Let’s go month-by-month with the San Antonio Spurs’ schedule for the 2017-18 season and start with October.
The San Antonio Spurs are just two months away from the 2017-18 season starting. They will look to avenge a Western Conference Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, who swept them in four games.
The new season is a fresh start, which goes for everyone. It will begin in the middle of October and continue through April.
With time remaining before the start of the season, let’s start to break down the schedule for the Spurs. This will begin with October’s slate of games.
Wednesday, Oct. 18 – vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Spurs will start the season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. They’ll flash a new look, not only with fresh jerseys, but two players.
The Wolves struck a deal with the Chicago Bulls to acquire Jimmy Butler, which sent the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. They then signed point guard Jeff Teague in free agency.
Teague and Butler will join Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to form a formidable core in Minnesota. They may take time to gel, so Opening Night could go in San Antonio’s favor.
Saturday, Oct. 21 – @ Chicago Bulls
One of October’s easiest games will be against the Chicago Bulls. Butler is gone and Dwyane Wade might leave. Other than that, there’s not much to get excited about.
The 2017-18 Bulls will be a young team with growing pains. LaVine, Lauri Markannen, Denzel Valentine and Cameron Payne will be the focus of this team, which won’t spell “championship” or “playoffs.”
If San Antonio is fully healthy for this game, look for them to get a road win here. They should have their way with a Chicago team that could be without LaVine, who suffered a knee injury in the 2016-17 season.
Next: Raptors and Heat
Monday, Oct. 23 – vs. Toronto Raptors
It’s a similar look for the Toronto Raptors in the 2017-18 season. Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka re-signed, while DeMar DeRozan will return for another year in the Great North.
Lowry and DeRozan can run hot and cold, but when they’re on it’s one of the NBA’s top backcourts. So, they may be a handful for the San Antonio Spurs’ starting point guard, but a potential lockdown for Kawhi Leonard.
With questions around the Spurs’ big man depth, this could be a big night for Ibaka and Jonas Valunciunas, if they can get to Joffrey Lauvergne and take advantage of this smaller team. It may also be a redemption season for Ibaka on the defensive end, so he may be the player to watch for here.
Wednesday, Oct. 25 – @ Miami Heat
The 2017-18 Miami Heat team will look similar to the 2016-17 squad, with the exception of Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk. Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, and James Johnson will all return. Even Udonis Haslem remains, somehow.
The Heat offer enough depth to be a threat to the Spurs in this game. They can go nine or ten deep to contend against San Antonio and give them problems throughout. And, when Waiters is on, he can be a terrific scorer.
Next: Magic and Pacers
Friday, October 27 – @ Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic acquired young talent over the past five years, but never gained any ground in the Eastern Conference. They’re still trying this, with the selection of Jonathan Isaac in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Magic still have a talented core, with the potential to break out at any time if they pieces finally align. It’s youth vs. experience here, however, and one that Spurs could win. The athleticism of this younger Orlando team may give Gregg Popovich’s squad fits, but should be favored to win.
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Sunday, October 29 – @ Indiana Pacers
This will be one of the first games for the post-Paul George era in Indiana. They’ll be led by Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. There’s upside potential with these three players, but the rest of the roster is questionable.
If this new Pacers team gels, the potential for an upset is there. The younger players may get an upper hand on LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol but, when you look at the which team has Kawhi Leonard and the one that doesn’t, it makes the differential between the San Antonio Spurs and Pacers stark.
Monday, October 30 – @ Boston Celtics
October will finish with the Boston Celtics. If the Cleveland Cavaliers trade Kyrie Irving, this may be the Eastern Conference’s favorite to get to the 2018 NBA Finals.
This will be the Spurs’ first look at Gordon Hayward in a Boston Celtic uniform. He’s known well from his days on the Utah Jazz, but didn’t have spectacular games against San Antonio. The Butler product averaged just 15 points in two games and shot 16 percent from behind the arc.
There are others beyond Hayward, however. Isaiah Thomas, Jay Crowder, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown remain, while rookie Jayson Tatum was added to the mix. This might be San Antonio’s toughest game of October.
What game are you most looking forward to for the San Antonio Spurs in October?