The rest of November is huge for the San Antonio Spurs
It’s been a tough start to the season for the San Antonio Spurs and the rest of November doesn’t get any easier.
The start of the 2019-20 NBA season has not gone at all how the San Antonio Spurs had hoped. From uneven performances from their superstars to a frigid cold streak from behind the arc, there is plenty that San Antonio has to improve upon. But as iron sharpens iron, the Spurs will have plenty of chances to test themselves against adversity over the rest of the month.
Through the rest of the month, San Antonio plays five of their nine games on the road. Of their four home games, one comes on the second night of a back to back against the Portland Trail Blazers. The other three are against the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Despite a relatively easy start to the season, the Spurs sit at 5-6, good enough for ninth in the Western Conference but not at all where they had hoped to be. Over the rest of November, we can get a better sense of how San Antonio should handle the rest of the season.
It’s still far too early to cancel the season and declare a full-blown tank. Let’s not forget, it wasn’t until early December of last year that the Spurs got rolling. When they finally did catch fire they were able to go on a stretch of winning 13 of 16 games and pull themselves firmly back into playoff contention.
Winning stretches like that are impossible to predict but there are more than a few things that San Antonio can do to set themselves up for similar success. It’s no one player’s fault the Spurs find themselves in the situation they are in. Spurs twitters focused frustration on Marco Belinelli would tell you otherwise but not all the blame can be laid at his feet. It will take a full team effort to right this ship.
Right now Gregg Popovich seems determined to stick with his regular rotation and give players the freedom to fight through their cold spells. As we’ve seen in the past, all it takes is one game to spark a hot streak. That being said, San Antonio’s starting lineup hasn’t gotten it done this year. They’ve got an overall net rating of -2.6 and have routinely started games slowly.
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Trey Lyles has been effective but not overly impactful in his time as a starter. If that continues over the rest of the month he seems like a likely candidate for a role change. Rudy Gay started 51 games for San Antonio last year. He’s shown that he fits well alongside LaMarcus Aldridge and could add a much need scoring punch to the starting five.
Over the next two weeks, the Spurs have their work cut out for them. Defending home court and winning a few games on the road will go a long way towards easing the fears of fans. On the other hand, if San Antonio is unable to get back above .500 and build a bit of a cushion it might signal that it’s time to shake things up.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor recently reported that the Orlando Magic are in the market for scoring help and have looked at trading for DeMar DeRozan. If the Spurs continue to struggle, expect calls for DeRozan to be moved to become louder and louder. The fanbase is in love with Lonnie Walker, if moving on from DeMar opens up more minutes for him and nets assets in return it may be a move worth making.
San Antonio has never tanked and that’s not likely to change this season. But if the team continues to struggle it might be time for Gregg Popovich to take a hard look at his roster and start giving increased playing time to the young players who are the future of the organization.