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Gregg Popovich won’t try to change DeMar DeRozan’s game

Gregg Popovich, Spurs, DeMar DeRozan

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich won’t commit the same mistake he made with All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge after trying to transform his game, noting his new star, DeMar DeRozan, won’t be victim of the same mold.

“DeMar is already an All-Star. He’s played a certain way,” Gregg Popovich admitted during Media Day, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright. “There will be some things we’ll try to add to his game, if he’s willing. I’m not going to jump on him the way I did L.A. I tried to turn L.A. into John Havlicek. I think it confused him.”

DeMar DeRozan is coming off three consecutive All-Star nods, having taken the step into NBA stardom thanks to his unique mastery of the mid-range shot and his improved playmaking abilities, averaging a career-high 5.2 assists per game last season under Dwane Casey’s revamped offensive system.

The Compton native also took and made a career-high in 3-pointers, but still managed to shoot only 31 percent from distance, despite his willingness to mold his game to a more modern stance.

Whether it is DeRozan the ruthless scorer (career-high 27.3 points in 2016-17) or DeRozan the playmaker that shows up into camp, Popovich will let him be the one to decide what it is he needs to do to bring his team to the forefront of a tough Western Conference.

Popovich letting the reins loose on Aldridge last season resulted in perhaps his best season ever, putting up 23.1 points in a solid 51 percent shooting from the field as a natural stretch-four after scoring only 17.3 points per game in 2016-17, the worst mark since his rookie season.