We are now only about one month away from the start of the 2021-2022 regular season, and it's now time to begin taking a deeper dive into the San Antonio Spurs' schedule. This past season, the Spurs ended the regular season with a record of 33 wins and 39 losses, missing the playoffs for the second season in a row.
This coming season, the Spurs could be in just as difficult of a situation. The team saw the departure of DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, and Rudy Gay during the offseason and will be coming into the season looking younger than they have in years.
Furthermore, the NBA doesn't appear to be taking it easy on the young team. According to several sources, the Spurs will be among the teams with the toughest regular-season schedules in 2021-2022. While there's always the off chance that one (or several) of the Spurs' young players takes a big leap forward in their development this season, finding ways to secure enough wins for a trip to the postseason will be a challenge nonetheless.
Recently, I broke down the Spurs' toughest 10-game stretch of the season that will start in November. While this may lead many to believe that November will be the most difficult month on the Spurs' schedule, I urge fans to take another look. Here's why.
December will present the biggest challenge for the San Antonio Spurs
While it certainly remains true that the Spurs will have a tough stretch of games in November in terms of pure matchup difficulty, thankfully, those games will be spread out relatively well. In fact, the Spurs won't have a single back-to-back during that 10-game stretch.
This is where December will pose a problem. The Spurs will have a whopping four back-to-back matchups that month and will be playing against debatably just as difficult teams compared to those that they'll play in November. When looking at those back-to-back matchups, though, it's key to look at who the team will be playing on the second night of each occasion. From a conditioning perspective, those games are by far the easiest to lose.
Unfortunately for the Spurs, on the second night of their four back-to-backs in December, they will be facing the New York Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers, and Utah Jazz. While the Spurs more than likely won't have to face off against Kawhi Leonard on that occasion due to his injury, it would be foolish to immediately count out any team led by Paul George.
Other than those matchups, though, the Spurs will have to face the Portland Trailblazers, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets (twice in a row), Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Memphis Grizzlies in December. Generally speaking, many of the teams that the Spurs will play that month are difficult teams to beat even with rest, let alone off of a back-to-back.
Ultimately, Spurs fans will want to mark December on their calendars, as (to me) it will very clearly be the most challenging month of the season for the team. Until then, we can only hope that the young Spurs will get off to a great start next month and will come into December with a sense of grit and urgency.