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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Hornets

So this is what rebuilding looks like

Charlotte Hornets v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

It sure feels like the last couple seasons of Spurs basketball could be categorized as ‘the rebuilding years,’ but it’s always been a sort of hard to nail down exactly when it started. Maybe it was when Kawhi Leonard left. Maybe it was when they missed the playoffs. Maybe it was the DeMar DeRozan trade. Who can say? The Spurs have certainly fought the good fight, so to speak, as far as trying field a competitive team while developing young talent for a while, and that has led us on an interesting little walkabout. However, the time for messing around is clearly finished and the real, dirty business of starting over is finally here. Look upon our works, ye mighty, and despair.

It’s not going to be pretty. We know this. We’ve seen it on the horizon for a while and felt it in our bones, but being confronted with it is still jarring. The Spurs will likely be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year, and they will be doing it on purpose. That’s still a hard thing to wrap my brain around. I understand the reasons and I understand why it’s the route that needs to be taken. I just don’t think I have my attitude calibrated correctly yet.

I went into the first game of the season thinking that it would be fun. I was excited to see some of our returning guys come out of the off season with new skills and I was intrigued to watch our rookie with the cool hair get plugged into the starting lineup. I figured it would be a loss, sure, but in the process we would get to see a bit of unbridled youth out there just letting loose and playing pure basketball. This sounds great, in theory. A return to our roots! A reason to fall in love with the game all over again. Instead, the operation just felt...aimless.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m not smart enough to see the development going on here. I’m sure it’s happening. It’s not like I’ve lost faith that Gregg Popovich is a great coach or anything like that. I’m sure there is incredible work going on behind the scenes, and I’m sure that many a lesson was learned last night that will pay dividends in the future. Shoot, I saw that apparently he had the aux cord at practice the other day and was playing a bunch of James Taylor for the kids. That’s some next level, Mr. Miagi type training that has to be operating on a level I couldn’t even dream of. When everyone is rocking out to ‘Fire and Rain’ at the championship parade in 10 years, I want us all to remember this momement.

None of that really helps my Wednesday though, does it? It doesn’t take the sting out of watching all the build up for a new season happening around us and feeling like we’re over here sitting on the sidelines. It doesn’t sand the edges off realizing that our favorite team is just going to be off in the wilderness for a while, and we’re going to be powerless to help. It’s hard. We’ve been extraordinarily blessed as fans of the San Antonio Spurs for many years, and I never, ever want to seem like I’m taking that success for granted, but I’m also hoping this is a safe space where we’re allowed to be sad about it for a bit. The bill is finally coming due for all the greatness we got to witness for the last two decades. Maybe this is just the penance we have to pay.

I’m going to shake it off. I promise. We’re going to work together and find something in this season to hold on to. We’re going to find the light and head towards it. It’ll happen. It’s all part of the process. It just might take a minute. I think I got sucked into the “opening night” of it all. It’s supposed to be a night filled with optimism. Everyone is 0-0 and anything could happen. The world is at your fingertips right up until the ball is tossed in the air at center court. You can fool yourself into believing anything.

Right up until you can’t.


  • Woof, sorry, I didn’t mean to go dark there from the jump. Rebuilding! Not for the faint of heart!
  • The basketball was bad though. You was bad. I’m wanted to come in here and do some real hardcore film analysis of what went wrong against the Hornets but, I don’t know, I don’t think I’m ready to think critically about anything we’re doing out there yet. It’s....well, let’s just say the team is pretty raw. If we’re building a statue then I think you could safely say we’re still in the lump of clay phase of things.
  • Keldon Johnson looked...good. No, he did. He had a nice little double-double and showed flashes of being the really good player we know he can be. It’s hard not to worry about him a little bit this year. So much of the burden of, well, everything, is going to fall on those big shoulders of his. I’m not even talking about the basketball part. Sure, we’re asking him to lead the way in scoring and defending and rebounding and all that, but he also is basically the veteran leader on the team now? Like, what? That seems so unfair to him. KJ is designed to be the fun, young, energy guy who comes in and lights it up with cool dunks. Is he ready to be the like...face of the franchise? I don’t know. I hope so. I’m rooting for him.
  • The jerseys are very cool. We’ve wanted them for years and now that they are here...yes. They are very cool. They have a very distinct aftertaste of “hey, the team is going to be bad so here’s some fun stuff to distract you” but, well, what’re you gonna do? This whole season is going to be an exercise in playing the hand that you’re dealt.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- We lost you there for a while at the end of last season. Where did you go?

- Well, I had a baby.

- What? Get out, I didn’t know that. Congrats! So, you had a baby and things got a little crazy so you decided to wait until things calmed down before getting back into the swing of writing again?

- Absolutely, it seemed like the right thing to do.

- So everything is calm on the homefront now?

- Oh, definitely not. My life is at the mercy of an unrelenting chaos machine that happens to be wearing footy pajamas with dinosaurs on them. It’s full bananas all the time. The idea that I could string together five coherent sentences for this website every couple of games is pretty laughable tbh.

- Wait, so why did you come back?

- I think it’s pretty clear that this kind of chaos is exactly what the team needs.

- Is the baby pretty cute though?

- The cutest.