San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns
The Suns were the unlucky runners-up in this summer's wooing of LaMarcus Aldridge. For the franchise, it was another in an ignominious line of disappointments at the hands of the Spurs, one which included the questionable signing of Tyson Chandler to a long-term deal as part of their attempt to sign LMA. Chandler brings experience and leadership to the Suns, but it's not exactly a cheap deal for a guy who one expects to be backing up Alex Len sooner rather than later.
Now with another young roster - albeit one that doesn't appear quite strong enough to make a playoff run in the West - Phoenix enters the season down one Morris twin, two Dragic brothers, and with hopes of surprising doubters like they did a few years back.
The Spurs picked up their first win of the preseason on Sunday, giving home fans their first look at Aldridge and David West in the silver and black. It wasn't a perfect game, but Kawhi Leonard's aggressiveness and Manu Ginobili's super-sub efficiency were enough to help beat the Pistons.
Speaking of Manu:
NBA Preseason PER: 1. Ginobili: 49.8 2. Lowry: 47.9 3. Blair: 37.9 4. Len: 36.5 5. Westbrook: 36.4 http://t.co/nlf0FlDCRE— RealGM (@RealGM) October 19, 2015
It's a ridiculous, unsustainable number, but Manu does look primed to contribute in limited minutes this year. Kawhi, meanwhile, is taking advantage of a full preseason after an eye infection claimed last year's. Eyes will be on his opportunistic play, as well as Aldridge's integration into the system as he and Tim Duncan continue to develop their chemistry.
While the Suns may have finalized their regular season roster already, the Spurs might still be giving minutes to players vying for their last spot on the squad. If tonight involves more testing and tinkering, it could result in a final score that's closer than what we might expect in the regular season. I'm not a superstitious person, but I'm also not not a superstitious person, and there's no way I'm picking a Spurs L in my first preview this year.
Matchup to watch: Tony Parker returns to the lineup after sitting out the game versus Detroit. Whether he sees more of Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight, it'll be worth seeing if he's able to get to his spots (and occasionally to the line) against a younger, longer defender.
|October 20, 2015|
|AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX|
|7:30 pm CST|
|TV: League Pass|
|Tony Parker||PG||Brandon Knight|
|Danny Green||SG||Eric Bledsoe|
|Kawhi Leonard||SF||P.J. Tucker|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||PF||Markieff Morris|
|Tim Duncan||C||Tyson Chandler|
Rasual Butler hasn't looked particularly in sync with the Spurs through the preseason, and is most likely hoping to prove himself a little bit against the Suns. He notched just two points and two rebounds in 10 minutes in the win over Detroit. Jimmer Fredette didn't play on Sunday, and it seems like his chances of making the roster are slowly fading away.
The Suns are coming off of a 25 point loss against the Denver Nuggets, in which Chandler was ejected for receiving two technicals for arguing with the officials. Phoenix shot an abysmal 27-for-81 in that loss, but Len looked good and is preparing himself to have a great regular season. Point guard Eric Bledsoe sat out with a stomach bug, but will likely suit up on Tuesday against the Spurs.
Expect another strong performance from Kawhi and Manu, and hope to see Aldridge connect on some gimmies around the rim that he missed against Detroit.
The Suns' fans perspective can be found at Bright Side of the Sun.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 3.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.