The San Antonio Spurs have struggled to inspire confidence in the early stages of the new NBA campaign, winning just eight of their 17 games so far this season. Gregg Popovich is still in charge of things at AT&T Center but there is a much-changed vibe surrounding the Spurs this year – so much has changed in the last four or five years.
A few years ago, the Spurs were almost regarded as a shoo-in to reach the playoffs before the opening game of the campaign. San Antonio have made a postseason appearance in each of the last 21 years; a run that goes back to 1996/97. Spurs supporters know that their dominance cannot go on forever but fans will be hoping to be in the mix this year.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 20, 2018
Expect San Antonio to pick up in the second half of the campaign. The Spurs, priced at 6.00 with moplay.co.uk to win the Southwest division, are just four wins behind the Memphis Grizzlies at the time of writing and Popovich will be relying on all of his experience to lead San Antonio up the NBA ladder. Write the Spurs off at your peril…
That 104-103 defeat to the Grizzlies will hurt San Antonio for some time. The Spurs left everything on the court but fell short against a confident Memphis side; Popovich was quite clearly frustrated after such a narrow loss. Finding someone to fill Kawhi Leonard’s shoes is almost impossible and San Antonio may need some time to rebuild completely.
DeMar DeRozan has been sublime but he needs help. Currently leading the team in points per game, assists per game and steals per game, the Spurs are in danger of becoming a one-man show. You only need to look at the Cleveland Cavaliers and how they are struggling without LeBron James to realise that San Antonio cannot afford to rely too heavily on DeRozan in the long term.
Road form will be of some concern for Spurs fans at this moment in time. With just two wins from eight games away from AT&T Center, San Antonio are going to need to improve that record to stand any chance of competing in the playoffs. A .250 winning record away from home will not be good enough, especially when the Spurs go up against the NBA’s classier teams.
The Spurs have been one of the NBA’s most consistent teams in years gone by and punters will fancy San Antonio to get back to their best in the coming months. Expecting the Spurs to topple the likes of Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets would be foolish but simply being in the playoff hunt should suffice with supporters.
Gone are the days of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker; San Antonio are now in a new era for the franchise. Popovich remains but he cannot control how the players perform on the court – it is time for the Spurs to step up and be counted. Watch this space, we may see San Antonio improve considerably and the playoffs are not out of reach yet.