It may be preseason and the Utah Jazz may have been severely short-handed, but that doesn't change one fact: the San Antonio Spurs will be very fun to watch this season. On a night when their stifling defense held Utah to just 31.7% shooting, it was their up-tempo pace that was the story of the game.
From the outset, the Spurs were frequently off to the races off of defensive rebounds or forced turnovers, with Derrick White and Dejounte Murray usually being the ones pushing the action. As expected with their first game back in several months, the results were mixed. Despite finding several open guys from three early, the Spurs missed their first eight shots from deep before Drew Eubanks (yeah, you read that right) nailed the first one.
The unpredictability of something like Eubanks knocking down the Spurs' first three of the preseason says it all: anything can happen with this team. Who would've expected 18-year-old Joshua Primo to tie a team-high in scoring with 17 points in 18 minutes? Or Keldon Johnson to bust out a Kobe-like post-up fadeaway from the baseline? Which leads me to my main point.
The NBA made a mistake by not giving the San Antonio Spurs more coverage
Trust me, I get it. I've been around long enough to know the NBA greatly prioritizes big-market ratings over entertainment value if given the choice. But all bias aside, preseason game number one was just a taste of how fun this team can be to watch this season.
You never know who might step up with this young group, and I suspect there will be about 10 different leading scorers within the first couple of months of the regular season. While the lack of a go-to finisher will undoubtedly bite them in close games, the ever-present unknown nature of what will happen in any given game is intriguing.
Gone are the days of a LaMarcus Aldridge backdown post-up to slow the pace down. Absent is the frequent dump down to shot-creator extraordinaire DeMar DeRozan to go one-on-one. Right now, it's a free for all.
While a scrimmage against the Jazz' B Team isn't an indicator of how the season will play out, just the nature of how the Spurs were able to work together was an encouraging sign. Not only do they have the potential to surprise some people, but they'll be entertaining while doing so.
When the NBA released the official schedule for the Spurs in August, they only had one non-NBATV national game on the docket -- a January showdown with Memphis. While their recent results haven't warranted much coverage, something about the uncertainty just seems different. It's must-see viewing, even if what you see might be bad on some nights.
Time will tell if the NBA ends up regretting their almost complete disregard of the Spurs this season. One thing seems clear so far though -- they're unlike any version of the team we've seen.