We’re a little over a week into the NBA season, and the San Antonio Spurs sit at 2-2 after dropping a nationally televised game against the Houston Rockets Thursday night, 98-81.
It hasn’t been a perfect start to the season, as the Spurs have fallen behind teams like the Rockets, Warriors, Grizzlies, and even the Kings in the West standings, but, we still have over 75 games to go, giving the Spurs plenty of time to stack up some wins and propel themselves back to the top of the West hierarchy.
Scroll through the slides to check out our takeaways from the first week of action, both good and bad.
There will be more games like Thursday night
Thursday night was ugly, no matter how you look at it. The San Antonio Spurs were hammered by one of their biggest rivals, and it happened on national television.
Furthermore, Coach Popovich opted to rest Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Throw in the absences of Marco Belinelli, Tiago Splitter, and Patty Mills, and the San Antonio Spurs once again had a severely depleted lineup, causing everyone to question Pop’s methods once again.
The bottom line is, Popovich isn’t going to change the way he manages his roster, whether the game is televised or not, and he’s basically immune to criticism.
He’ll continue to rest Duncan and Ginobili liberally, and he’ll be very cautious with injuries. It may lead to some rough games, but the team will be better off in the long run, especially come playoff time.
It doesn’t really matter how many people are watching the game; if it’s night two of a back-to-back, there’s a good chance at least one of Duncan, Ginobili, or Parker are sitting out. It’s crucial that these guys stay healthy of the team wants to make another run, because …
The old guys cans still get it done
Duncan, Parker and Ginobili continue to win the battle against Father Time, as neither of them show any signs of slowing down.
Duncan has been as efficient and quietly productive as ever, with averages of 15.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 2.67 block per game in only 31.7 minutes through the San Antonio Spurs first four games.
Ginobili will see his minutes cut this season with the emergence of Danny Green, but he’s still a versatile and productive sixth man, and while Parker often gets lumped into this group, he’s only 32, and he’s proven time and time again that when the chips are down, he’s one of the top point guards in the league.
Kyle Anderson will be a good player … eventually
Kyle Anderson made his NBA regular season debut Thursday night, playing 31 minutes against the Rockets and posting 4 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
His performance hinted at the good (versatility) and the bad (1-8 shooting), but it may take some time before he’s fully unleashed.
The San Antonio Spurs we’re missing a lot of players last night, which undoubtedly contributed to his heavy playing time.
When relatively healthy, the Spurs’ rotation is pretty much set in stone, and Anderson isn’t really a good enough shooter to supplant anybody yet. He’s landed on the perfect team, but Slow-Mo may not get the chance to really shine for a while.
Cory Joseph looks like a keeper
Joseph was the San Antonio Spurs’ best player Thursday night, scoring an incredibly efficient 18 points on 9-11 shooting in only 22 minutes off the bench.
He’s shooting over 50% from the field this season and he looks like he can provide a nice offensive punch off the bench. With Patty Mills injured, Joseph is the San Antonio Spur’s primary backup point guard for the time being, and so far, it looks like he’s more than comfortable in that role.
The West will be as challenging as ever
Once again, the West looks incredibly challenging, and as good as the San Antonio Spurs are, they really have their work cut out for them if they hope to repeat as NBA champions.
The 6-0 Rockets have won every game by at least 10, the bruising Grizzlies are undefeated and flying under the radar yet again, and the Warriors look like they might be the best team in the league so far.
The Clippers are still dangerous, and the Mavericks look much improved and very strong offensively.
Assuming the Thunder can survive their injuries and make the playoffs, the duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will make them force.
The Suns offense looks as explosive as ever, Anthony Davis is becoming a superstar for the Pelicans, and the Kings are a surprising 4-1 thanks to DeMarcus Cousins’ stellar play. The San Antonio Spurs are still in the mix, but it the West is going to be absolutely brutal.