Eight games into the season, one surprisingly dominating start and three home losses later, the Spurs definitely look more like a new team at the start of a season.
In the midst of week three of the 2016-2017 NBA season, the Spurs have fallen to the fourth seed of the Western conference and fourth place in ESPN’s power rankings. Is that a fair placement? Yes.
While the Spurs came out of the gates winning their first three games in statement style, their success was something teams hope to experience once the season is a little more established.
Before Wednesday night’s loss, the Spurs field goal percentage in losses this year sat just slightly lower than in the games they won. The more surprising statistic comes from 3-point success. In wins this year, the Spurs averaged 42.3% from downtown while in losses they’ve only managed to reach 35.6%. Another telling statistic, on average, the silver and black scored 15.5 more points in wins versus losses.
In Wednesday’s loss, the Spurs shot 39.3% from the field, and attempted 23 3-point field goals, only 7 of which they made. They allowed the Rockets to score 63 points in the first half making this the second game in a row that they’ve allowed their opponent to score more than 60 points in a first half. They haven’t allowed this since before Tim Duncan became a Spur.
The worst part of the play in games lost is that all three of the Spurs losses this year have been at home. Last year, the Spurs ended the season with a franchise record for home wins, while tying the NBA record at 40-1.
Can the Spurs bounce back from this? Yes. Is this the end of all hope for a successful season of NBA basketball for Spurs fans? No. Overall, the mistakes being made now are growing and adjusting pains for the Spurs. With a transitioning roster and many new faces, the appropriate thing to expect is some uncertainty at times.
Even in both losses, Spurs mains, namely Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, have been top scorers for the Spurs. Also, during the Clippers clinic, a less-known Argentine daredevil made his mark. Twenty-six-year-old Argentine rookie, Nico Laprovittola scored 11 points in 22 minutes on 4/5 shooting and 3/4 from downtown.
Throughout the first seven games, we’ve seen some breakout work from Jonathon Simmons, David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, and Laprovittola. The bench will be the key to the Spurs success. While Kawhi is the new face of the Spurs, responsibility should not, and cannot be on him alone. Leonard would very well be a superstar standalone player on any other team. However, the Spurs success and style depends upon teamwork and ball movement. The Spurs are the Spurs because of their signature unselfish playing style.
All in all, the Spurs have some growing to do. They’ll continue this process Friday at 7:30pm against the Detroit Pistons in San Antonio.