This one had preseason written all over it, and why not? In the best of circumstances, you’re hoping for a couple of encouraging signs from the first effort out of training camp. And without Kawhi Leonard or Rudy Gay, this was far from the best of circumstances.
But we got to see some run from the young Spurs against the Sacramento Kings, and although the fourth quarter was as forgettable a 12 minutes of basketball as I can remember, there were a few take-aways that are important enough to share.
Dejounte Murray showed some flashes of brilliance, but for the majority of his playing time, he was schooled on both ends of the court. He was victimized for easy buckets in his own end and had the ball stolen on drives and working around picks. The young man has a lot to learn, but it’s just the first preseason game -- he has time. Still, it’d be nice to see him successfully work over at least one screen before the regular season begins.
On the good side, Manu Ginobili’s legs are fresh, which means he filled the arena with beautiful basketball genius. LaMarcus Aldridge hit 7 of 10 for 17 points, hit a three and grabbed a couple rebounds. Kyle Anderson was in the right place at the right time over and over.
Murray to Costello to Anderson. Tic-tac-toe. So pretty. pic.twitter.com/xmOJf2f1Au— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) October 3, 2017
Patty Mills had 11 points on 50% shooting from the field. Joffrey Lauvergne continued to show signs of competence, going for 10 points on five shots by hitting 4-5 free throws, and Brandon Paul made a nice play or two in garbage time. Amida Brimah has this play.
Sweet full speed feed to Amida Brimah for the throw down. pic.twitter.com/WVURu43dm1— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) October 3, 2017
Pop started the same five that began the Silver and Black scrimmage for the Black team: Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray and Danny Green. So anyone who, like me, was looking for the Spurs to give some early clues as to how ready they are to play significant stretches of small-ball ... Well, we can keep on waiting.
San Antonio’s poor three point shooting killed them, and their often shoddy defense certainly didn’t help. Skal Labissiere had his way with anyone trying to guard him, hitting from inside and out while showing off all kinds of post moves and overall grace. Man, I like that kid. De’Aaron Fox had a terrific game and put the Spurs point guards into the spin cycle a couple of times. Vince Carter didn’t play, but he did get to laugh with Pop.
Players from opposing teams love to yuk it up with Pop after the game. Seriously, the guy is hilarious. pic.twitter.com/7t30t5VJ7C— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) October 3, 2017
Bruno Passos and I will be at the next preseason game on Friday at the AT&T Center against the same Kings. Hit me up on Twitter if you’re going too.