It's still not clear how the season is going to pan out for the 2022 San Antonio Spurs. Still, one thing has become clear: this team is very different from last year's.
Gone are the days of relying on one star-level player to make things happen, sometimes resulting in a bogged down offense and predictable plays. The new Spurs are pushing the pace, forcing turnovers, and focusing on growth as a team as they try to figure out how to close games.
With 17% of the season now in the books, San Antonio will need to start making a push as their starting center returns soon before they fall to far out of play-in contention. Building on some of their major improvements from last season will be a good way to start, while working on some early weaknesses would also go a long way.
Here are some numbers that stand out as dramatic shifts from last season's team that won 45.8% of its games.
1. Steals per game: 7.0 (22nd) to 9.1 (7th)
Through 14 games, the Spurs are firmly in the top 10 in the league in steals per game. A big reason for that is Dejounte Murray, who's averaging a career-high 2.1 steals per game, which is tied for 6th in the league.
Beyond the thievery of Murray, four different Spurs are averaging over one steal per game: Keldon Johnson (1.1), Derrick White (1.1), Devin Vassell (1.1), and Thaddeus Young (1.3).
San Antonio's ability to force turnovers while not committing many of their own has been a big reason they've remained competitive in just about every game despite coming up short in the end. Given how wide-open their offense is, they'll need to remain near the top of the NBA in forcing turnovers to generate enough points against the better teams.