I am confused. I am baffled. This isn’t the way it was supposed to go.
Seven games into the season, the San Antonio Spurs are FAR from tanking with a 5-2 record. San Antonio leads the Southwest Division and is currently 3rd in the Western Conference.
There’s no rhyme or reason as to how this is happening. Head Coach Gregg Popovich warned Spurs fans this was going to be a long, rebuilding year.
When the Spurs traded all-star Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks, it signaled the beginning of a deep rebuild. The Spurs roster featured three rookies and *five 19-year-old players. They got blown out in the season opener to Charlotte.
Devin Vassell suffered an injury… and then the shocking news: the Spurs waived 2021 lottery pick, Joshua Primo, after allegations surfaced accusing Primo of exposing himself to multiple women – at least one of them a Spurs employee.
For sure, this would have derailed the Spurs start. Nope! The Spurs beat DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls 129-124, then followed that up with a victory over Minnesota 107-98. Keldon Johnson is playing like an all-star, averaging 29 points in those two games. KJ’s three-point shooting has also improved to impressive level, at 43.5% for the season.
It’s beyond Keldon, Spurs fans have been treated to “leaps” in performance from both Jakob Poeltl and Devin Vassell. Tre Jones looks like a legitimate starter at point guard. Doug McDermott is playing extremely efficient ball, saying this is the most fun he’s ever had in his playing career.
The Spurs are moving the ball around – leading the NBA in assists per game. They are making the extra pass; and shooting high percentage shots. Defensively, the Spurs are swarming the ball – rookie Jeremy Sochan finds himself at home with this style of play.
Team tank is starting to CRACK. I’m still not 100% sold yet. We will have a much better assessment of this team by the end of November.
But here’s what I know for sure: the Spurs are playing an enjoyable style of basketball that attacks on both ends of the court. Keldon Johnson is blossoming into an all-star. The Spurs might become “buyers” instead of “sellers” at the trade deadline.
And, I really mean this: If Pop leads this team to a winning record – this would be Pop’s greatest job ever as head coach… and I’d owe several people in that organization an apology.
What do you think of the Spurs hot start to the season? Let Michael know on Twitter @MikeESPNSA. You can listen to him on “Halftime,” weekdays from Noon to 2 p.m.