Spurs' first week of the season could be a loud wake-up call
By Josh Paredes
The San Antonio Spurs wrapped up their preseason with a record of 3-2. Beyond winning more than in many preseason pasts, they also learned some important things about their roster that will help in the regular season. Unfortunately, they won't have much time to gel before they start facing powerhouses.
After tipping off their season at home against the Orlando Magic on October 20th, a game that should be a win on paper, San Antonio will face three straight teams that should be in serious contention for the NBA championship.
San Antonio's premiere week continues with the following schedule:
Fri, Oct. 22 at 9 pm ET: @ Denver Nuggets
Sat, Oct. 23 at 8:30 pm ET: vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Tue, Oct. 26 at 8:30 pm ET: vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Nuggets have made it to the second round of the playoffs or better in each of the last three seasons while the Bucks and Lakers are the NBA's last two champions.
Denver boasts the league's 2020-21 NBA MVP, Nikola Jokic, who was one rebound short of having two straight triple-doubles against the Spurs in the last two meetings. The last time San Antonio was able to hold him to fewer than 19 points? December 2018. Should he still be around for the meeting, look for Thaddeus Young to try his hand at defending Nikola for stretches since, well, nothing else has worked.
Last season, the Spurs had one of their best games in franchise history to help secure a play-in spot against the Milwaukee Bucks. In the contest, they shot a staggering 59.6% percent from the field and 58.6% from three (17-for-29). It's safe to say they probably aren't going to do that again.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will most assuredly get his against the Spurs, but the deciding factor will likely be how well the Spurs can shoot the ball from the outside. The two teams will already wrap up their season series a week later in Milwaukee. Maybe it's a positive thing San Antonio will get them out of the way before they can find a rhythm? But probably not.
The Lakers re-tooled dramatically over the summer, adding Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook while bringing back Dwight Howard. of course, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are still one of the most formidable duos in the league. Their size and versatility will be a true test for the Spurs early in their season.
Given the roster makeup, going 2-2 in the first week of the season should be considered a huge win for these Spurs, who will encounter only two teams in their first eight games that were sub .500 last season.