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Preseason Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz

The San Antonio Spurs begin their 2021 preseason campaign at home against the Utah Jazz.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

With an average age of 25-years-old, the new-look San Antonio Spurs will make their 2021-22 preseason debut when they take on the Utah Jazz. While the teams are in different places in terms of goals for the upcoming year, both Spurs and Jazz fans alike are surely looking forward to seeing their teams back in action after suffering disappointing endings last spring.

In a rare occurrence for the San Antonio franchise in the preseason, the game will in fact be televised on Bally Sports SW, and tickets are also available on the Spurs’ website if you’re looking to catch the preseason action in person. With just hours until preseason tips off, let’s take a deeper dive into what to watch for.

San Antonio Spurs (0-0) vs. Utah Jazz (0-0)

October 4, 2020 | 7:30 PM CT

Watch: Bally Sports SW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Josh Primo (Groin - Probable), Luka Samanic (Hand - Probable), Zach Collins (Ankle - Out)

Jazz Injuries: Bojan Bogdanovic (Shoulder - Day-to-Day), Rudy Gay (Foot - Out)

How does the starting lineup look with Doug McDermott instead of DeMar DeRozan?

The DeMar DeRozan era in San Antonio is over. And though his tenure was a point of contention among the Silver and Black faithful, there’s no doubt his departure leaves a significant hole in the starting lineup.

Thankfully, the Spurs acquired some forwards in the offseason to take his minutes in Al-Farouq Aminu, Thaddeus Young and Doug McDermott, the latter of whom they have announced will start in DeRozan’s place to open the preseason.

McDermott offers a vastly different skillset than DeRozan. As a low usage sharpshooter specializing in the art of off-ball movement, McDermott is a virtual polar opposite of the ball-dominant DeRozan in almost every way. Expect the Spurs to play with more pace and motion this season rather than force-feed any individual player for points. Whether that will make up for the lack of a go-to scorer remains to be seen, but they should at least gain superior spacing with the addition of the 29-year-old sniper.

Who will take over primary scoring duties?

The Spurs have a wide range of options to choose from, but none of them have any experience operating as a primary scoring option up to this point.

On paper, you can point to many potential candidates, but there’s no concrete evidence anyone in this group is ready to take over that kind of responsibility. While this game doesn’t officially count, it’s worth tracking who Gregg Popovich funnels the offense through and whose role looks to have changed the most from last season.

Will Josh Primo play?

As the 12th overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, the highly-discussed rookie Josh Primo has a good chance of playing some minutes Monday night. In previous preseason openers, Coach Pop has trotted out rookies, including Derrick White, Luka Samanic, and Keldon Johnson, for an average of 14 minutes per game.

Though Primo is listed as having a minor groin injury, as long as health is on his side, the 18-year-old should get a little run. He’s already skilled enough as a catch-and-shoot threat from beyond the arc to stretch the floor, if nothing else. It’s too soon to spend much time on what Primo could become once his skills have developed, but for now it’s fun to hope we get to watch his first time playing against NBA talent.

Even if it is just the preseason.

For the Jazz fans’ perspective, please visit SLC Dunk.

PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat throughout the game. You can also follow along with the action over at PtR’s Twitter Feed.