Lacking the star power of other Western Conference teams, the San Antonio Spurs aren’t the hottest team in the NBA. But that doesn’t excuse their passing over in Zach Lowe’s annual League Pass Rankings.
Unless you’re a fan of hard-nosed defense, precise ball movement, and a healthy serving of mid-range jumpers then this San Antonio Spurs team might not be for you. And while this iteration of the Spurs certainly isn’t as watchable as the 2013-2014 teams that had some of the best ball movement the league has ever seen, they didn’t deserve the dismissal that ESPN’s Zach Lowe served up.
Lowe has been putting out his League Pass Rankings for a while now. They’re a ranking of all the teams in the league, based on a variety of factors, that ultimately aims to rank the most watchable teams in the league. Obvious variables like the style of play and how good a team is come in to play. But smaller things like the style of play, flashy uniforms, and even nice court designs all impact teams ranking. This year Lowe had the San Antonio Spurs as the 25th ranked team.
Now a lot of this is subjective but still, 25th?! The refined post maneuvers and mid-range mastery of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge might not be for everyone but it certainly has to be more watchable than whatever the Memphis Grizzlies (21st) are going to be.
Admittedly, watching DeRozan and Aldridge is a bit of an acquired taste. Like old re-runs of The Office, there is a certain comfort to watching LaMarcus back down his opponent and splash a mid-range turn around jumper. Like a classic Jim-Dwight prank, there is timelessness in watching DeMar’s ballet-like footwork. But there’s plenty more to see here.
San Antonio was one of the slowest teams in the league last year. Ranking 22nd in pace last season, the Spurs should aim to play at a faster pace this year. That could lead to some fastbreak magic between the trio of DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, and Lonnie Walker.
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You can forgive Lowe for discounting Walker when ranking the Spurs. The young guard has hardly touched an NBA court so far in his career but should be in line for a much bigger role this year. He’s got jaw-dropping athleticism and should register more than a few thunderous fast-break dunks.
The Spurs have quietly put together an intriguing group of young players. Luka Samanic will, like most Spurs rookies, spend most of his time in Austin. But he’s shown flashes of being something special. There are moments when Samanic looks like he could be the next great international find for San Antonio and there are times when you can see how much work he does need to put in. His presence doesn’t move the needle on the Spurs watchability on a consistent basis but it adds something for more ravenous fans.
Pop will be good for one or more ejections during the season. That means at some point we’re likely to see Becky Hammon step in as the first woman to coach an NBA regular-season game. Seeing assistant coach Tim Duncan on the sidelines on a regular basis is sure to lead to more than a few laughs.
Lowe’s rankings are up for debate but there’s one thing that we can all come to a consensus on. The San Antonio Spurs desperately need to update their wardrobe. The Silver and Black is a classic, clean look. No debating that. But do we really need another version of the camo jerseys? I get the connection to the city but there are other, better options out there.
— Gabriel Hernandez (@ToneHero) October 31, 2018
The above tweet is just a concept but the old fiesta theme really needs to make a comeback. You can see fans wearing old gear at every home game. The Memphis Grizzlies finally bowed to their fan’s requests for a throwback and broke out their old colors. San Antonio should follow suit. It would certainly boost them up Lowe’s rankings.
You won’t find anyone from the team who is remotely concerned with how “watchable” they are. They’re far too concerned with getting ready for the season and locking up a 23rd straight playoff appearance.