SAN ANTONIO — Former Spur Demar DeRozan makes it clear: Playing in San Antonio and for Gregg Popovich did wonders for his career.
He says it made him a complete player, moving beyond just a scorer, and is thankful for the time spent with the Spurs.
"Before then, I was a scorer. ... If I'm 5-for-30, I don't care. If I'm 15-for-30. Like that was my whole mindset. [Popovich] challenged me to the point of understanding the game in the complete whole," DeRozan said.
However, former NBA guard and current ESPN NBA Analyst, JJ Redick, doesn't see it that way.
While talking about DeRozan's outstanding play with the Chicago Bulls on ESPN's NBA Countdown, Redick called DeRozan's time with the Spurs "purgatory."
"Getting traded to the Spurs. Being in purgatory on a non-playoff team for three years while honing his craft," Redick said. "Sharpening his skills. Becoming a better playmaker. Running the point guard. Now he comes to the Bulls and it's a perfect situation."
It is a safe bet to say DeRozan would not call San Antonio "purgatory."
As DeRozan made clear, his time in San Antonio allowed him to be the player he is now.
In fact, what Redick currently sees out of the former Spur stemmed from his time in San Antonio.
"How to be a point guard. How to be a playmaker. How to dictate the game. How to move without the play. How to play without the ball. How not to turn over the ball," DeRozan said.
Perhaps Redick needs to chat with DeRozan first before throwing shade at San Antonio and realize how it was heaven for the former Spur.