Starting on September 30, the San Antonio Spurs will play five preseason games to kick off the 2018-19 season.
Over the course of those five games, the new-look Spurs will get their feet wet and prove what they’re capable of doing as a unit. They’ll kick off the preseason with three games at the AT&T Center starting on this coming Sunday. It’ll allow head coach Gregg Popovich to experiment with lineups, test player combinations and get a feel for what the team needs to improve upon going forward.
After the most radical offseason in recent Spurs history, there’s a lot to look forward to in the preseason.
The San Antonio Spurs today announced their 2018-19 training camp roster.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) September 24, 2018
The young core will more than likely receive extended playing time in the interest of preserving starters and integral role players. Many of them will vie for remaining roster spots and one will earn the team’s remaining two-way contract, so the team’s young core will likely compete hard in hopes of solidifying a role.
Preseason will kick off against a familiar foe, the Miami Heat. Led by point guard Goran Dragic, Miami was a fringe playoff contender last season before getting knocked out of the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers. While they failed to make a major splash in free agency, they’re said to be in the mix to acquire shooting guard Jimmy Butler, so this matchup may end up featuring a great battle at the two-guard spot.
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Second is the Detroit Pistons, who are hoping to make a postseason push led by a healthy Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson. Holding it down in the middle is center Andre Drummond, whose prowess as a rebounder and rim protector is not to be taken lightly. This game will be on Oct 5, five days after the first home game of the year.
Next up on the docket is a rivalry game against the Houston Rockets, who’ve transformed their roster ahead of the new season. The 2018 Most Valuable Player, James Harden, will make his first trip to the Alamo City in the new year alongside legendary point guard Chris Paul. This will be the first time Harden faces the Spurs without the newly-retired veteran Manu Ginobili, who historically battled with Harden through their careers.
For their fourth games, the Spurs will travel East to the McCamish Pavilion to take on rookie sensation Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks for their fourth game of the preseason. With a new coaching staff and a crop of young talent, the Hawks will be a speedy and versatile offensive unit for the Spurs to keep up with. Point guard Dejounte Murray will give Young one of his first lessons in facing elite NBA-level defenders.
They’ll finish up their short five-game stint with a trip to Disney World. The Spurs will head into Orlando to see old-friend Jonathon Simmons and the Magic, who drafted center Mo Bamba sixth in the 2018 NBA Draft. Bamba is touted as an elite rim protector and well-rounded offensive player, so the young center may cause problems for big man Pau Gasol.
With the NBA season rapidly approaching, Spurs basketball is finally just around the corner.