The Brooklyn Nets went all-in a few years back on the tandem of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, eventually doubling down and bringing James Harden into the fold after his first trade demand. That trio, for a variety of reasons, failed to produce the sort of results some people were expecting, and Harden’s 2nd trade request in as many years got the ball rolling on the end of yet another short-lived era for the Nets. They were able to pivot quite well, all things considered, turning their big 3 for a host of assets. Their most notable acquisition, the NBA’s reigning Ironman Mikal Bridges, came over in the trade that sent Durant to the Phoenix Suns. This season has been a struggle, but they are still in the early stages of a rebuild that they hope Bridges will be a key piece of.
San Antonio comes into tonight’s game with a chance to get into the win column for the first time on this season’s Rodeo Road Trip. This game and the following one against the Toronto Raptors are the only games to feature Spurs opponents who are under .500 on the famous road trip this year. The Spurs have looked a little gassed at the end of their last few games, even with 4 days off before the loss to the Miami Heat. A winning record during this stretch remains unlikely, but picking up a win or two could be an encouraging sign for a team that probably can’t wait to get to next October and start this thing fresh once again.
San Antonio Spurs (10-42) at Brooklyn Nets (20-31)
February 10th 2024 | 5:00 PM CT
Watch: KENS | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Charles Bassey, out for the year
Nets Injuries: Lonnie Walker IV, hamstring (probable), Cameron Johnson, adductor (OUT), Day’Ron Sharpe, knee (OUT)
What to watch for
- Mikal Bridges is having a really good year for Brooklyn from an individual standpoint. Last season he came in and had some extraordinary performances after the Durant trade, but questions abounded about his ability to do it as a 1st option across an entire season after spending the first few years of his career in a supporting role for the Suns. In 51 contests this season, he’s averaging 22-5-4 on 45% shooting from the field and 37% from beyond the arc on nearly 7 attempts a game.
- 22 year old shooting guard Cam Thomas is the Nets 2nd leading scorer behind Bridges. After coming off the bench for the majority of his first two seasons, Thomas has started 27 of his 42 games played for Brooklyn this season. Thomas, a scorer at heart, has shown the ability to get hot quick, as evidenced by his 3 games of 40+ points in a season that has seemingly been full of them.
- Devin Vassell notched the third 30 point game of both his season and career in the loss to the Magic, exploding in the 3rd quarter of that game to keep the Spurs somewhat in striking distance. While it hasn’t always looked great this season, Vassell has made real strides as the year has gone on. He’s shooting a career-best 47% from the field while making 36% of his 3-point makes, most of which have seemingly been made under duress, while his chemistry with Wemby looks like it’s starting to bear some real fruit. Here’s to his good health and hopefully another 30 point game.
- Victor Wembanyama played just 22 minutes in the SEGABABA loss to the Magic Thursday night. While it would be nice to see him consistently having his playing time approaching/firmly into at least the 30 minute mark, this season is essentially over from a competitive standpoint for the Spurs. If there were ever any doubts, the focus after the trade deadline is clearly on playing and developing the guys that they have, and while playing time is still important for the young rookie phenom, he is also arguably the one player with the least amount of question marks on the roster. Best to play him, but keep him fresh for when the Spurs eventually (hopefully?) make a transition to their winning ways once again.
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