Usually, after the San Antonio Spurs play a game, I try to come up with either three positives or three things we learned from the game. The one-point loss against the Mavericks certainly did not have any positives, and all the things we could learn from it are depressing to talk about. In fact, there are more questions than answers, which is almost never good after a basketball game.
The Mavericks did not play that great of a game. They could not get going from deep and, aside from Boban Marjonovic, shot fairly poorly from the field. They did have a solid defensive effort, but the Spurs still should have won. In a game where neither team played that well, the San Antonio Spurs were the worst team.
Instead of takeaways, I have three questions that need immediate answers if the San Antonio Spurs even hope to be a competitive or even relevant team this season.
1. Where is Jock Landale?
Jakob Poeltl will be missed while he enters health and safety protocols, but this seemed like an opportunity for Jock Landale to get a shot to finally play some meaningful minutes. After a great showing against the Pacers, Landale was all set to tear up the Mavericks' lowly interior defense. And yet, he didn’t get to play a single minute.
Where was he? I have no clue. Because while he was busy riding the bench, the Spurs’ bigs put up 18 points on 8/19 shooting and only snagged 11 boards. That would be a subpar game for Poeltl, and his two replacements in Eubanks and Young, who both got fairly even playing time, could not even muster a halfway decent individual performance between the two of them.
At least the two backups played solid defense. At the rate this season has been going, Poeltl will come back, drop a 20-point double-double, and then be inexplicably benched for the remainder of the week as Landale trudges out as the starting center when it makes no sense, rather than getting playing time now when the fans are on their hands and knees begging for it.
Landale is a floor-spacing center that can handle the ball. Young and Eubanks are both rather bumbling with the ball on the floor and are best in the low post or as a catch-and-shoot threat. This season, the Spurs’ offense has revolved around Poeltl’s better scoring and passing, so plugging in Landale, who can do both, just makes sense.