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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Kings

Another competitive effort comes up short

San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Spurs continue to lose ball games with fashion and aplomb. What more can you say? What more can you ask for? From a certain perspective, this is the dream. The Competitive Tank. People said it couldn’t be done and yet, here we are, riding shotgun on the most ruthless, well coached, feel good losing machine that anyone could ever dream of! Take that haters!

This is the attitude I aspire to, but I’ll be the first to admit that it’s bit of of an act. I’m working on it, ok? The losses still burn a little. I’m still getting used to the relentless nature of it all. One after another after another. It feels alien. Like we’re doing something wrong. I don’t know, I’m just talking out loud. When you’re watching a competitive game all of a sudden spin out into an 18 point loss deep into the wee hours of your Friday night, it gives you a lot of time to ponder the nature of the universe and all that.

After every game, Gregg Popovich comes out to the press and says some version of, “I thought we were great, I was really proud of them.” I think he means that and I think I agree with him. You watch these guys go out there every night, get handed a test, and then set to it. They never complain and they never hang their heads. They just try to solve the problem in front of them with the tools they have available. They compete. They come up short. They get a little better. That’s the order of things right now and that’s probably for the best. It’s what we’re supposed to be doing and it’s probably the best version of the thing we’re supposed to be doing. Right?

I get jealous though. My eyes wander around the league a little bit and I see the stories. I see everyone fawning over the Utah Jazz’s miraculous run here to start the season and I think, well, why them? Why is their Competitive Tank turning in to wins and podcasts with people saying “I think the Jazz are for real.” I see the Thunder, only a game better than the Spurs in the standings by the way, getting a ton of love for how they’re playing. I see Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sneaking his way into early MVP conversations. Why them? Why must we nobly sit in the corner and eat our vegetables while seemingly everyone else is off having fun?

I want the Spurs to win. I want the attention. I want the national media to be talking about the Spurs because for some reason that gives me an endorphin rush. I don’t want to be good in five years, I want to be good now. I’m spoiled like that. There is a hole in my heart where Big Three Spurs used to live and it never feels emptier than when I’m watching the Spurs lose by 18 to Sacramento and I have to just smile and say, “I love how hard we played.”

I know, I know. I’ll shake it off. It’s just one of those days, I guess. I really do like this team and I really do think we’re lucky to have them. They’re building something in San Antonio that has the potential to be really great. They’re building something that we just might grow to love in the same way we’ve loved the teams in the past. There’s embers in the fire and we’re blowing on them as hard as we can right now. I know It’s never going to go as fast as I want it to, but we have to believe it’ll be worth it when it does.

The kids played hard. I’m really proud of them. That has to be good enough for now.


  • I don’t mind that Pop is deciding to do some strategic game management with guys right now. I really don’t. It’s smart and it’s sly and it’s so subtle that you barely even notice he’s doing it. That being said, one of the very few things about the Spurs that really brings me unbridled joy at the moment is watching Keldon Johnson play basketball. So when I sit down in front of my TV on a Friday night for another episode of We’re Not Tanking I Promise Wink Wink, you can imagine how annoyed I was that my favorite character was getting the night off. It was a real slap in the face. Maybe that’s why I’m in such a mood this morning?
  • Devin Vassell had himself a night though. He’s not a force of nature the way Keldon is, but his game is definitely fascinating in it’s own right. He’s all legs and limbs and he sort of wriggles his way into space and gets a shot off before you even know he’s done it. I watch him twist his body around on the court and constantly think to myself, “wait, where is he going with this?” That would maybe be annoying if the answer wasn’t usually “To get a bucket, dummy.” I really think he’s a perfect compliment to Keldon’s Wild Horse Battering Ram and I really would’ve liked to watch them play together last night.
  • Jeremy Sochan is going to be really good. I’m not an NBA scout and I don’t know what I’m talking about on any real level but, man, it sure seems like he has that it factor about him. Even though he often shows how green ( or pink. or silver.) he is, it never seems like he doesn’t belong on the court. He goes out there and just owns it. What a fun pick by the Spurs. We got a guy who does cool dunks! That is neat!
  • These West Coast starting times are killing me. I live on the west coast and it still feels like they’re starting way too late. A 7:15 tip off? In this economy? I mean, how is anyone supposed to stay up for that? What kind of degenerate living in the Central Time Zone could even make it past the second quarter of this one? If that person is you, please don’t talk to me, we have nothing in common.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Wow, pretty bold stance there at the end arguing for earlier bed times.

- Well, look, sleep is super important and not enough people are talking about it.

- I think plenty of people know that sleep is important. I don’t think that’s a thing we need to bring awareness too.

- You say that but, like, I’m out here at the end of the game last night and it’s 10:30 and people are still awake! They’re all online sharing memes and buying crypto and quitting their jobs at Twitter. It’s lawless after 10:00 P.M. People lose all sense of self and then they wake up grumpy.

- Is that what happened to you today? Stayed up a little too late and woke up sad about the Spurs losing a game?

- Yea, that sounds about right. Sorry.

- Well, I thought you were great and I’m really proud of you.

- Thanks. Needed that,