Showcase Cup on the Line for the Austin Spurs on Thursday

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The Austin Spurs are back in action on Thursday night as they play their final scheduled game in the G League’s inaugural Showcase Cup. At 6-5, Austin is currently on the outside looking in for the playoff bracket in the Winter Showcase. The top team in each division automatically qualifies, and the teams with the best records of those remaining get the other four spots in the eight-team playoff. The prospect may be bleak, but it isn’t gone.

Austin is coming off of a 109-96 win on Tuesday night against defending G League champions, the Lakeland Magic. Grabbing the victory helped the Spurs to pass the Magic in the South Division standings in the Showcase Cup. The two teams will run it back on Thursday night in Florida.

Competing for the Cup

In order to compete for the Showcase Cup, the Spurs need to focus on their own games first. Three spots remain within reach, including the one currently held by the 7-4 Texas Legends. The likely spot is the eighth spot, which the Motor City Cruise owns, also at 7-4. Austin is joined in the hunt by 10 other teams that could finish with a 7-5 record, including the Birmingham Squadron who have played their last qualifying game. In the event that a tie would happen, the league would go to point differential, followed by a random drawing. Should it go that far, the Spurs have been outscored by 29 points total this season, which ranks near the bottom 10. The best Austin can hope for is for a lot of teams to lose.

 

Impact of the NBA Trade Deadline

It was reported this week that Bryn Forbes’ name is heating up as next month’s trade deadline approaches in the NBA. Should the Spurs move him, that would open up minutes for Joshua Primo at the guard position to play a consistent role in San Antonio. In eight games this season, the 12th-overall selection is averaging just 7.4 minutes per game, but two points per outing, and a steal and a block every-other game.

 

His defense alone is enough to give him the opportunity, as San Antonio has scorers already who can shoulder the offense while he finds his fit. Entering Tuesday night, Primo ranked 13th in the G League in blocks per game at nearly two. Offensively, Primo isn’t a slouch. With Austin, the rookie out of Alabama is averaging 16 points per game as well as making a pair of three-pointers each night on six attempts.

Other trade rumors around San Antonio include veteran big-man Thaddeus Young. Depending on what returns the Spurs would receive for Young or Forbes, a rotational spot could open up a forward. Two-way contract players Joe Wieskamp (6’6”) and Devontae Cacok (6’7”) could fill in for Young (6’8”), seeing more time away from Austin. The new year is typically when the NBA-eligible players for San Antonio tend to spend more time called up anyway.

 

Up Next

  • Opponent: Lakeland Magic (5-6)
  • When: Thursday, December 16, 2021 @ 7 p.m. CST
  • Where: RP Funding Center – Lakeland, Florida
  • Channel: ESPN+

Thursday’s matchup with the Magic is the second game of the back-to-back schedule the Showcase Cup is utilizing. In Tuesday’s Game 1, it was a tight back-and-forth affair through the first three quarters. Cacok recorded his sixth consecutive double-double for Austin with 27 points and 18 rebounds in 35 minutes of action.

He was one of six Spurs to score in double digits against a Magic attack that was carried by Ignas Brazdeikis, B.J. Johnson, and Jon Teske. Johnson had a game-high 29 points, followed by Brazdeikis with 23 points. Lakeland’s inability to connect from deep proved to be the difference, as Austin nearly matched them on two-fewer attempts.

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