The San Antonio Spurs need to come out strong to start the season
By Ethan Farina
While losing both of their preseason games the San Antonio Spurs have looked flat and rusty. If this continues it could be costly in the early parts of the season.
The preseason in the NBA is vastly different than the NFL. Remove the third and fourth string guys giving their all in hopes of securing a final roster spot. Replace them with many seasoned veterans just getting back into competitive basketball and coaches who are just as rusty after a summer off. The San Antonio Spurs are no exception to this.
You can only glean so much from preseason basketball but don’t tell that to one of the self-proclaimed NBA analysts on Twitter. While Spurs have certainly looked flat thus far that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will take that into the season with them.
However meaningless these preseason games might be, that won’t stop Gregg Popovich from ripping into his team as if they had just lost two crucial mid-season contests.
Two games into the preseason, Pop already bemoaning his team's lack of competitiveness and "give an (excrement) factor." Says it will be "a long-ass year" if that doesn't improve.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 9, 2019
Maybe Popovich is purposefully overreacting to the pair of lopsided losses to lower-tier Eastern Conference Playoff teams as a motivational tactic. But that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.
The season starts in just two weeks and the San Antonio Spurs won’t have the luxury of warming up their engines before things get serious. They only have a few more warm-up preseason games until the real action starts. And the real action is going to get real serious, real quick.
San Antonio gets to start the season playing the cupcake New York Knicks (the booing of Marcus Morris will be a special opening night treat) and then the Washington Wizards. After that, the schedule turns into a murders row of playoff contenders.
Following Washington, the Spurs schedule looks like this: home vs. the Trail Blazers, at the Clippers, at the Warriors, home vs. the Lakers, at the Hawks, home vs. the Thunder, home vs. the Celtics.
The “easiest” of those opponents are the Hawks and Thunder. And neither of them are games that should be taken lightly. Atlanta should surprise people this year and the new-look Thunder were impressive in their preseason win over the Mavericks.
Yes, these preseason games are ultimately meaningless. And perhaps Popovich is being hyperbolic and is simply looking to motivate his team. But that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.
Coming out flat against their first slew of tough opponents will cost the Spurs precious wins. Wins that they will surely need in the highly competitive Western Conference.
The next opportunity for the Spurs to get right comes in their third preseason game against the Pelicans on Sunday, October 13th.