San Antonio Spurs: Three X-Factors for success in the NBA’s return to play

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San Antonio Spurs

SAN ANTONIO,TX – OCTOBER 26: Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs and Lonnie Walker #1 battle the Washington Wizards for a rebound at AT&T Center. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

There’s still a chance that the San Antonio Spurs sneak into the 2020 NBA Playoff picture, but it’s going to take a concerted effort from the whole squad.

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for — NBA basketball makes its official return today starting with an early matchup between the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans followed by a possible WCF preview between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers. We’re still more concerned with tomorrow’s matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Sacramento Kings.

That kicks off an eight-game slate in which this alternate-reality version of the Spurs without their starting big men attempt to become the eighth seed. Their chances are improved by a play-in system implemented due to the irregular circumstances of this season. Most likely, the No. 9 seed will face the Memphis Grizzlies and if they win back-to-back games, they’ll earn that final playoff spot.

San Antonio isn’t out of it just yet and with the team’s priorities shifting, we’ll see what it looks like when the young guns are put first. Though DeMar DeRozan will still play a significant role for the team, starting at the four-spot through three scrimmages, he’s going to set up the young players as they go through the motions and try to compete for themselves.

We’ve never seen anything like this from professional sports. This is the first functional bubble that’s not associated with some sort of tournament as opposed to playing out a season traditionally. Therefore, the Spurs are about to get funky with some of these lineup combinations that will allow their young players to build chemistry while battling against top competition.

Had the season resumed as planned, the Spurs would’ve had one of the easier schedules to finish out the year. In this case, they’ll face more talented squads without as many freebies along the way. They need to bring their A-games and these three X-Factors play a major role in the outcome.

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