San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan took the court for the first time not wearing a Toronto Raptors jersey, and although it looked weird at first DeRozan seemed to fit right in with the team that acquired via trade over this past summer.
DeRozan played 18 minutes and finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting.
“Just getting out there, lacing them up in front of the fans for the first time, it was fun,” DeRozan said, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
“I’m glad I got to get the rust and kinks out and [got to] go out and get that part out of the way. It’s going to come along. I’m not worried at all. I was out there more anxious than anything.”
DeRozan knows that the transition is a process, but believes things will only get better moving forward.
“As the next few days go by, the next few games, it’s only going to get easier and easier,” DeRozan said. “I expect I’ll be rusty. Just go out there and try to feel things out and understand what I can get better at.”
“It’s pretty much a given that team-oriented players, when they get into situation like DeMar’s in now, he’s gonna probably pick and choose a little bit,” Spurs head coach Greg Popovich said. “He’s gonna take his time, get the lay of the land, figure out his teammates, and in that respect I thought he was great. He looked for his stuff, he helped with his teammates. It was a great first outing for him.”
Teammate Rudy Gay understands what DeRozan is going through, joining the Spurs himself last season.
“We had a couple guys who have been there. We have them on the court and you throw DeMar in, and we could pretty much coach him just like I was coached last year,” Gay said. “It’s easier that way to keep a couple veterans out there with DeMar so he can learn where he’ll be most productive. The younger guys? They’re just playing, trying to find their way, and coach is trying to figure out where he can put them in the lineup and how our team can benefit off of each one of them.”
Cavs’ Rodney Hood Does Not Want to Be Gunner
The Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff has been pushing shooting guard Rodney Hood to be more aggressive, but Hood admits that he simply isn’t meant to be a gunner.
“I’m not a gunner,” Hood said, according to Cleveland.com.
“I think it’s not great for our team for me to be a gunner. We have a lot of guys who can score the ball. I draw attention. So when I draw attention, make the dump-off pass and make the right play, spray out to shooters and some nights we hit shots and it’s great and some nights we don’t hit shots and it’s like, ‘You need to shoot the ball more.’
Hood has put up 13.0 ppg this season for Cleveland and admits he is still finding his place in the offense.
“Just figuring it out,” Hood stated. “Trying to figure out the even balance of being real aggressive and making plays like I’ve been trying to do.”
Wizards’ Trevor Ariza Talks Suns Departure
Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza, who was recently acquired via trade with the Phoenix Suns appeared to take a shot at his former team when talking about his departure from the Valley of the Sun.
“They were struggling a little bit, but they couldn’t have been struggling worst than what I was struggling with (laughs),” Ariza said, according to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner.
“So everybody have their things that they go through, it’s just about how you get through them or how do what you need to do to try to change them.”
Ariza is now focusing on the future with the Wizards.
“Being here, I plan to come in and just try to work through whatever it is we’re going through at the time.”
Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins Not Close to Return
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says that center DeMarcus Cousins isn’t that close to making his return to the court, and essentially his debut with the team.
“We’re not really that close,” Kerr said of Cousins’ progress, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
“I don’t want this to be about: ‘Hey, we’re right there.’ We’re not right there. It’s still going to be some time. We’re going to be patient and continue to give DeMarcus the space he needs to prepare. When the time is right, we’ll have some things planned for him.”
Golden State signed Cousins to the mid-level exception of $5.3 million during the offseason.
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