Even if though their chances of making the playoffs are slim, potential games at Disney would be the perfect place for the San Antonio Spurs to showcase the young talent they have on the roster
As the NBA continues to try to find creative ways to bring back basketball, one frontrunner has emerged from the rest. It’s increasingly likely that the San Antonio Spurs and the rest of the NBA could play out the remainder of the regular season at Disney World.
Whether or not the NBA decides to play out the final regular-season games or jump straight into the playoffs remains to be seen. There are several pros and cons to both scenarios. On one hand, teams like the Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, and Portland Trail Blazers were all within striking distance of the Western Conference Playoff spot when the season was suspended. They deserve a chance to compete for that final spot.
On the other hand, including teams like the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks, teams with no shot whatsoever of making the postseason would only serve to increase the number of people who would have to make the trip to Florida. And more people means more testing, more preventative measures, and frankly a greater risk of infection. Juggling how best to resume play is just as important of an issue facing the NBA as where to resume play.
Even in the most ideal scenario the Spurs chances of making the playoffs were slim. They were several games back, had struggled to build any sort of momentum, and seemed to be leaning towards throwing in the towel when we last saw them play. It’s tough to see them making a legitimate playoff push if they’re included in games at Disney. But the games could still serve a purpose for the long term vision of the team.
San Antonio Spurs should showcase their young talent during games at Disney
Gregg Popovich has a long-standing policy of not playing rookies unless they’re truly exceptional and that didn’t change much this year. We hardly ever saw Luka Samanic and Quinndary Weatherspoon, outside of a lone road game against the Brooklyn Nets we rarely ever saw the two.
Of the Spurs rookies, Keldon Johnson made the biggest impact in his rookie season. He had finally cracked the rotation over the final few games before the season was suspended. He was averaging close to 17 minutes per game over the team’s final four games before the suspension, and making the most of his opportunity.
He was shooting from deep well, playing solid defense, and constantly attacking the rim when he had a chance. He’s got a versatile two-way game and should be a solid role player for San Antonio for years to come.
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The Spurs focus should be on just playing the rookies though, get some of the other young players involved. They could finally experiment with running out a starting backcourt of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, start Lonnie Walker at small forward, deploy Jakob Poeltl at center. Get wild with it.
If they approach the final stretch of the regular season as a sandbox environment to try things they might never have done in the traditional regular-season they might end up being surprised by what they find.
As excited as fans are to get basketball back, players are chomping at the bit even more. And while veteran players might embrace a little more time in the Florida sun, younger guys would surely jump at the chance to play in situations that Pop and the rest of the coaching staff wouldn’t have typically put them in.
Not only would experimenting with lineups and emphasizing young players be good for the young Spurs development, but the fans would also enjoy it too. NBA fans are starved for real basketball right now. ‘The Last Dance’ was amazing, replaying classic NBA games is great, but nothing quite replaces the real NBA that we all love.
San Antonio Spurs fans just endured one of the most trying seasons of the past twenty-plus years. Yes the team is still within arms reach of the playoffs but when you’re used to cranking out 50 win seasons and postseason basketball becomes the assumed outcome of the regular season this is what is considered ‘trying’. Fans are going to go nuts over these Disney games, there would be no better way to excite the Spurs fanbase than to throw them a bone and play the young players were all enamored with.
There are still a lot of questions surrounding the potential end to the San Antonio Spurs season. But if they do get the chance to play at Disney World, putting the young players on the team on full display should be the focus.