The San Antonio Spurs had an incredible start to the season in October, and these stats help put that month in perspective.
The San Antonio Spurs suffered a ton of adversity throughout the offseason and preseason with major trade demands and injuries at the guard position, but the machine just keeps rolling.
DeMar DeRozan has made a seamless transition in San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge has been a beast down low, and the role players have mostly stepped up in some form or fashion.
Gregg Popovich is also doing one of his best coaching jobs as the Spurs are off to a 5-2 start.
I combed through the stats from the opening month of the season to see why San Antonio has been successful and what they can possibly improve on moving forward.
Next: The efficiency of DeMar DeRozan
The efficiency of DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan had always been a high-volume scorer during his time with the Raptors, but he has increased his efficiency this season while maintaining a high usage rate.
The four-time All-Star’s usage percentage of 30% is the second-highest rate of his career, but he is enjoying career-highs in true shooting percentage (58.7%) and player efficiency rating (25.9) with that high volume. He’s also distributing the ball extremely well with a career-high 7.3 assists per game.
It’s even more impressive considering he’s doing all of that while struggling with the three-point shot (27.3% on 1.6 attempts per game).
DeRozan is essentially the only shot-creator and true playmaker in this offense, but he’s continued to record up the best numbers of his career while opposing defenses have put their entire focus on stopping him.
Next: LaMarcus Aldridge gobbling up offensive rebounds
LaMarcus Aldridge gobbling up offensive rebounds
LaMarcus Aldridge has been struggling with his shot early on this season with an ugly true shooting percentage of 50.3%.
However, he’s been doing the dirty work on the offensive glass creating some easy offense for himself and second-chance points for his team.
Aldridge has averaged 2.7 offensive rebounds per game during his 13-year career, and his career-high in that statistic before this season was 3.4.
The six-time All-Star has been crashing the offensive boards with a vengeance this season as he’s grabbed an eye-popping 4.3 offensive rebounds per game in October.
Most teams around the league have favored transition defense over offensive rebounding over the past few years, but the Spurs are having a ton of success creating extra possessions with offensive rebounds and that begins with Aldridge.
Next: Team Defense is struggling
Team Defense is struggling
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While those stats from DeRozan and Aldridge are outstanding, the Spurs can still improve after a good month of October, especially on the defensive end.
The Spurs have ranked in the top three in defensive rating in six straight seasons, but they currently rank 18th in that statistic this year.
According to Cleaning the Glass, San Antonio has given up an effective field goal percentage of 54.6% this season which ranks 24th in the league.
The Spurs don’t have a ton of individual defensive talent like they have in the past, especially with the loss of Dejounte Murray.
But many expected Gregg Popovich’s scheme to make up for the lack of one-on-one defenders.
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I’m going to trust that these early struggles are a result of a small sample size and Pop will be able to turn this defense around as players get more familiar with his system. We have a much larger sample size of San Antonio consistently being incredible on defense and I expect them to finish the year in the top ten once again this season.