The San Antonio Spurs second unit has been letting them down
A crucial part of the success of almost every great San Antonio Spurs team has been a deadly second unit. And for much of this season, the Spurs looked like they were following that same formula.
Led by seasoned veterans in Rudy Gay and Patty Mills and flanked by explosive youngsters such as Lonnie Walker and Devin Vassell, the Spurs have had one of the best bench units in the NBA for much of the season. But over the past three weeks the wheels have fallen off.
Something’s been going on with the Spurs second unit over the past 11 games. San Antonio has lost nine of their last 11 and the bench unit is one of the leading causes. Once one of the best bench groups in the NBA, the Spurs have ranked dead last in overall plus/minus and are almost 20 points behind the 29th placed Minnesota Timberwolves.
In all honesty, I, like many Spurs fans, am not opposed to another trip to the lottery. This year’s draft class is full of interesting talent and the Spurs could benefit from another top player to add to their young core.
But if they want to get to get back to the playoffs, or even make the play-in tournament, something is going to have to improve in the second unit. Here are three players who can help make that happen.
Getting Lonnie Walker back will help give a jolt of energy to Spurs bench
Noticeably absent from the San Antonio Spurs second unit throughout this losing streak has been their exciting third-year guard, Lonnie Walker. Walker hasn’t played since March 22nd and his status remains up in the air as he works his was back from a wrist injury.
One of the things that has been missing most from the Spurs bench has been the electric playmaking-scoring combo that Walker provides. He has no problem getting into the lane and has a done a great job of improving as a playmaker over the past season and a half.
Walkers playmaking is impressive but the Spurs can get that from Patty Mills as well. Where they really miss Walker is in his ability to create his own shot off the dribble. Mills and Gay have both lost a step and Devin Vassell rarely chooses to go at it alone. But creating something out of nothing has never been a problem for Lonnie.
He’s still growing and there will be some pains that come with that but Walker is already one of the most versatile scorers on the Spurs. He can get you buckets from anywhere and has the explosiveness and agility to get to his spots on almost any possession.
Adding a dangerous talent like Walker will help the Spurs second unit but he’s not going to solve all of their problems. To do that, San Antonio should turn to their younger players.
Next: Devin Vassell