In what was probably an incredibly uneventful game for people outside of their fanbases, the Detroit Pistons bested the San Antonio Spurs 105-115 in Detroit Wednesday night. While the game itself was forgettable and downright uninspiring, there are two good takeaways and two bad ones that might remain true during the entire NBA season.
1. The San Antonio Spurs Need a Point Guard
Lonnie Walker and Derrick White both played over 25 minutes last night and combined for 21 points, four assists, and lousy defense. They also shot a combined 9-for-30. Clearly, both of them would be better when they aren’t in charge of running the offense. Tre Jones and Dejounte Murray both sat out, and after Murray’s successful night against Utah on Monday, it would appear that he’s the best player on the roster by a fair margin.
San Antonio needs consistent skill at the point guard position. Walker and White both have many strengths, but as of now, running the offense by themselves is not one of them. Keldon Johnson scored 18 points but he is not a traditional point guard and making him move to that spot would be absolutely insane.
2. Shooting Will Not Be an Issue
The San Antonio Spurs were one of the worst shooting teams last season, but that’s all in the past. Dougie McBuckets and Bryn Forbes combined for 29 points and shot 7-of-11 from deep, which is a strong leap from last season.
Devin Vassell also looked comfortable from behind the line, which means he might be ready to receive significant minutes and maybe even start this season, which means the Spurs might have found one of the best young players in last year’s draft.
If White and Walker weren’t ice cold, the Spurs may have had one of the best shooting nights in recent memory. By shooting a little better than 1-of-8 (Walker) and 0-for-5 (White) from the outside, the Spurs as a unit would have shot around 50%, which is quite the turnaround from last year.
3. Bryn Forbes Might be the Best Shooter in the League
I know, it’s a bit of a stretch. But Bryn Forbes is shooting 8-for-12 in his first two games and he scored 20 points last night, almost all from deep. His career shooting percentage from three is well over 40%, placing him 21st all-time, and his shooting has only gone up in recent years as his role gets more defined.
San Antonio Spurs fans have complained that Spurs have not been invited to All-Star weekend festivities. With numbers like these, Forbes could be a lock for the 3-point shootout. It’s not as glamorous as the dunk contest or All-Star game, but it’s definitely better than nothing and he could join elite company like Marco Belinelli.
4. The Spurs Need to Try on Defense
Yes I know, this is a preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. No one is super excited about it, but that doesn’t mean negligent defense is tolerated. Without Murray, the Spurs only racked up three steals. Jakob Poeltl looked good down low swatting shots and could be in the running for block champ this year, but the perimeter defense needs help.
A combination of bad shooting and poor perimeter defense allowed one of the worst teams in the league to rip apart San Antonio’s defense.
Dejounte Murray is the best defender on this team and the Spurs were without him, so I can cut a little slack. Except the Pistons were without Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham, so this should have been an easy win.
If the Spurs slip up on one end of the ball, they can still manage a win if they come to play on the other end. After the Utah Jazz game, Spurs fans were overjoyed that the team appeared to exceed expectations. With the low-energy game on Wednesday, it reminds us why the Silver and Black are expected to be near cellar-dwellers in the league.
They'll need to improve to prove them wrong as the season tips off.