Watching this version of the San Antonio Spurs is kind of like having a new puppy. You can't expect it to know how to act all the time. You're proud of it and glad to have it in your life, but sometimes it leaves a mess on the floor.
Such are the growing pains of a team in its first official rebuild in over 20 years. All signs point to this being a forgettable season for fans of the Silver and Black in terms of results, but the immediate future doesn't appear to be as bleak.
San Antonio will be equipped with multiple draft picks over the next few years and should be able to find talent at all positions of the 2022 NBA Draft to speed up their re-tooling heading into next season.
That said, the Spurs have other issues to address beyond personnel. Although upgrading their roster should naturally help some of these problems, some internal adjustments may need to be made as well to make sure some worrying trends don't becoming long-lasting.
As we head into the final month of play before the postseason, here are three problematic trends we've seen all year long -- and how worried we should be about them.
1. The Spurs are collapsing in crunch time
When the fourth quarter clock strikes five minutes and the score is within five points or less, the Spurs have shown a tendency to collapse. Through 65 games played, they've had 31 come down to the wire and have only come out victorious in 10 of those for a 32% win rate. Only the Indiana Pacers have more such losses this season with 29.
Many of San Antonio's woes in these late-game situations stem from their offense falling apart. They have the league's worst offensive rating of 92.4 in clutch time. Considering their regular offensive rating is respectable at 111.8, that amount of drop-off is jarring.
Still, seeing the Spurs not knowing how to win with the game on the line in their first year without a superstar-level player isn't exactly surprising. To Dejounte Murray's credit, he has played well in closeout situations, making 44.6% of his 65 attempts in clutch time while scoring 40 more points than the next guy on the list, Jakob Poeltl.
This is the kind of thing that should improve with time and experience, something many of the Spurs lack so far. I don't expect guys like Devin Vassell (2-for-20) and Keldon Johnson (8-of-33) to continue shooting this poorly in close games going forward, and the addition of a veteran or two could also help this issue.