RELATIVE TO EXPECTIONS. That is what Bleacher Report wants you to know about their NBA Midseason Grades. Basically, a C means a team has “met exceptions,” and anything above or below means expectations were either met or not met, respectively. In other words, these are not power rankings.
With that out of the way, the Spurs are actually receiving some love from a site that doesn’t always give it with a B+ grade:
Losing three of four has knocked the Spurs back down to solid ground. It has not killed their midseason turnaround.
Since Dec. 3, after they fell to 11-14, the Spurs are fourth in offensive efficiency, eighth in points allowed per 100 possessions and fourth in net rating. LaMarcus Aldridge has recaptured his All-Star form, and DeMar DeRozan is rolling along, tallying career-best assist totals as the de facto point guard.
San Antonio’s bench is booming. Only Indiana’s reserves have a better point differential per 100 possessions.
Davis Bertans and Jakob Poeltl were born to play under head coach Gregg Popovich. Patty Mills is slippery three-point shooting in perpetuity. Marco Belinelli is more tolerable now that his treys are finding nylon.
The Spurs’ starting-lineup newbies are holding their own. Bryn Forbes has an off-the-dribble flair to his game, and he’s not the defensive detriment his wingspan intimates he should be. Derrick White is demanding more attention.
Over his last 10 outings, White is averaging 18.5 points, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes while shooting 63.2 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the rainbow. He is an active defender and attacks both on and off the ball at the offensive end. He could be one of those swing prospects who unexpectedly, and drastically, shifts the Spurs’ trajectory.
FiveThirtyEight gives San Antonio a 52 percent chance of making the playoffs. That would’ve felt high a few weeks ago. It doesn’t anymore—though, to be fair, something needs to give for the Spurs on the road, where they’re 7-14.
This sounds about right. The Spurs have arguably been better than expected thanks to their turnaround, but a few factors like a poor road record and cough* three home losses to sub-.500 East teams (BR didn’t mention that, but I felt compelled to) keeps them from breaking the A barrier.
What do you think, Pounders? Is this a fair grade, and if not what would grade would you give the Spurs for their performance so far? (Again: RELATIVE TO EXCEPTIONS)