The San Antonio Spurs are continuing to establish themselves as a top 4 team in the West, and that’s without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, so what can this team actually be with those guys back? Hopefully we are getting much closer to learning the answer to that question, but in the meantime, Spurs fans have plenty to be thankful for.
Be thankful that LaMarcus Aldridge worked things out with Gregg Popovich this summer, because without him and his newfound confidence, the Spurs would be in a much more dire strait right now. (Not to be too repetitive, but remember the 2014-15 Thunder.) Be thankful that Pau Gasol is still performing at a high level despite his advanced age.
Be thankful that Danny Green and Kyle Anderson are holding down the fort on defense and finding new ways to contribute on offense. Be thankful that Rudy Gay fell into our laps at an affordable price and has made a miraculous comeback from a devastating injury. Be thankful that Dejounte Murray is a willing learner and ready to contribute regardless of whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. Finally, be thankful that no matter how sporadic their minutes are, young guns like Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans and Brandon Paul have been ready when called upon.
Without all these quality, unselfish players, the Spurs would be facing a much stiffer uphill battle for home-court advantage despite only being 16 games into the season. Friday’s huge comeback against OKC should serve as yet another huge confidence boost for the Spurs as they head into another week where 2-1 is all but guaranteed, and 3-0 is more than possible.
Week 5: Spurs improving one game at a time - The Spurs finish a long home stand on a high note.
Last week: 2-1 (10-6 overall): 97-91 @ Mavericks, 86-98 @ Timberwolves, 104-101 vs. Thunder
This week: Mon. vs. Hawks (3-13), Wed. @ Pelicans (8-8), Sat. @ Hornets (7-9)
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 7 (last week: 6)
The Spurs' bench has an aggregate NetRtg (per-possession plus-minus, weighted by minutes played) of just plus-1.3. That ranks 12th in the league, is down from a league-best plus-8.9 last season, and is the worst mark for a San Antonio bench since Tim Duncan's rookie year. Manu Ginobili's effective field goal percentage is a career-low 44 percent and he has the first negative plus-minus of his career. But the Spurs' starting lineup has been strong and LaMarcus Aldridge has continued to carry the load offensively. His effective field goal percentage (57.2 percent) is a career high, with the percentage of his shots coming from the restricted area or 3-point range also a career-high 41 percent. The Spurs are 6-1 when he's scored 25 points or more and Friday's comeback win over the Thunder began a stretch of eight straight games against teams currently .500 or worse.
Pace: 97.3 (30) OffRtg: 104.7 (15) DefRtg: 101.6 (6) NetRtg:+3.1 (9)
David Aldridge, NBA.com - 4 (last week: 4)
LaMarcus Aldridge trying to do his part with Kawhi Leonard still out: 24.3 points, 8 rebounds average last week.
ESPN Staff - 4 (last week: 4)
The Spurs overcame a 23-point deficit to beat the Thunder on Friday. It's the franchise's fourth-largest comeback win under Gregg Popovich, including the playoffs.
Kenny Ducey, Sports Illustrated - 5 (last week: 5)
Just as I was starting to think the Spurs were as boring as ever, they cranked up the pace against the Thunder and pulled off a 23-point comeback. Danny Green is in the midst of a career year and Pau Gasol has, statistically speaking, been the most important player on the floor. There are reasons to make San Antonio your League Pass team, even without Kawhi.
Chris Barnwell, CBS Sports - 6 (last week: 7)
That early-season losing streak feels so long ago doesn't it? When in doubt, count on the Spurs to figure something out. While Rudy Gay's 3-point percentage has dipped to 35 percent he's still leading all bench players in net rating.
AJ Neuharth-Leusch, USA Today - 6 (last week: 5)
With Tuesday's victory over Dallas, Gregg Popovich reached 500 road wins faster than any coach in NBA history, needing just 835 games to do so.
You may now commence with your weekly discussions of how pointless power rankings are.