AT&T CENTER – For the San Antonio Spurs, collecting 30 or more assists in a single game hasn’t happened too often through 69 games this season. Sunday’s 16-point win over the Sacramento Kings was just their 13th game of the season collecting 30+ assists.
However, what follows 30+ assist games for the Spurs is wins in the season record column. The Spurs improved to 13-0 when tallying 30+ assists this season. Moving the ball was something Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said the team needed to do more-of, prior to facing the Kings. Popovich mentioned the old term from the 2014 season, “good to great” and the Spurs followed through against the Kings in the ball movement department.
“You know, that’s something that we haven’t done as well as I would’ve liked as consistently as I would’ve liked,” said Pop of the team’s 31 assists against the Kings. “But we’ll keep hammering at it, and hopefully by playoff time, good-to-great will be something that we’re doing very well.”
As you can see by the chart created by StatMuse.com, the reason the Spurs’ 30 assist games don’t happen as frequently is because those occurrences usually happen against teams that are below .500, or teams that are in the bottom half of the league defensively.
The only three teams in the Top-15 defensively with a winning record the Spurs collected 30+ assists on in a game were the Boston Celtics (12th in Defense), Toronto Raptors (11th in Defense) and Atlanta Hawks (4th Defensively).
Here’s something to note when comparing that 2014 Spurs team to today’s team. In 2014, the Spurs tallied 16 30+ assist games during the 82-game season, as they had an offense built around nine different players, with Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili being the go-to players.
The 2017 Spurs’ offense is built much differently, as they rely heavily on Leonard to provide most of their playmaking, then Aldridge as their second go-to option.
For the season, today’s Spurs are averaging 24.0 assists per game, best for 6th in the NBA. In 2014, the team was only averaging 25.2 assists per game, which was the best mark in the league that season. While today’s Spurs are built around two different skilled players in Leonard and Aldridge, Sunday and twelve other times this season showed this Spurs team can find the good-to-great passing that Popovich referred to and continues to seek going forward.