San Antonio Spurs: Spurs ready to play faster than ever this year

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 07: Lonnie Walker IV #1 of the San Antonio Spurs drives the ball against Georges Niang #31 of the Utah Jazz and Ed Davis #17 of the Utah Jazz at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 07, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 07: Lonnie Walker IV #1 of the San Antonio Spurs drives the ball against Georges Niang #31 of the Utah Jazz and Ed Davis #17 of the Utah Jazz at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 07, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs are going to play faster than ever this year

Even when they were at their best, the San Antonio Spurs have never been a team that focused too much on outrunning teams. And for most of last season that was the case.

With LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles out the Spurs had to change things up in the bubble. Their lineups were smaller and faster than ever and they were leading the Spurs to wins.

During their eight games in Orlando, the Spurs ranked in the top-five in the league in pace, had a top-ten offense, and genuinely looked like they were having more fun playing. It was a refreshing change of pace but fans were right to wonder if it would carry over into this season.

With one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, the Spurs have the personnel to be one of the fastest teams in the NBA. And it sounds like they’re leaning even further into that identity in training camp.

Gregg Popovich wants San Antonio Spurs to stick with what worked

In speaking with the media earlier this week, Gregg Popovich made it clear that what the Spurs had going for them in Orlando is something they’re seeking to mimic this year.

Pop, asked if the Spurs plan to stick to the small-ball approach that worked for them in Orlando even with LaMarcus Aldridge due back:

“The strategy, the philosophy, the way we play is going to stay the same (as in Orlando). And everybody is going to have to adjust to that.”

— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) December 1, 2020

Pop would go on to talk about how returning players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles would have to adapt to the faster-paced style. What Aldridge has said himself makes it seem like he’s embracing the changes.

Hearing that the Spurs are going to play the same way they did in Orlando should be exciting news for every Spurs fan. They’re going to have to fight to make the playoffs but it’s not out of reach and, if they do come up short, at least they’ll go down playing a more exciting kind of basketball than what we saw for most of last season.

This is a weird transition year for San Antonio. With several key veterans approaching unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021 and an exciting young group of players the Spurs have are almost sitting on the fence between rebuilding and contending. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

There are a lot of questions around what the team’s plans are long-term but if we’re focusing solely on what’s going to happen this season, Spurs fans should be happy that we’re going to see more of the play that brought us so much joy during dog days of summer.

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Buckle up San Antonio Spurs fans, this should be an exciting year for the squad.

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