Spurs Report Card: Player grades through the first month of the season

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 18: The San Antonio Spurs. (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 18: The San Antonio Spurs. (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)
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LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

How does each player on the San Antonio Spurs grade out after one month of the 2019-20 NBA season?

Of all of the professional sports leagues, the NBA is debatably the least surprising. Coming into the season you have a good idea of which teams will contend for a title, who will be in the playoffs, and who will be in the lottery. If injuries don’t cripple a team you can usually predict where a team is going to end up at the end of the year with a fair degree of accuracy. That has not been the case for the San Antonio Spurs.

San Antonio never had a real shot at the title this year. With the star power on other teams like the LA Clippers and Houston Rockets, the Spurs were out of title contention before the season even started. But we still thought they would be in the playoff hunt at the very least.

With a mid-range dependant offense and aging star duo, there was always a chance that things could get rough for San Antonio but I don’t think anyone could have predicted what’s taken place over the past few weeks.

The Spurs have been lighting teams up while also getting torched on the defensive end. They’re in the middle of an eight-game losing streak and have tougher matchups ahead of them. It’s been an ugly start to the season that’s for sure.

It’s still early, this team still has time to turn things around and chase that historic 23rd consecutive playoff appearance. But things need to change and fast. Let’s take a look back at this first month of the season and hand out some player gades in our first report card of the season.

Next: The Second Unit

SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 18: The San Antonio Spurs. (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – OCTOBER 18: The San Antonio Spurs. (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Bench Mob

C+. Mills has been one of the more consistent Spurs off the bench. He brings his tenacious energy night after night and has been one of the few reliable three-point shooters on the team. Unfortunately, he’s also been one of the <a href=. PG. San Antonio Spurs. PATTY MILLS

B-. <a rel=. PG. San Antonio Spurs. DERRICK WHITE

<a rel=. SF/PF. San Antonio Spurs. RUDY GAY. B+

C. San Antonio Spurs. JAKOB POELTL. B-. On a team full of sub-par defenders, Jakob Poeltl stands alone. He’s holding opposing players to a very impressive 51.3 percent shooting at the rim so far. His recent insertion into the starting lineup could be a solution to the Spurs’ defensive woes. He hasn’t taken any steps forward though. Nearly all of his statistics are right in line with where they were last year. San Antonio hoped he could be a long-term solution at center going forward but he hasn’t made any real improvements or proven that he’s capable of doing so. The Spurs have a decision to make on Poeltl this summer. If he is able to help turn around this porous defense he could play his way into a long-term deal with San Antonio. If not, don’t be surprised if the Spurs offer a shorter, cheaper deal, or let him walk altogether.

San Antonio Spurs. LONNIE WALKER. C+. Walker is difficult to give a grade to. It’s tough to grade a player on only such limited playing time. He got chewed out pretty heavily by Gregg Popovich following his lackluster effort in a game against the LA Clippers and has since seen very little playing time. He’s been nailed to the bench, much to the frustration of Spurs fans. He shows more promise than most Spurs prospects and fans will continue to call for him to see the court as long as this team continues to struggle. If the Spurs are going to keep losing games they might as well playing their young guys.. SG/SF

D. Maro Belinelli’s performance through the first month of the NBA season has caused endless frustration for Spurs fans. He’s playing horrible defense, jacking up ill-advised leaning shots, and blocking <a rel=. SG/SF. San Antonio Spurs. MARCO BELINELLI

B. Similar to Lonnie Walker, it’s tough to grade <a rel=. SF/PF. San Antonio Spurs. DEMARRE CARROLL

Next: The Starters

Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, and Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, and Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Starters

C+. Dejounte Murray shows immense promise but he’s had an up and down start to the season. His shooting was always the big question and continues to be inconsistent. He can still get to the rim and facilitate at a high level but his inability to score consistently outside of the paint is a big limitation. He’s been playing under a minutes restriction so far, which could be holding him back somewhat. He was also just relegated to the bench. All in all, it hasn’t been the start of the season that Spurs fans had hoped for from Murray.. PG. San Antonio Spurs. DEJOUNTE MURRAY

C-. After the Spurs traded away <a rel=. PG/SG. San Antonio Spurs. BRYN FORBES

C+. DeRozan had an uneven start to the year but has turned it on lately. He still refuses to shoot the long ball, having only attempted four three-pointers on the season. He’s also an open door on defense. Opposing players are blowing past him and going right at the Spurs bigs. San Antonio’s defensive rating is a respectable 101.7 when DeRozan is off the court and 116.8 when he’s on it. That being said, he remains one of the few Spurs players who is capable of going out and creating his own shot. He’s been involved in a few trade rumors, which isn’t surprising given the uncertainty around his contract. If he continues to struggle on defense it wouldn’t be shocking to see San Antonio move him if they’re offered an attractive package.. SG/SF. San Antonio Spurs. DEMAR DEROZAN

B. LaMarcus Aldridge remains one of the most consistent offensive options the Spurs have but he’s clearly lost a step. Thanks to his “old man at the YMCA” style game it doesn’t impact his ability to score that much but it’s still noticeable. While other players on the Spurs have struggled on defense, Aldridge is actually holding his own. He’s averaging a career-high 1.9 blocks per game this year. As impressive as that is, it’s as much a consequence of the Spurs lackadaisical perimeter defense as it is Aldridge’s ability to protect the rim. If San Antonio’s guards held their own better and prevented opposing players from getting to the rim as often as they have it’s unlikely Aldridge would be sending back as many shots as he has. Similar to DeRozan, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Spurs move on from Aldridge if the right deal comes along.. PF/C. San Antonio Spurs. LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE

Expectations for <a rel=. PF/C. San Antonio Spurs. TREY LYLES. B+

The San Antonio Spurs offense can be one of the best in the league. Next

San Antonio needs more out of its starters. Plain and simple. Gregg Popovich has experimented with different lineups in search of a winning combination but we will see how the next month plays out.

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