In a wave of hype, the San Antonio Spurs took the floor for the first time in the 2023-24 season. All eyes were on first-overall pick, Victor Wembanyama, who made his NBA debut in front of the home crowd. His premier was spoiled by foul trouble in a 126-119 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Wembanyama played just 23 minutes, picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter, and earning his 5th foul early in the fourth. He still managed to score 15 points, grab 5 rebounds and get a block. Devin Vassell was the leading scorer for San Antonio, putting up 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. It was Luka Doncic who stole the show with his triple-double stat line of 33 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
- The Spurs defense looked improved in the preseason, but was not its sharpest in their regular season opener. The Mavericks were able to get into the paint too easily, scoring 56 points in the paint. They were quick to help off of shooters to stop some of the drives from Doncic and Kyrie Irving, which led to open threes for the Mavs. Dallas thrived in transition off of San Antonio’s 18 turnovers.
- Besides the giveaways, it’s hard to be too upset with the Spurs offensive effort on paper. They shot 51.7% from the field, and had 33 assists. In the second half they stopped moving the basketball as well for stretches – that lack of offensive flow caused big problems for San Antonio when Dallas was gaining momentum.
- Tre Jones helped get the Spurs back into the game in the second half. After losing his starting spot to Jeremy Sochan, the guard is operating as the Spurs sixth man. He had 16 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes. The offense needed his downhill drives in the pick and roll. He played a bit of crunch time minutes as well. It will be interesting to see how Gregg Popovich splits up the Jones/Sochan minutes in clutch time.