We’re off! What a great first week around the league. We saw a lot of fun things from the fast-paced, fun style of the new-look Lakers, to my boy Jokic dropping a perfect Triple double. We are in for something very fun this year and yes, that includes the Spurs! Like everything though, there are some things that need to be addressed and fixed.
What I didn’t like:
The Spurs got tore up by 1’s & 2’s against both Minnesota and Portland. That was a huge concern for me going into the year with the loss of Dejounte Murray. Dame Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jeff Teague, Seth Curry, Evan Turner all shot efficiently and had themselves a very good day against the defense. While Turner, Curry, didn’t put up the most of points, they did a lot of things off the ball that impacted the game as well. Communication also isn’t all there. As Coach Pop said “we aren’t a very disciplined” when referring to the defense as a team. This is a whole new group for the Spurs. Players getting more minutes than usual as well.
While the starting unit is very good rebounding the basketball, the bench unit lacks, heavily. Pau Gasol during these first two games was borderline unplayable throughout. He looked very bad to say it nicely. Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Gorgui Dieng & Taj Gibson had them a good day on the glass. Offensively for them, it wasn’t like he was giving up 20-30, but the lack of athleticism and lack of strength in the post hurt a lot. In the P&R, oh man. Oh man. Not again. Not meant to be a Drake reference but he was not good. It’s not all his fault, he’s older, never been an athletic freak or anything like that, but he isn’t very well fit to play against the modern NBA.
Defensively as a unit, the communication isn’t all there, as coach Pop said, discipline also isn’t there. This unit is new, it’ll take some time to grow and become at its full potential. TURNOVERS. No, not Apple, I’m talking bad turnovers. Sweet Potato. Just joking, the Spurs turned the ball over quite a bit, averaging nine a game over the past two. That’s something that’ll get cleaned up over the year but with a new group, it’s bound to happen, it’s all growing pains. Now offensively, this group wasn’t very efficient but this is only the 1st week, two games in. Patty Mills shot bad both games, Marco was way off Saturday, as was Rudy Gay. From three, the Spurs were actually pretty good. As a team in total FG %, the best they shot was 43%. You can’t be overly dramatic and expecting them to shoot 55% etc, but closer to around 46.5-48% is what you’d want.
Now what I did like!
Man, DeMar DeRozan looks good. Really good. He and LaMarcus Aldridge play off of each other so very well. His passing was on full display Saturday night when he posted up nine assists on 50% shooting. Coach Pop clearly sees they fit well together as they both play minutes in the upper 30’s the past two games. Bryn Forbes while defensively wasn’t good, offensively was good. Man when he gets hot, there’s no stopping him. 5-8 from trey ball Saturday night, that is something you can work with there. You are cooking with gas when you give that kind of production offensively. Pau Gasol while defensively struggled, offensively 4-5, 1-1 from three isn’t bad.
Off the bench (So happy Jakob is starting) you can take that on most nights. While the Spurs shot 42% Saturday night, the 3 point shooting on both nights was on average, 43.5%! That is money. Dolla Dolla Bills y’all. Cash. Splash. You take that every single day and deposit it. Okay, I’m done. Seriously though, you have got to love that. My man Davis Bertans fits with this team so well. He is catch and shoot personified to the maximum. I love it. Quick trigger. Always looking to make a bucket, it’s something Spurs fans will grow to love, in the biggest moments, you might see the Latvian Legend hit bottom from 30.
The Spurs offensively can make some points, I was kind of worried about that, that’s definitely a big deal and a big plus for this squad. Defensively there’s some things I like, often there’s active hands on the courth, LaMarcus has held his own, as well as DeMar and Rudy Gay & Davis Bertans. There’s bright spots on this team defensively. More times than not this team will continue to give high effort and with high effort comes a high possibility of success. As the year grows and continues we’ll see and figure out what coach Pop dials up in lineups and scheme and technique throughout the year.
What I want to see change, Final Thoughts:
Well for starters, I want the Spurs to bring someone in at point guard and I feel as if it’ll happen in time. You can tell off the bat both point guards in Forbes & Mills struggle defensively and have a tendency to be very streaky. When the shot isn’t falling, their defense isn’t the good at their peak, they can be a liability. Ball movement/passing isn’t their strong suits either, so I think the Spurs will want to bring more of a true point guard in to help with generating 11 points a night, 5-7 assists and 2-3 rebounds a game.
Defensively, they’ll want someone who can defend P&R decent, as well as on-ball defense. *Cough Ricky Rubio* I want Jakob to get more minutes. He’s a good rebounder, and pretty athletic for a seven footer. I like the minutes for Marco & Davis, I think their three-point shooting helps the Spurs out a ton, especially when the offense could potentially become stale in some games.
My Predictions (2-0)
(10/22) @ Lakers: L. 107-100. LeBron’s Lakers will defeat the Spurs for their first win of the season. I think the high paced offense the Lakers have will give the Spurs a lot of trouble. While I think a big night comes for DeMar and LaMarcus, I feel the youth and inexperience of this Spurs team will struggle on the road at tough Staples Center. The Lakers are young and inexperienced as well, but have proven they can put up some points, and they can do it very fast.
(10/24) Pacers: W. 99-95. While the pacers have a strong front court in Sabonis and Turner, Victor Oladipo is no scrub. I think the Spurs match up very well with them, and at times McMillans offense can get a little stale and can get sucked into Vic iso ball a little too much (as we saw in the playoffs.)
(10/27) Lakers: W. 100-89. I think The Spurs will rebound very nicely off of the first meeting where they lose, and make some adjustments, fix some issues they have, and take home a W. I think the bench will play a huge factor in this game.
(10/29) Mavericks: W. 101-82. The mavericks while having one of the most dynamic and electrifying back-courts in the NBA, aren’t very balanced. While they should be getting Harrison Barnes back sometime soon, offensively outside of Dennis Smith and my pick for ROY, Luka Doncic, offensively they don’t have much. The Spurs have played DeAndre Jordan very well since his Clipper days, so I believe his presence offensively in the paint will be almost non-existent. Defensively as a unit, I don’t think they’re that good either, but Jordan is one of the best rim-protectors in the league.