The San Antonio Spurs will hit the road for their first away game of the year against rookie point guard Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday evening.
For the season’s first road game, head coach Gregg Popovich’s actions will give a clearer indication as to how he’ll manage San Antonio’s current point guard rotation. With Atlanta projected to be a bottom team in the East, this contest will likely allow many of the younger players to play significant minutes.
Atlanta spent the offseason completely restructuring their franchise. After five seasons led by former Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer, the two parties agreed to part ways ahead of the 2018 offseason. They subsequently began a new rebuild led by general manager Travis Schlenk and head coach Lloyd Pierce, who come from the strong cultures of Golden State and Philadelphia respectively.
Both San Antonio and Atlanta have something to prove this season, but for very different reasons. The Spurs will play with chips on their shoulders because of the rollercoaster ride of an offseason they’ve endured and the recent injury to point guard Dejounte Murray only added fuel to the fire. Atlanta, on the other hand, wants to prove that they’re trending in the right direction with their new front office and rotation.
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 10
Time: 6:30 p.m. CST
Location: Atlanta, GA
Venue: McCamish Pavilion
TV Info: N/A
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Point Guard Duel
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Combo guard Derrick White will start at point guard for the Spurs tonight, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeff McDonald. White is the favorite to take over for Murray because of his sustained growth over the course of the past year.
Developing talent in-house and implementing players as needed has kept the Spurs dynasty going over the past 20 years. White will join a long line of players who’ve been called upon to deliver for the organization after spending time as an Austin Spur. This matchup will provide a great opportunity for White to show the league what he’s capable to doing in a featured role.
Meanwhile, rookie sensation Trae Young is ready to set the NBA ablaze with his magnificent court vision and killer range from behind the arc. White may be the more well rounded player at this point in their young careers, but both guards emphasize ball movement and three-point shooting in their offensive strategies.
Derrick White will start at point guard for the Spurs in Atlanta
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 10, 2018
It’s crucial that White proves himself on the defensive end of the floor in tonight’s matchup. With Murray’s defensive prowess gone, White will need to defend the league’s best scorers, passers and shooters this season. No, Young doesn’t fit the description quite yet, but he certainly provides a challenge for defenders.
Young’s deceptive handle and quick trigger make him a dangerous opponent, this is going to be a great test of White’s all-around ability. His performance tonight will likely have a lasting impact on general manager R.C. Buford’s strategy ahead of the season.
What to keep an eye on
With uncertainty shrouding the Spurs heading into the regular season, this face off against the Hawks may help solve some questions surrounding San Antonio. Rotational concerns and ideas will come to fruition throughout the night.
Here are some things to watch for during tonight’s game:
– The developing chemistry between DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge– The distribution of minutes at the point guard position– How does Chimezie Metu fit into all of this?– Will Jakob Poeltl play more minutes than Pau Gasol?– Keep an eye out for Rudy Gay, who looks healthy and fresh for the first time as a Spur
This game can help to answer a lot of lingering questions for fans. No, a Wednesday evening preseason matchup against Atlanta isn’t going to help Popovich solve all of the team’s questions, but it’ll definitely help.
It’ll be an interesting night for the Spurs, no matter the outcome. Many people have spent the offseason counting them out but they’ve got too much pride and talent to go down without a fight. This is only the beginning of their journey together.