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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Nuggets

Another impressive Wembanyama display falls by the wayside

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

It’s easy to be anxious right now. I know I am. I wish I could sit here and practice what I preach about “being patient” and “trusting the process” and all that, but I have a lot of time on my hands over here. A lot of time to consider everything that isn’t quite matching up with my expectations and it’s bumming me out.

This is not a nuanced take. This is not grounded in statistical analysis and I haven’t locked myself in a closet to grind on game take. I’m just sitting down to watch the Spurs on regular television and walking away from the games a little sad. It’s not how I thought things were going to go and it’s not that I can’t adjust to the new reality, it’s just that the adjustment is taking longer than I’d like.

Which is crazy! Certifiably crazy. We are getting to watch the first steps of a generational talent’s career unfold in front of us. He’s dropping stat lines that no one has ever seen before. He’s out there making plays that would be hard to even dream up look simple. He’s having the type of year that is literally on almost the exact same pace that our other two generational superstars started out on and yet...nothing. I’m still kind of bummed. I still feel a little off. What’s up with that?

I know a lot of you feel the same out there and I almost feel like we need to go to group therapy. We need an unbiased observer to sit us down in a room and go, “yes, it’s ok to not enjoy watching your favorite basketball team lose 12 straight games.” We need him to say, “I bet it wasn’t fun having a father figure yell at you the other night.” We need him to let us cry it out and validate the idea that we’re already worried about Victor leaving. “There, there. Let it out. In this age of player movement, the onus on keeping A-List talent happy is really important. You’re right.”

Again, this is all kind of crazy. We’re fine. Everything is good. This franchise has won five titles and we’re now cultivating a guy who looks like he has the capacity to change the way the game is played. Most NBA franchises would switch places with us in a heartbeat and the ones who wouldn’t would at least think about it for a second. We have had a glorious past and we have an increasingly bright future. We absolutely can’t lose sight of that while we’re mucking about here in the middling present.

We can be a little bummed though. That seems okay, right? We’re going to draft in the lottery again and we’re going to lose a lot of games. We’ll get clowned on social media and everyone will probably start making Shohei Ohtani jokes that will hit a little too close to home. The promise of a exciting things to come can’t entirely lighten the load that this season is going to require us to carry.

I don’t know. I don’t really have a larger point here and I don’t have a group therapy session lined up for us yet. I just wanted to come here and say that, yes, losing like this isn’t very fun. No, I’m not sure exactly when it’s going to get better. Yes, it’s okay to complain a little about it.

It’s going to be okay. Let it out. We’re all here for you.

Takeaways

  • It was going to be a tall order closing off the losing streak to the Nuggets anyway. They almost look like they’re on cruise control right now and I’m so jealous. Completely unbothered by anyone. Just out there hooping, racking up wins, and getting ready for the playoffs. Honestly, watching them levitating off the ground in their state of Basketball Nirvana is probably the main contributing factor to my general malaise about the Spurs at the moment.
  • I’m sure we’re all going to be extremely normal about Tre Jones insertion into the starting lineup because of Sochan’s injury. Can’t imagine anyone will come in with super hot takes about the upcoming sample we’ll get of that because we’ve all been nothing but cool about it so far.
  • Maybe I’m just a humble country lawyer, but I truly don’t totally understand the debate about whether or not Wembanyama should be playing center. Is it mostly just a debate about whether or not Zach Collins should be playing at all? Vic is the tallest player on the court no matter what and he always will be. He sort of plays in his own universe on defense and offensively, I mean, that’s just it’s own thing too. So this is mostly a debate about who plays around him, yes? Is that not going to be situationally dependent anyway? Why are we arguing about him playing center? Why are positions still a thing in the NBA anyway?
  • It’s obviously tough to choose from but, early on in his career, my favorite type of Wembenyama play is the floating backwards dunk. It obviously takes an incredible amount of court awareness, skill, coordination and other physical attributes I could only dream about, but It’s also the most inexplicable looking thing to the point where every time it happens it looks like an accident. Like he just sort of tripped and stumbled back trying to catch an overthrown pass and “oops, I guess I dunked it, je suis désolé” Its beautiful. I wish they would try this every other time down the court until someone figures out how to stop it.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- You seem gloomy.

- Is that a question?

- Yikes.

- Yea, sorry, maybe I am? Who can say. Woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Fighting off the effects of what feels like my 4th consecutive week with a cold. Spurs won’t stop losing so I can’t write one of my patented “I’m not going to overreact to this win, but I think we have a shot at the 5 seed” takes. It’s just...you know...bummer season out here man.

- Do you really think you would write a “Spurs for the 5 seed” take after one win?

- Oh, absolutely. Brother, I have so much pent up optimism in here I feel like I’m about to explode. If they gave me even a whiff of competitive juice I could probably even whip up a “Popovich Coach of the Year” angle for you.

- Coach of the year?

- He’s an innovator. He’s testing the boundaries of what is even capable in the game right now. He had the courage to ask a question like “what if we played a talented guy out of position every night in order to see how close we drive our fanbase to the edge of madness”

- Not sure that will hold a lot of sway with the voters.

- Yea well they’re all cowards anyway.