The San Antonio Spurs have hit a skid after a hot start to the year. Why have they been performing so poorly in recent weeks?
Despite a rough preseason full of injuries to key players and promising youngsters, the San Antonio Spurs were able to weather the storm and win six of their first eight games to begin the year.
However, they have now lost five of their last six games and have fallen to ninth place in the Western Conference.
It’s been frustrating to watch the Spurs recently on both ends of the floor after we were mesmerized by DeMar DeRozan’s dominance over the first eight games.
There is plenty of blame to go around for San Antonio’s recent rough patch.
Here are the top three reasons why they’ve fallen on hard times:
The Spurs’ players and coaches will not make any excuses for their performance of late, but it’s hard to ignore that injuries have played a large part in their early season struggles.
Dejounte Murray’s torn ACL delivered a huge blow to this defense as he was by far the best defensive point guard in the league last season.
While White has recently returned, he is struggling to get into a rhythm, and Lonnie Walker is still currently sidelined with his meniscus injury.
Along with those preseason injuries, Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol have both missed significant time.
Gay has been a huge loss as he’s really the only reliable wing player on the Spurs’ roster, and Pau was playing well before he started dealing with foot soreness.
Hopefully this injury situation gets better as the season moves along because it’s been the main reason why San Antonio is hovering around .500 right now.
Next: LaMarcus Aldridge's shooting slump
LaMarcus Aldridge’s shooting slump
While LaMarcus Aldridge is dominating the boards with 11 rebounds per game and playing very solid defense with 1.2 blocks per night, he is in the midst of one of the worst shooting slumps of his career.
He currently has a true shooting percentage of just 46.7%, which would easily be a career-low for the six-time All-Star who has never finished a season below 50% in that category.
Aldridge mentioned that he would like to improve his three-point shooting this year, but that has clearly not happened as LaMarcus is 0-for-6 from deep this season.
DeMar DeRozan has been everything Spurs fans could’ve hoped for in his first season in San Antonio, but he needs some help from the other All-NBA player on this roster.
I don’t expect Aldridge to shoot this poorly all year long, but it’s extremely possible that the 33-year-old’s best days are behind him.
Next: Inability to win on the road
Inability to win on the road
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The Spurs have always dominated at home during the Gregg Popovich era, but they’ve also been one of the league’s best road teams during the past couple of decades.
Going back to the 2002-03 season, San Antonio has finished the year with a winning record on the road for 15 straight seasons!
That streak was snapped last year when they went 14-27 on the road, and they’ve struggled away from the AT&T Center again this season with a road record of 2-5 so far, including four straight losses.
The Spurs have been forced to play more young and unproven players over the past couple of seasons, and those guys typically perform much better at home.
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This team needs to become more mentally tough and start picking up some road wins if they want to be a contender this year.