The San Antonio Spurs kick off their 2019-20 season on October 23rd. The season will feature many intriguing matchups in the shaken-up Western Conference.
In one of the most explosive off-seasons in recent memory, several teams in the Western Conference bolstered their rosters through blockbuster trades, free agency signings and draft picks.
With the perennial NBA Finals locks known as the Golden State Warriors losing two former Finals MVPs in Andrew Iguodala and Kevin Durant, as well as Klay Thompson reportedly not being available until after the All-Star break, the West is as wide open as it’s ever been.
Armed with a fully-healthy Dejounte Murray, the addition of DeMarre Carroll, promising draft picks and assistant coach Tim Duncan, the Spurs are poised to be right in the mix come playoff time in the new-look west. Led once again by Gregg Popovich with an array of talented coaches on the sideline, there’s little doubt that the Spurs will return to the postseason for a record-breaking 23rd consecutive season.
Here are some of the games to circle on your calendar as the Spurs begin their 2019-20 campaign.
Next: Knicks and Clippers
October 23rd – New York Knicks @ San Antonio Spurs
Usually, a regular season matchup against an Eastern Conference team that has not made the playoffs since 2013 doesn’t generate much interest, but Spurs fans will likely be extra vocal for this one.
As every fan of the silver and black knows by now, Marcus Morris verbally committed to sign with the team on a two-year, $20 million deal over the summer. Soon after, however, the power forward pulled a move made famous by DeAndre Jordan and backed out of his commitment to sign a one-year, $15 million deal with the Knicks.
The balk by Morris caused the Spurs to practically give away sharpshooter Davis Bertans for next to nothing and scramble for a backup plan. As we broke down previously, Morris explained his decision as one he made to benefit his family and meant no disrespect to the Spurs.
That said, something tells me Spurs fans will still let him hear it on his visit to the AT&T Center on opening night.
October 31st – San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers had just about the best off-season an organization can have.
Amid speculation that superstar Kawhi Leonard may end up on the Lakers or back in Toronto, it was the Clippers that ultimately landed the two-time defensive player of the year. If that wasn’t enough, Leonard brought six-time NBA All-Star Paul George with him to play for Doc Rivers and company.
An early-season matchup with the Clippers will be a good barometer for the Spurs to see how they stack up against what could be the number one team in the west come playoff time.
Next: Lakers and Rockets
November 3rd – Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs
Add the Los Angeles Lakers to the list of teams that improved over the summer. Continuing the offseason trend of creating a new one-two punch, Los Angeles completed a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans that sent six-time All-Star Anthony Davis to pair up with LeBron James this season.
San Antonio has a storied playoff history with LeBron and the Lakers franchise alike, however, Los Angeles has been unable to reach the playoffs in the last six seasons.
With another superstar to pair with James, the Lakers are expected to make a leap in the Western Conference this season and should be a good test for the Spurs come November 3rd.
December 3rd – Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
The I-10 rivalry between San Antonio and Houston always produces must-see matchups.
Since 2010, the Rockets and Spurs have combined to win every Southwest Division crown, with the Spurs earning six of the nine. Over the past two seasons, however, it’s been Houston that has won six of the eight head-to-head matchups with the silver and black.
In a move that surprised the NBA world, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The trade is sure to shake things up in the west, as it reunites Westbrook with former teammate James Harden and adds another dangerous playmaker to the lineup.
San Antonio will look to reverse their fortune against the Rockets as of late and get a good start in the season series when Houston comes to town.
Next: Nuggets and Pelicans
February 10th – San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets
While short-handed all last season, the Spurs still managed to make the playoffs as the seventh seed and push the second seed Denver Nuggets to seven games last April.
Serbian center Nikola Jokic had a breakout series against San Antonio, averaging 23 points and nine rebounds per game. The Spurs also got a heavy dose of guard Jamal Murray in the series, who earned a contract extension over the summer.
While the Denver Nuggets did not make many changes other than trading for Jerami Grant and drafting 7’2″ center Bol Bol, the Spurs will have the services of Dejounte Murray this time around to help defend the Nuggets’ roster of talented guards.
A rematch against the team that knocked you out of the playoffs last season is usually one you have circled on your calendar the next season. While they will have to wait until February for their grudge match, this game will be no exception.
April 5th – New Orleans Pelicans @ San Antonio Spurs
The Pelicans had probably the biggest roster overhaul in the NBA this season. While losing their All-Star big man in Anthony Davis, the Pelicans came away with a plethora of draft picks and young talent in return. New Orleans acquired Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram in the trade, along with draft picks that would ultimately turn out to be summer league standouts Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jaxson Hayes.
Of course, the Pelicans also drafted the most coveted No. 1 draft pick in recent years, Zion Williamson, which will definitely help fill the void left by Davis’ departure.
While the Spurs will already have played the Pelicans twice before this matchup, Zion’s AT&T Center debut will certainly be one to watch in late April.
We’re in for an exciting 2019-20 regular season slate in this wild NBA landscape.