The new season is just around the corner for the new look San Antonio Spurs.
8 new faces and an abundance of youth headline this years team. But before we get to the much anticipated 2021/2022 season, the Spurs must get through preseason. For San Antonio, that starts Monday, when they come up against the Utah Jazz who will bring Rudy Gay back to town. The Spurs will then play 3 more games every 2 days before getting a bit of a breather ahead of facing the Houston Rockets in the final preseason matchup.
So here is a few things to watch for over the next 2 weeks.
Minutes for All
With so many news faces and young players, Coach Pop will surely want to give them all enough minutes throughout preseason to showcase their skills, and prove to the coaching staff why they deserve regular season minutes. With very few veterans on the roster don’t expect the Spurs to rest guys this preseason, as Pop tries to figure out rotations and the front office tries to decide who to keep in the final 15.
The Spurs lost 3 players in free agency that were part of their regular rotation; DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay & Patty Mills. So expect to see Pop play around with his starting unit and bench rotations to find out who will be the guys to replace those 3 in this years rotation. Preseason is the perfect time to experiment with different lineups, and see who can play with who, as preseason games don’t matter if you win or lose.
High Energy Play
If you listened to media day, then this should be no surprise. These guys seems like they are chomping at the bit to get to playing with each other, and preseason will be the first time these guys will get to play against other teams and not just between themselves like in training camp. Watch for the Spurs to be flying around on defense, swarming shooters and contesting every thing at the rim, as the young guns try to make their intentions known. With roster spots, starting 5 places, and rotation minutes up for grabs in these next 5 games, expect every member on the roster who plays to be going all out in order to impress coach Pop.
For the first time these players will be not be playing with a quote on quote ‘#1 option’. This may lead to sloppy play and turnover prone offense. While they figure out who should have the ball in which situations and work out the kinks to new offensive roles, you shouldn’t expect too much from the Spurs offense this preseason. The Spurs should be able to get out in transition and score points that way, but when they are caught in half court offensive sets they may find it tough to create open looks. Hopefully they can get a lot of the sloppiness out of the way in preseason and they can start the season strong on that end of the floor, but by all accounts offense is going to be hard to come by for San Antonio this year round.
Injury & Roster News
The Spurs enter preseason relatively healthy, as it seems like new addition Zach Collins is the only Spurs player sitting out, as he is still recovering from foot surgery that he had in the summer. Coach Pop said Saturday that he was told, Collins would be available after Christmas. So we’ll have to wait a little while longer for a Zach Collins debut, but with so many new faces this year, Spurs fans still have so many players to look forward to watching this preseason. Also, San Antonio still have to cut 2 players from their roster before the start of the regular season, so watch out in preseason for players not getting as many minutes as others, as that may give an indication of who Pop and the front office is looking at not being on the roster when the real season kicks off.