As the San Antonio Spurs approach the second quarter of a shortened NBA season, their team defense has shown shades of the golden era. In their last two games, they’ve given up just 101 to Washington and 106 to a tough Celtics squad currently averaging nearly 113.
Pacing San Antonio’s defensive efforts are guys like Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, and Jakob Poeltl, the last of which is currently leading the league in defensive RAPTOR rating. Heading into the weekend, the Spurs have the 9th-ranked defensive in the NBA, allowing 110.4 points per game (13th-best).
While they’ve had impressive defensive stretches so far this season, there are times where rotations have been — let’s just say, a bit slow. No one has been the culprit of this more often than LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge brings a new strategy to the San Antonio Spurs: The 15-foot contest
It’s no secret that teams seek out LaMarcus defensively — constantly using simple screen and rolls to get him a step or four behind the play. This was especially evident in losses like the Minnesota debacle that saw Naz Reid score 16 points in just eight shot attempts.
While Aldridge puts in the effort, he just doesn’t have the footspeed to keep up with much of the young talent on the court on a nightly basis. Still, he’s trying, which has resulted in a new defensive strategy: the 15-foot contest.
It’s glorious. Anyone whose ever been coached properly knows to get a hand up on a shot, especially when chasing down a wide-open one. I’m just not sure how effective that strategy is when you’re an entire NBA-paint-length away from your man.
Something tells me this brand of defense isn’t going to catch on leaguewide, as it has resulted in this in all three instances shown in the tweet above.
Yup, all three big men knocked down the shot despite Aldridge’s last-second, NBA 2K-style contest.
While it’s hilarious to watch, let’s hope he doesn’t add too many more of these to his growing collection as the season progresses. He’s undoubtedly reached all-time status as a Spur with his accomplishments — but let’s hope the coaching staff addresses this sooner than later.