurs today.
In addition to leading his team, DeRozan is ranked among the leaders in his position as well. He’s currently ranked in the fourth spot for scoring behind only LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Brandon Ingram, two of which are already All-Star starters.
The only concern when considering whether or not DeRozan has a chance of making his fifth All-Star appearance is the fact that All-Star selections usually mix the small forwards and shooting guards into one big pool. This means that DeMar would be competing with the likes of Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, and Donovan Mitchell.
Regardless of the competition, DeRozan is having an All-Star year. Whether he’s recognized for that or not, only time will tell.
While the season continues to go on, the basketball world remains in a daze in the wake of losing a star as bright as Bryant. For DeMar, an All-Star appearance may be the farthest thing from his mind in the midst of this dark time.
For those who follow him, knowing the dedication he’s shown and the leadership he provides, he deserves this selection and so much more.