Sure, it’s too early to proclaim this team as the best Spurs team ever. It’s certainly sacrilegious. But this intensive one-game sample showed us that these young Spurs are spry, active, and fun to watch. Doc Brown said, “Where we’re going; we don’t need roads.” Spurs fans say, “Where Los Spurs are going, they don’t need a primary leading scorer.” Case in point, second-year man Devin Vassell came off the bench and led all players with 19 points on 8 for 12 shooting.
Seven Spurs scored in the double digits, including all five starters. Lonnie Walker IV also contributed 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 made threes. Jakob Poeltl flirted with a triple-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 boards for his first double-double of the season, while Dejounte Murray also neared a triple-double garnering 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Final stats— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 21, 2021
Devin: 19p | 5a | 2r | 2s
Lonnie: 17p | 6r | 3a
Derrick: 16p | 4a | 4r
Dejounte: 15p | 8a | 6r | 4s
Keldon: 15p | 4r
Jakob: 12p | 13r | 7a
Drew: 2p | 6r | 2a pic.twitter.com/pTwL1QJqMW
Devin Vassell was almost the forgotten rookie last season if only due to the pandemic and an atypical offseason. With the benefit of summer league and training camp, Vassell looks ready to take a leap this season. His three-point shooting and defense will be vital off the bench, and from the looks of game one, the three and D is already in peak form:
A team’s first bucket of the basketball season is symbolic like a team’s first pitch of their baseball season. It shows how the rest of the year will unfold. In this case, Dejounte Murray driving to the basket for an easy two hopefully means he leads these young Spurs to more easy wins:
The most important takeaway from the following play is that Drew Eubanks took over Patty Mills’ exuberant towel-waving duties. (We miss you Patty!) The second most important takeaway is that Vassell had two of these pick-6 style plays that led to a quick transition bucket. (A pick-2?)
Here, Keldon Johnson is dining out on Poeltl’s dime. You love to see the crisp ball movement and passing with determination. This game featured plenty of both as the good guys racked up 32 total assists on 49 made buckets.
This season, the Spurs will only go as far as Derrick White takes them — health permitting. Hopefully White’s steady defense and scoring will be a consistent presence for the team all year. He looked comfortable and active all game, and this strong take to the hoop is all the evidence the Spurs need:
Derrick getting us started off right pic.twitter.com/4B0ksLl55U— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 21, 2021
Doug McDermott’s debut for the Spurs went seamlessly. In the starting lineup, the former Indiana Pacer scored 12 points in 22 minutes with two made threes. I was only disappointed that he did not have any assists so I could drop a “Dougie Dimes” reference. I guess we can settle for a “Reverse Dougie” from Poeltl’s beautiful pass to McDermott:
I have nothing against Zach LaVine or Zion Williamson. But for the love of everything holy and uber caffeinated, why isn’t Mountain Drew Eubanks the spokesperson for Mountain Dew?
If one play could be the vibe of the game, this was it. Dejounte Murray with a steal, Derrick White with a beautiful no-look drop-off to a charging Keldon Johnson. They’re not quite to 2014 Spurs levels of the Beautiful Game yet, but they are getting there. Bellissima!
Of course, no opening night big win is complete without an unreasonable and excessive exuberance for an 18-year-old player’s professional debut:
I don’t mean to hype but Josh Primo is already shooting 100% from three for his career.— S.Q. Trinh (@sontrinh) October 21, 2021
And last but never least, the full game highlights:
But if you like your full game highlights heavily biased for the Spurs:
Next up, the Spurs immediately get on the road to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Nuggets on Friday, October 22, 2021.