Entering the 2019-20 NBA season with two All-Star caliber players and young and promising talents, the San Antonio Spurs were highly expected to easily extend their playoff streak in the deep Western Conference. Unfortunately, as of now, the Spurs look like an NBA team that is bound to compete for a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. If they fail to find a way to end their struggle and wind up out of the playoff picture, Matt John of the Basketball Insiders believes that the “advisable next step” for the Spurs would be trading their two best players – LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan – before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
“Both of them are really good players. They’re just not great players. They’re both lethal scorers. Both of them can put up 20-30 points on any given night. The real issue is that even if they put up their usual numbers, that doesn’t always equate to a win. If you don’t believe that, look at the Spurs’ record again. Aldridge would be easier to trade on paper because his contract is more favorable since it’s guaranteed for next season, but potentially trading for DeRozan is a little more delicate of a situation.”
Aldridge and DeRozan are both posting decent numbers in the 2019-20 NBA season. Aldridge is averaging 18.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.8 blocks while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. DeRozan is averaging 21.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, despite those impressive statistics from Aldridge and DeRozan, the Spurs were still unable to consistently win games. So far, the Spurs lost six of their last 10 games and are currently sitting in the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference with a 9-14 record. Though it would be unfair for them to take all the blame, numbers show that Aldridge and DeRozan are major contributors to the Spurs’ recent struggles.
As noted by John, Aldridge and DeRozan had a net rating of minus-7.2 when they shared the court together. Individually, the Spurs have a net rating of minus-10.5 with Aldridge on the court and a minus-13.3 with DeRozan. As of now, the Spurs must have already started to notice the problem with their star tandem of DeRozan and Aldridge.
As much as they may hate to undergo a full-scale rebuild, trading both Aldridge and DeRozan might really be the best option for the Spurs right now. Once they become officially available on the trading block, Aldridge and DeRozan are expected to receive strong interest from NBA teams who are in dire need of additional star power to contend for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.