DeMar DeRozan was one of the most beloved players in Toronto Raptors history when he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a trade that landed them Kawhi Leonard. While DeRozan insists he was happy to see the team win a championship without him, he admits that it made him wonder if it was his fault that the Raptors were never able to make the Finals during his Toronto tenure.
“To leave and see what these guys went and did,” DeRozan said on J.J. Reddick’s the Old Man & the Three podcast. “It was tough. I’m not even going to lie. Especially once we lost in the playoffs and you see them winning, you kinda feel like ‘damn was I the problem’?”
At this point, we’d love nothing more than to be able to bust out our best Robin Williams’ impression and tell DeRozan “It’s not your fault.” Of course, he was not the problem in Toronto. He was an outstanding Raptor for nine years and helped the team have the longest sustained period of success in the franchise’s history and there’s no shame in not being as good as one of the top players in the entire NBA.
Plus, there was one major factor missing in the Raptors’ postseason run: LeBron James, who tormented the team for years by repeatedly knocking them out of the playoffs in increasingly devastating fashion. DeRozan says he can’t help but wonder how things would have gone if he had a shot in the post-LeBron Eastern Conference.
“For the only person we lost to, to leave, and us not being able to get a chance to see how that might have been like, for me personally,” DeRozan said.