In recent years, teams that have seen a high degree of success have been able to space the floor incredibly well, usually by employing an undersized lineup with five players who can shoot and put the ball on the floor. We are well past the end of the big-man era. Bruisers like Shaq, Robinson, and Ewing were replaced by midrange scorers like Duncan, Garnett, Dirk, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
The San Antonio Spurs will not see much team success this season, but that doesn’t mean they can’t play like a winner. In crunch time, they need a lineup that can score from anywhere. The added benefit unique to this roster is that they will not have a defensive liability as any position. When a team like Golden State or Boston go small, they often have a clear weak link that can be exposed for opposing offenses.
In all honesty, the Spurs small ball lineup could be the best lineup available to the team, especially if certain players are moved at the trade deadline. With defensive stalwarts at point guard and center and three wings, this lineup has the spacing and IQ to get and prevent points down the stretch.
Point Guard - Tre Jones
In my mind, Tre Jones should be the starting point guard. His assist-to-turnover of 5.1 was second-best in the league last year. He is a true floor general who makes the players around him better. He can move the ball, drive to the hoop, and find the open man. In college, he was the ACC Defense Player of the Year, and in limited minutes with the Spurs, he has kept up the pace. He averages 1.3 steals per 36 minutes and contests more shots than any other guard on the team. He is scrappy, a good rebounder for his size, and one of the best passers in the league.
Granted, he is a poor shooter from deep. In 106 NBA games, he is shooting only 23.2% from deep on limited attempts. He is not a confident shooter, and it has heavily affected his scoring.
This preseason, he looked more willing to shoot the three-ball, although it only fell a third of the time. With a lineup advertised as one that can score from anywhere, it’s a little odd to add Jones to the mix, but someone needs to create for the plethora of shooters added to this lineup, and Jones is that guy.