The San Antonio Spurs opened their 2017-2018 preseason schedule with a loss to the Sacramento Kings Monday, 106-100. While the Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Rudy Gay in the match, they still had some fire power on the roster with LaMarcus Aldridge (17 points), Patty Mills (11 points) and Joffrey Lauvergne (10 points). With it being a preseason game, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich monitored the minutes for the veteran players and he also tinkered with different lineups throughout the game.
Here were a few standout players from the game.
LaMarcus Aldridge – In his training camp interviews, Aldridge has been commenting about how he wants to space the floor better this season by stepping out to the 3-point line more often. In this first preseason game, he did just that. In just one half of play, Aldridge led the team in scoring with 17 points on 70% shooting while collecting two rebounds and two assists. When Aldridge would set a pick, he’d venture out beyond the 3-point line to provide better spacing and he even made a 3-pointer in his two attempts. With Leonard and Gay out, the team went to Aldridge as their go-to option on offense as they posted him up several times or got him to get in a rhythm using the mid-range area.
Joffrey Lauvergne – Lauvergne came off the bench behind Pau Gasol at the center position and he produced a very efficient 10 minutes of play. Lauvergne finished with 10 points, three rebounds and one assist in those 10 minutes. When a possession would start to bog down, Lauvergne was an option the team could go to down in the low post for a late basket near the end of the shot clock. Lauvergne also displayed his ability to rim run after setting a pick and when he was off the ball, he was comfortable spotting up in the corner to pull his defender out of the paint. In the second half, he was a bit more active on the glass as well.
Kyle Anderson – Anderson started at the 3 since Leonard was out. In his 18 minutes of play, Anderson continued to show his very balanced game with seven points, four rebounds, and one assist. On one possession when the defense left him open for three, rather than just wait for the pass to come to him, Anderson made a nifty cut under the basket and received a pass for a wide open reverse layup. Later in the second half when he did find himself in a spot-up three situation from the corner, he didn’t hesitate to release the shot and it went in nothing-but-net.
Davis Bertans – While Bertans didn’t have the best shooting day going 1-of-6 from the floor for four points, he did help the team in other areas on the court. Bertans led the team with six rebounds and he also collected an assist in his 21 minutes of play. With the Spurs playing more younger players, it wasn’t easy for Bertans to get wide open pick-and-pop looks from three like he can be accustomed to, but still, down in the paint on defense he battled different centers and power forwards in continuing to help the Spurs end possessions by grabbing defensive rebounds.
Dejounte Murray – Murray started at the 1 which means Popovich might keep the same point guard rotation to begin the season with Murray as the starting point guard and Mills being the backup point. Murray finished with nine points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals and a block in his 18 minutes of play. While at times he struggled on the defensive end to get around screens or keep the ball handler in front of him, he did play a balanced point guard game in setting his teammates up and picking his moments when to get more aggressive on offense and try to score.
The Spurs’ next preseason game will take place Friday in San Antonio against the Kings.