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Spurs Week in Review: Trade Deadline shakeup doesn’t change the results

The Spurs began the Rodeo Road Trip with four more losses, extending their losing streak to 12.

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San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Welcome to the Week in Review: a Monday feature that looks back at the week that was for the San Antonio Spurs, takes a look at the week ahead, and more. Enjoy!

Week 16: The losses keep piling up, and it was made even worse by injuries.

Week 17: 0-4 (14-43 overall 29th in the NBA) — 104-128 L @ Chicago Bulls; 98-112 L @ Toronto Raptors; 131-138 2OT L @ Detroit Pistons; 106-125 L @ Atlanta Hawks

The Rodeo Road Trip used to be revered; now it is feared. Well, maybe not feared, but it ain’t what it used to be, which was the time of the season when the championship-contending Spurs truly bonded and came together for their final push of the regular season. Now, it’s still a time to bond, but it’s also just an extended road trip for a cellar-dwelling team that is only a little better at home than it is on the road.

The Spurs started the RRT this week, and sandwiched in between their four games was the NBA Trade Deadline, where they made major two changes, trading Jakob Poeltl to Toronto for Khem Birch and three future draft picks and Josh Richardson to New Orleans for Devonte’ Graham and picks. They also acquired and waived Dewayne Dedmon for a second round pick, re-signed Gorgui Dieng for the fourth time this season and waived Stanley Johnson, leaving an open roster spot that is rumored (but not confirmed) to be going to two-way player Charles Bassey.

Amidst all the roster shake-up, the Spurs’ four games of the week went about like the majority of their losses have this season — play relatively even for three quarters, but one bad stretch puts them into a double-digit deficit that they have yet to climb out of this season — and their losing streak extended to 12 (a team-worst since 1989.) Shorthanded from injury against the Bulls and Raptors, in both games the Spurs were close at halftime but undone by poor third and fourth quarters, respectively.

Even more shorthanded in Detroit after the trades and Keldon Johnson resting his gimpy ankle, they got out to a 16-point lead in the first half before allowing the Pistons to rally and win in double-OT, but it also a showcased the much needed shooting Graham will bring to the Spurs bench, as he set a franchise record with 31 points in his team debut. Finally, the Spurs got Johnson, Tre Jones and Jeremy Sochan back from injury the next night against the Hawks and initially dominated, but per usual, the more talented team pulled it together in the second half, putting the tired Spurs away in the third quarter.

Lottery Odds

It’s hard to believe the Spurs have lost 12 straight and are still tied with their other three tanking partners in the loss column. However, the good (?) news is the 5th worst team, the Orlando Magic, has completely pulled away from the pack with nine fewer losses, so the Spurs (and Rockets, Hornets and Pistons) are all but guaranteed a bottom four spot at this point.


John Schuhmann, — 30 (last week: 30)

OffRtg: 109.8 (28) DefRtg: 119.9 (30) NetRtg: -10.1 (30) Pace: 101.7 (6)

In their first game after trading Jakob Poeltl, the Spurs were without the other four guys that have been starting (since Devin Vassell’s injury). They still had a great opportunity to end their losing streak, leading by four with less than 20 seconds to go in overtime. But after a Bojan Bogdanovic jumper, the Spurs turned the ball over in the backcourt and fouled Bogdanovic, allowing the Pistons to tied the game. The Spurs had another four-point lead in the second OT, but the Pistons then closed the game with an 11-0 run.

Turnovers have been an issue when Tre Jones has been off the floor, and fouls have been an issue when the Spurs haven’t had Poeltl defending the paint (now a permanent condition). Zach Collins (5.5 fouls per 36 minutes) is the new starting center, and he’s currently being backed up by somebody named Dominick Barlow, who’s committed 6.5 fouls per 36. The Pistons’ 49 free throw attempts on Friday were partially a result of the length of the game, but their free throw rate (FTA/FGA) was the second highest the Spurs have allowed this season.

Jones, Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan returned to the lineup on Saturday, when the latter two combined to score 43 points in Atlanta. But that wasn’t nearly enough, the Spurs were held to a point per possession or less for the third time in the last week, and their losing streak reached 12 games. They now have to play the league’s No. 1 defense, though their last game before the All-Star break (in Charlotte on Wednesday) is about as good of an opportunity as they’ll have to get a win.

Zach Harper, The Athletic — 30 (last week: 30)

Did the trade deadline serve them well? The Spurs got a first-round pick and two seconds for Jakob Poeltl, and they got a handful of second-round picks for Josh Richardson. They get to continue to sink into their tanking this season and hope the lottery gods grant them the top pick to select Victor Wembanyama.

Trade Deadline Rating (1-10): 9

What’s next? The rest of the season will be about continuing to develop the young guys. Let’s see what Malaki Branham can do, and maybe find some time at some point for Blake Wesley. There are plenty of minutes to go around, and the Spurs will gladly take lumps while those guys learn how to compete at the NBA level further.

Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports — 30 (last week: 30)

Hey, the Spurs almost won a game this week, losing to the Pistons in overtime, but the losing streak now sits at 12. In good news, Devonte’ Graham set a franchise record for points in a Spurs debut with 31 off the bench in the loss to Detroit.

Coming up: Mon. 2/16 @ Cleveland Cavaliers; Wed. 2/15 @ Charlotte Hornets; All-Star Break

Prediction: 1-1 — As I keep saying, the more the Spurs lose, the closer they are to their next win, and while they couldn’t pull it off against one tanking partner in Detroit, they’ll have a chance again in Charlotte and should have a more complete roster available. After that will be the All-Star break, but that doesn’t mean no Spurs! Be sure to check out Sochan in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and Bassey in the G League Next Up game on Sunday.