Surprise #4: Derrick White is less impactful than expected
Following Derrick White’s breakout performance in the NBA bubble, Spurs fans have been itching to see White take on a bigger role. Now 10 games into the season, it appears that the nearly 19 points he averaged were more of a flash in the pan than a sign of things to come.
White is still averaging a respectable 12.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1 block. Still, he’s just fourth on the team in scoring, which feels like something of a letdown considering expectations entering the season. White has the green light to shoot but is only taking 11.3 shots per game, including just five 3-point attempts, down from 6.8 last season.
Simply put, he needs to be more aggressive in looking for his own shot. While his scoring has been a disappointment, White is averaging a career-high in assists and has been fantastic on defense. Overall, White has definitely been a mixed bag this season, which is certainly a surprise.
Surprise #5: Keldon Johnson's shooting
After a strong preseason, Keldon Johnson appeared like a potential breakout candidate, but he's struggled shooting the ball this season. in fact, his 3-point shot is the main reason he’s shooting just 45.5% from the field.
After all, Johnson has connected on just 3 of his 22 attempts, making just 13.6% of his threes. Not only that, but he’s shooting just 69.2% from the free-throw line. There’s still plenty of time for both to improve, though it's definitely a concern considering his past struggles with his shot.
Johnson started off shooting the ball well last season only to see his percentages and attempts steadily decline as the season went on. Hopefully, the reverse happens and Johnson will shoot more threes and increase his percentage. Though with his poor start, it could begin to affect his confidence, ensuring that he continues to struggle.
Despite that, Johnson is still averaging a perfectly solid 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals. However, even a moderate increase in his free throw and 3-point shooting could result in a boost in his scoring and an increase in his minutes. While it's still a bit too early to tell whether this could be a thing that continues to plague him, it's definitely something to keep an eye on.
Ultimately, 10 games is still a small sample size and a lot could change going forward. Were these trends to continue, however, Murray and Poeltl could be in for big seasons. White and Johnson, on the other hand, could struggle with a lack of aggressiveness on offense or a lack of confidence in their shot.
Additionally, each could have a significant effect on the team’s success over the remainder of the season. We’ll have to see how these takeaways will unfold over the rest of the season.