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San Antonio Spurs 2017-18 season: Player rankings for Week 3

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 2: Pau Gasol #16 of the San Antonio Spurs signs autographs before the game against the Golden State Warriors on November 2, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 2: Pau Gasol #16 of the San Antonio Spurs signs autographs before the game against the Golden State Warriors on November 2, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images)
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After Week 3, let’s look at the latest player rankings for the San Antonio Spurs.

Another week of San Antonio Spurs Basketball finished on Sunday. It resulted in a 2-2 record for the Silver and Black, with losses against the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, while defeating the Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns. Combined with Week 1 and 2’s games, it gave the Spurs a 6-4 record for the 2017-18 season.

In these games, certain players stepped up, while others struggled. Big weeks were seen out of Rudy Gay and Patty Mills, who broke out of a shooting slump.

Aside from them, how did these players stack up in our player rankings for Week 3? Let’s take a look.

No. 10: Brandon Paul

Previous week: 10

Brandon Paul returns at No. 10 in the rankings. He produced two solid games in Week 3, with 18 points against the Boston Celtics and 11 in the win over the Phoenix Suns. The 3-point shooting numbers have been great, too, at 52.9 percent in 1.7 attempts per game.

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Paul just needs a larger sample size before he moves up, along with consistency, His Week 3 also featured a game of 0-for-6 from the field and one that Gregg Popovich used him for just six minutes.

The 26-year-old rookie will be an interesting player to watch this season, as he tries to carve out a role. Injured players may take his spot, though, later this month.

No. 9: Manu Ginobili

Previous week: 7

Manu Ginobili didn’t play in two of the four games in Week 3 for the San Antonio Spurs, as the team had two back-to-backs. Given Ginobili is 40-years-old and potentially on his last legs, expect more of this throughout the season.

When the Spurs legend did play, he provided production as a ball handler and found some opportunities under the boards. He combined for 16 points in both games, but never shot above 33 percent. Instead, capitalizing on free throw opportunities.

Look for Ginobili to hang around the bottom of the player rankings for most of the season. He’ll always be a respected part of the organization, but is just a role player at this point of his career.

Next: No. 8 and 7

No. 8: Bryn Forbes

Previous week: N/A

Bryn Forbes returns to the player rankings after falling off Week 2’s list. He had four solid games, seeing over 20 minutes in three of the game the San Antonio Spurs played. All of them had him shoot over 40 percent from the field, while averaging 50 percent from 3-point range.

Forbes’ best game came against the Charlotte Hornets, when he put up 22 points in 22 minutes and looked like his 2017 Summer League version. He followed that with another 14 against Phoenix.

Scoring won’t be a problem for the Michigan State product. Like Paul, it’s a matter of keeping playing time when the roster gets healthy.

No. 7: Patty Mills

Previous week: 8

After a poor eight games, Patty Mills looks like his old self. He found his shooting stroke against the Hornets and Suns, shooting over 40 percent for the first time this season. That resulted in back-to-back games of 17 points and at least three 3-pointers made.

This happened after Popovich moved the Aussie guard into the starting lineup, replacing Dejounte Murray. So far, it’s resulted in a 2-1 record and something that may stick for the future.

Mills’ shooting rhythm led to San Antonio breaking out of its four-game losing streak. So, is it a sign of better things to come?

Next: No. 6 and 5

SAN ANTONIO, TX – NOVEMBER 5: Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots a free throw during the game against the Phoenix Suns on November 5, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – NOVEMBER 5: Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots a free throw during the game against the Phoenix Suns on November 5, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

No. 6: Dejounte Murray

Previous week: 6

Dejounte Murray struggled throughout Week 2, leading to his demotion. It wasn’t the worst thing for the 21-year-old, as he’s young and can learn more in a bench role, before moving into the starting lineup at a later date.

In Murray’s three games off the bench, he’s shot over 40 percent in all of them, picking up double-digit points against the Hornets and Suns. He picked up one steal in these three matchups, too, while continuing to attack the boards.

Around 18-22 minutes per game seems to be where the second-year guard settles in, for now. How will he stand when Tony Parker returns?

No. 5: Kyle Anderson

Previous week: 5

Kyle Anderson has been the biggest beneficiary of the San Antonio Spurs’ injuries. After never averaging above 16 minutes per game in three seasons, he’s hasn’t played fewer than 21 minutes through 10 appearances. It’s not resulting in a major boost to his statistical production, but enough to be a serviceable replacement for Kawhi Leonard.

When Leonard returns, Anderson will slide down the player rankings and potentially see his playing time cut in half. He’s better suited as a role player, and should flourish as a member of what could be a deep bench.

Next: No. 4 and 3

No. 4: Danny Green

Previous week: 4

Danny Green’s offensive production looked stellar in the first two weeks. It fell off in Week 3, however, with three games of single-digit point production, while making a combined four 3-pointers.

The Suns game was a comeback performance for Green, who shot 6-for-10 from the field for 14 points. It could translate into a solid week for the UNC product, as he fills a primary role in the Spurs’ starting lineup.

Green has averaged 9.7 shots per game, nearly three more than the 2016-17 season. Look for this to remain, until the team gets healthy.

No. 3: Pau Gasol

Previous week: 3

It’s clear the San Antonio Spurs don’t have the Pau Gasol of old, or even of his final season in Chicago, in 2015-16. Even with injuries to the team’s top scorers, he’s not playing above 25 minutes per game and scoring around 7-12 points.

Gasol is still picking up rebounds at 8.2 per game and blocking nearly two shots. However, with opponents going for small and athletic lineups, it takes him off the court for stretches, which varies his playing time and role in the offense. That could become even more volatile when Leonard returns, giving the Spurs a smaller player to use as a stretch four in certain lineups.

Next: No. 2 and 1

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – OCTOBER 29: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs is seen during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 29, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – OCTOBER 29: Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs is seen during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 29, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

No. 2: Rudy Gay

Previous week: 2

Rudy Gay continued his solid start to his first season on the San Antonio Spurs. He had three games of at least 12 points off the bench, including 20 points and 7 rebounds against the Hornets. This week brought him to 47 percent shooting (35 percent from 3-point range) for 12.6 points per game.

Gay doesn’t look like he lost a beat from his ruptured Achilles, a rarity for players recovering from this injury. It’s a great sign for the Spurs, who acquired him at a bargain price in the offseason (two years, $17.2 million).

The 11-year pro’s role will only be more important when the team gets healthy. He’ll strengthen the bench as the No. 1 player, providing scoring that compliments the team’s biggest names.

No. 1: LaMarcus Aldridge

Previous week: 1

LaMarcus Aldridge closes Week 3 as the No. 1 player for the third consecutive week. The offense continues to run through him, as he’s averaging 22.4 points and 8.5 rebounds in a comeback year, following 2015-16 and 2016-17’s issues.

Compared to the previous two weeks, Aldridge’s Week 3 was down. He had two games of fewer than 20 points, one of which led to a win (Hornets game), as well as three games of less than 40 percent shooting from the field.

Next: Top 25 players in Spurs history

Until Leonard returns, this is Aldridge’s team. Let’s see how they co-exist, whenever that time may come.

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