The San Antonio Spurs travel to New Orleans tonight to kick off their season against the Hornets. The San Antonio roster looks almost identical to the team that won 50 games last year. For the Hornets, it’s another story.
Nine players will be making their debut for New Orleans tonight, including top overall draft pick Anthony Davis. Davis and fellow rookie Austin Rivers are hoping to show early that they’re the future of this franchise and can dig them out of the crater left by the departure of Chris Paul. Davis put up strong numbers in the preseason and he’s my pick for rookie of the year (yes, I know I’m really going out on a limb there), but he’ll have his hands full in his NBA debut.
The Spurs will be without Manu Ginobili, who is sitting out the game with some back issues. Luckily for the Spurs, they have no shortage of shooting guards so several players should be up to the task of stepping in for Manu. The Hornets will also be without guard Eric Gordon indefinitely with a knee injury.
Point guard Tony Parker will be hoping to build on an MVP-caliber season, but he says the Spurs need to stay focused and motivated.
"A lot of people see us as the nice Spurs," said Parker. "We need to play like we're hungry, like we want it. We have to stop saying, 'Oh, we won a lot of championships, we'll come back next year.' We have to play with more attitude."
The Spurs swept the four-game series with the Hornets last year, but this year’s team is no pushover. Obviously with so many young guys and new players, the Hornets are going to take some time to gel, but the talent is there for this team to be a success a couple years down the road. The Hornets will not be considered an automatic win on the schedule for anyone this year, and if the Spurs want to get off on the right foot, they better come prepared to play.