What to expect from Air Alamo and the San Antonio Spurs amid NBA suspension
By Dylan Carter
With the NBA season suspended indefinitely, here’s what you can expect from the San Antonio Spurs and our coverage of the silver and black.
Major professional sports leagues have been preparing for the worst as of late as the coronavirus continues to gather momentum in the United States. Their provisions came to a head when NBA commissioner Adam Silver slapped the Doomsday button on Wednesday night.
Silver suspended the NBA season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus prior to a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. As the league took immediate action and games were postponed, we got radio silence from the San Antonio Spurs officials, players, coaches and personnel.
More information will trickle out in the coming days with the league taking this time to devise a plan of attack for the remainder of the season. It appears that the NBA is planning for a two-week period during which teams will be allowed to meet and practice, but no games will be held.
For Spurs fans, this means the seemingly-inevitable end of their coveted 22-year playoff streak is being pushed back and that the AT&T Center will be a bit quieter for a few weeks. San Antonio sits at 12th in the Western Conference, a modest four games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies after their convincing win against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
So you must be asking yourself: What does all of this mean for the Spurs?
First and foremost, the Spurs are going to get some deserved rest and relaxation. The NBA’s patient-zero only started dealing with the illness during the week and it’s been 20 days since the Spurs played the Jazz, so Gobert wouldn’t have been infected the last time these two teams met.
However, there are few degrees of separation between the league’s 30 teams. Players are always connected and teams play against different opponents every night, so it’s still possible that the virus spreads further throughout the league. Details regarding other infected players are scarce at the moment, but the NBA is testing players and working to ensure the player’s safety.
San Antonio has some players dealing with injuries, but none facing illness. The suspension of league-wide activity could bode well for the Spurs’ playoff chances as long as the remainder of the season is played out. Three young players: Dejounte Murray (calf strain), Jakob Poeltl (MCL sprain) and Lonnie Walker IV (shin contusion) are all nursing injuries at the moment, and having them back in the rotation could help the Spurs make a genuine playoff run.
Head coach Gregg Popovich is likely going to enjoy some wine in his time off while preparing for the rest of the season and the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. This will give him time to contemplate what his next step is, and if that includes continuing with the Spurs, what their next step is in the offseason.
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Speaking of offseason, that’s a topic we’ll be talking about in the coming weeks. The 2020 offseason is going to be crucial to the longterm development of this Spurs team because general manager Brian Wright, as well as Pop and Spurs CEO R.C. Buford need to decide whether it’s worth keeping the veterans around instead of focusing on the youth movement.
Even though we won’t have game coverage, the staff here at Air Alamo is going to continue providing updates, analysis, predictions, draft coverage and columns regarding your San Antonio Spurs.
With this global pandemic dominating headlines, I’m sure you all were looking forward to some Spurs basketball to keep your minds off of its daunting reality—you’re not alone in the sentiment. However, we’re not going to leave you hanging. Not only are we going to look at this year’s Spurs, but we’ll look back at some pivotal moments in Spurs history as well as some of the exciting times that lay ahead.
Keep your chin up and power through; Spurs basketball will be back before you know it. Just don’t forget to wash your hands.