4. Dougie and Bryn Worked
In the first half, the Spurs were down by 19 at one point. The famously poor defense of Dougie McBuckets and the even worse defense of Bryn Forbes might be initially to blame, but you’d be wrong.
In the first half, Doug McDermott and Forbes shared the floor for around ten minutes. In that time, the Spurs actually outscored the Heat 15-13. As expected, both Dougie and Bryn had solid nights on offense and failed to play any amount of defense. However, the double-barrelled firepower approach seemed to have worked, as the Spurs came out ahead when those two shared the court.
Both of them played significantly more than 20 minutes, and including the time they were on the court without their other half, they combined for a box plus/minus of +5, which is pretty good considering the whole lineup had one of -4.
Should the Spurs run these two together more often? Honestly, yes. With both of them posted in the corner and a slasher like Murray running point, add two defensive stoppers like Poeltl and Devin Vassell and you have a good lineup.
Vassell seems more comfortable with the midrange, so he and Murray can handle the ball and kick out to the two shooters. And even with two defensive liabilities on the floor, Devin Vassell is one of the best defenders in the class of 2020, and Poeltl and Murray are both in contention for an All-Defensive nod. The pros outweigh the cons, and the San Antonio Spurs could form one of the best shooting units in the league.
5. The Spurs Can Keep Trusting the Young Guys
In the final six minutes when the game was going back and forth, Popovich put Joshua Primo in for the first time. He finished the game out alongside Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Luka Samanic, and Lonnie Walker IV.
Granted, it was Walker’s boneheaded turnover and missed dunk in the final seconds that nailed the coffin closed, but this lineup managed to keep the game close and put pressure on one of the better teams in the East.
Between the five guys out there, the average age was 20.6 years. This lineup gave the Miami Heat hell and they won’t even peak until 2026. Keep them playing, keep them growing, and keep them engaged. The ceiling is high, but the floor is low.
To avoid a collapse, the young guys need experience. Don’t rely on Thaddeus Young or the older guys. The San Antonio Spurs are not contenders this year, but they may be soon by the looks of how the very young core played.