In episode 560, Spurscast host Paul Garcia is joined by Project Spurs writer Collin Reid to discuss the following topics:
- The Spurs’ defense in their last two losses to the Celtics and Grizzlies.
- A deep dive into the 19th ranked Spurs defense.
Paul Garcia 0:04
You’re listening to the Spurscast Episode 560 My name is Paul Garcia and I am the host of the Spurs cast joining me and not in studio for the first time since we’ve been recording together is Project Spurs’ Collin Reid. Collin how are you doing man?
Collin Reid 0:20
I’m doing pretty well sitting in my home today so it’s a little bit weird a little bit different than normal.
Paul Garcia 0:25
Yeah, Spurscast listeners you know ever since ever since Collin started joining me here on the Spurscast and every record he’s always come over to talk to where I record at so it’s always like you know, we just have that very natural transition between ourselves so now it’s kind of weird to do it remote online because yes, this is like the transition is there any kind of like long pauses you all know why it’s like we’re waiting for one of us to speak so it’s kind of awkward that way but it’s all good. Collin and I hjaveve obviously you know spent a lot of time together talking about the Spurs so Collin, you know, unfortunately man. Now that the Spurs season’s back I have a good I have a rotation of all of our Spurscast writers. That means Project Spurs writers who come in and you drew the card Collin of the week when the Spurs have just lost four of their last five games. They lost their last two games. You know the first one against the Celtics on Saturday pretty bad by 20 points and then of course against the Grizzlies team. They were supposed to be by 10 and a half points according to Vegas, they end up losing that one by four. So you know that right now it’s not a good time for if you’re a spurs fan. You know, especially after all this stuff with Tony Parker’s jersey retirement. That was a really good, you know, fun night for everyone to embrace the big three for one last time. But then, you know, reality sets in Oh, it’s back to the season. And here are the Spurs 10 games into the year five and five on pace to win 41 games. They’re playing like a 40.5 wins and according to cleaning the glass so so Collin just before we kind of dive into these two games, give me your impressions. What are you thinking man as I know I haven’t spoken to you in a while. What are your thoughts right now on the Spurs team in five and five?
Collin Reid 1:53
Yeah, so I guess you’re saying I’m like the Lonnie Walker of the Project Spurs rotation and the podcast right now because I drew the short end of the stick here. No, I, I think that you know that 3-0 start looked real good. And yesterday I was thinking about it so so they play 10 games. And they have like one win that you’d say, you know, this win was was maybe a good one that maybe was kind of punching above their weight, which is a Portland win. And then they have two bad losses, which are Atlanta and the Grizzlies at home and the Atlanta in Atlanta is actually probably not as bad of a loss as it looks like to a lot of fans. So So when you look at the five and five record, you know, maybe if you looked at the record before the season started and looked at the first 10 games, and thought what’s realistic, I think six and four with the games that they had to play would have been fairly realistic. So the fact that they’re five and five, that’s a little bit below expectation, but I actually don’t think it’s like alarm sound, the alarm bells kind of thing yet, because I think that they’re actually kind of most of those games when as expected other than maybe one or two So, you know, I think they have some problems to sort out. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, I’m sure. But it I don’t actually think it’s quite as bad as people think if you have kind of your expectations set for this team, kind of based on their roster.
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Paul Garcia 3:15
Yeah, you brought up two good points here. And I want to I want to go into, these are actually two areas I wasn’t going to thinking about going in, but you brought up a good point. So So that first is talking about that three-game winning streak, you know, it was against some teams, especially, you know, like you mentioned, Portland’s probably the best one there. But you got to remember, they were struggling against the Wizards and against the Knicks, they barely beat those two teams. And so I remember the talk, you know, if you went to spurs games and talking to a bunch of media members was like, wow, we were all telling each other well, they’re having trouble with the Wizards, you know, what’s going to happen when they play the real teams, you know, I mean, the really good teams and so and so obviously, that’s carrying over the fact they had a soft schedule to start. And now, you know, they’re really struggling here. And then even against bad teams and not bad teams, but you know, teams that are that are up and coming like the Grizzlies and the Hawks, they’re having some struggles there, like you mentioned. Yeah. So so let’s go and get into this real quick, you know, kind of into these last two games you know first against the Celtics the story the night there was that they got outscored in the paint 60 to 30 again they let they let 60 points of from the from the Celtics who are just constantly attacking their defense drive and kick action just using pick and roll to basically get anywhere they wanted on the floor. And that was a big game because Marcus Aldridge on offense had just come off with 39 point night against OKC and then here he comes with just four shots and just three points so he was a guy who kind of got you know, a lot of the the the negative press I wouldsay I guess in that game and then you knowDejounte Murray in back to back games now he’s kind of struggled a little bit where, where he’s just on offense, you know, turning the ball over a lot on his drives. He’s really kind of hitting like that, that he shouldn’t have which is a sophomore like kind of wall but but he didn’t get to play last year so he’s kind of going through that motion now, where he’s kind of trying to find his place and he’s and he’s really struggling. So you’re seeing Derek White get an increase of minutes. Then this Memphis game, you know, they give up again, 48 points in the paint, which isn’t as much as they normally give up the Spurs but it’s still a lot. Memphis shot really well at the rim. And then the Grizzlies I you know, I look at this stat here, they made 11 of 28 threes. But 80% of the three point makes were on wide open threes again the 63% of the shots from from three were on wide open threes, the Grizzlies are kind of penetrating kicking. And they really had their way against the Spurs. So what do you want to say about any of those two games?
Collin Reid 5:18
Yes, I think that when you talk about the rim and their paint defense, which is actually probably been out of everything, maybe one of their strengths over the past several years, just because I think that when Aldridge came to the Spurs he had this reputation of being a bad defender, which I think we have like it’s easy to fall into the trap of calling players good or bad defenders as if it’s like a binary thing where the same was like Pau in the series against the Rockets were like Pop was able to take the thing that he’s actually good at maybe like just standing right in front of the rim and defending the rim and turning that into a strength. So Pau actually had a really good often or defensive series against you know, the Houston Rockets of all teams, and Aldridge is kind of in the same way where like if you’re kind of playing heavy drop defense and he’s staying at the rim, he can really protect the rim and kind of help keep their paint defense solid. But I think you know, this is Aldridge’s age 34 season, I believe, you know, and so you have to expect like, at what point does the drop off come and as this you know, last season he started off really shaky as well and he got kind of things going the Spurs did really well. But so it’s kind of one of those things of is this kind of just the shakiness Is it is it just like last season? Or is it kind of a sign that he’s kind of aging and getting older? And at that point, kind of where do the Spurs pivot from there because and someone else I remember had said this a year or two ago that really kind of as Aldridge goes the Spurs have gone these past couple years and especially you know, two years ago when Leonard was out, and then you know, last year to its kind of really, if all just playing well the Spurs seem to be playing well and when he’s not It seems like the Spurs start losing games. So I think in both of those games on offense and on defense, you kind of see the effects of like, Is this just a bad start to the season? Or is he is the aging starting to get to them? And I think the other thing is, I don’t know exactly the location of all those wide open threes but just from watching the games, what seems to be the cases, a lot of those wide open threes are on the weak side like teams can run actions on the weak side where the Spurs switch more but they’ve seemed to be getting a lot of these switches miss communicated or kind of mistimed for whatever reason early on in the season. And it’s leading to a lot of wide open shots. So So that’s kind of what I’m seeing with the open shots is it just seems to be like if teams run like simple action on the weak side, they they just seem to get really easy open threes.
Paul Garcia 7:49
Hmm, interesting. And I should note, you know, in terms of this Grizzlies game that the NBA did put out I mean, not not the NBA but yeah, they put out their their two minute report and there was one final Play with 13.9 seconds left. No sorry with 22.6 22.6 seconds left where DeMar DeRozan had a chance to tie the game spurs are down to he drives him for reverse layup, he misses it. The team this, you know, he said after the game, I thought I thought I was found he thought that the Spurs did get fouled there and that maybe would have changed the course the game. And today the NBA put out there their last two minute call report and and according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News that the NBA ruled that that should have been called a foul, but it was a non call at the time. So and you know, and according to the new coaching challenge rules, P op was not able to challenge that type of call against the refs on that play. So you know, who knows, maybe they could they could have end up winning the game, but like, like I always say, you know, if you’re a 10 and a half point favorite, you should not be having it come down to the wire against the Grizzlies, you should have beat that team pretty easily or pretty effectively. And that was not the case where the Spurs fell behind by 16 points. Let me ask you this before we really dive into the defense real quick. What do you think about that? I know I have a stat there were like man, they’re just falling behind by 10 points. All the time now it’s already been 60% of their games to start the year they’ve been down by 10 and they’re like one in five now when that happens what do you think it what do you think they’re just early on from from why they’re falling behind so fast
Collin Reid 9:12
You know it’s it’s the starters just like it was last year you know and it’s you don’t want to necessarily like put blame on anyone group but I remember you know, whenever national writers talk about the Spurs it’s really nice to kind of get their input and I was the one thing that like Zach Lowe was harping on all of last year was like you know, the Spurs are performing better than expected but he didn’t know if he could put Aldridge or DeRozan on like his all NBA balance, because the Spurs were worse with him on the floor. Yeah. And that has been like the case again this year. And when I was doing my research for my article last week, I noticed like, man, the Spurs are really good when their five bench guys out there like everyone, which I like I understand the eye test says things but there’s been a lot of a lot of discussion over what the Spurs look like when Patty and Marco are out there but they’re not writing with those two out there is actually really, really high and they’re not writing with like, the starters out there is negative in pretty much every single case. So it’s one of those things where their they’re falling behind from the very beginning and then their bench actually can can stay in the game against other teams benches and even bring them back. But then it’s a fight and then it’s time for the starters to come back in. And then
Paul Garcia 10:23
Yeah, I totally understand.
Collin Reid 10:27
yeah, I think so. It’s something I’ve been kicking around. And I don’t know how they would do it was, if they can stagger Aldridge and DeRozan more, where you have one of them kind of be a feature offensive piece off of the bench. And I mean, not that they would, they would still start but that they would come off of the floor much earlier and then come in with the bench because I feel like having them both of them on the floor at the same time, does provide diminishing returns and I think that both of them could actually be more useful if they were like the one like Star on offense with all of especially with how many like good supporting offensive players that the Spurs have on the bench, just having one of Aldridge or DeRozan into that mix too I think could be a really solid lineup. I don’t know how they would actually kind of section out those minutes but I just watching the Spurs like that was an idea that came to me in terms of like, that might kind of help kind of clear some of this up.
Paul Garcia 11:21
Yeah, you hit on a great point there I mean, look at I’m looking right now real quick on cleaning the glass. Their net rating with the with the DeRozan on the floor right now. It’s a minus 9.5. When he’s out there last year, it was a minus 5.3. LaMarcus Aldridge and he’s out there right now. Last year, he was at minus 0.3. net rating right now it’s a minus 5.6. You’re right, those two guys are struggling together. And I think that’s kind of the story. You’re right. I mean, where, you know, they fall behind the starting unit, they’re struggling and then all of a sudden, the bench needs to come in to save them. And then of course, like you just said, you know, they put them back out there and it’s a struggle. Now again, I don’t know how much those two guys want to I think that’s a good idea like you said there because it allows both of them to become you know the primary option for a while. But again these two These are two guys who you know how is that conversation to go with them playing being on the bench at certain times where they had a you know, you just have to look at them in terms of how did the Spurs manage them in their personalities in that manner. It’s not as easy as like how it used to be with like Tim Tony Manu back in the day when the big three were here, but okay, Collin now let’s go and really get into the defense here. That’s kind of our main topic here because I think that at the heart of the matter, that’s kind of what it is. Right now, you know, as you and I are recording this on Tuesday evening, the Spurs have a offensive rating of one scoring 109.3 points per hundred possessions, which is seven. So again, as much as the struggles are overall it’s a 10th a top 10 offense, but on the defensive end, they’re giving up exactly 109.3 points per 100 possessions, no other difference. So basically, they’re scoring this much and then they’re giving away as much of the other end, which that is not good because then that makes them have the 19th ranked defense right now in terms of defensive rating according to NBA com. So what I’ve done here is I’ve kind of taken a lot of the stats we have in our Project Spurs premium database, and I kind of put them into the good category, the meh allright category, and then the bad category. And so let’s look at some of the let’s talk about the strengths first, then we’ll go into some of the negative. So some of the good things that we see from the Spurs right now on defense. Outside of that, that fourth quarter against Memphis, they’re doing a really good job of keeping other teams off the offensive glass. Their third there, they’re doing a really good job of not putting teams on the front free throw line, they’re fifth there. Like you mentioned Collin, they’re allowing teams to shoot at the rim is actually very low. It’s only until it’s ranked sixth in terms of lowest amount of frequency at the rim. Mid range, they’re making teams take the second most mid range jumpers in the league, so they’re making teams take mid range. They’re limiting corner threes, and non corner threes, the top 10 level, and then they’re when teams use the pick and roll ball handler against them. They’re sixth best in guarding that in terms of teams are only getting 0.81 points per possession, and then also their frequency of spot ups. So those are some of the strengths right now, some of the some of the weaknesses, that the bad stuff about them on defenses, opponent fast break points, they’re 25th. They’re just allowing a lot of fast break points. The half court defense is terrible. It’s 26th you know, according to cleaning the glass. Opponents shooting at the rim, teams are scoring 69.8% of the time that they get to the rim that is 30th dead last for the Spurs in terms of opponent accuracy at the rim. And then of course points in the paint they are 23rd there allowing teams to score in the paint. Teams are purposely targeting them their 29th in terms of their teams are targeting to 25% of the time and pick and roll ball handler and then spot up teams are shooting really well against them. So I know that’s a lot of stats there. What is your takeaway when you hear some of that those numbers and those rankings?
Collin Reid 14:54
I think the two that really stick out to me is how easily opponents are scoring on them and transition and kind of how easily they’re scoring at the rim as well. So it’s kind of just having been around the Spurs and kind of hearing spurs coach forever. It can be easy to lose when and where you hear things. But I do remember one time, I think it was a player talking about that Pop basically starts over with the defense every year. It’s basically like, they don’t go like oh, well, since we had this last year let’s start from there. They kind of like start from ground level every year. And the very first thing they work on is transition defense. When they come into camp, I don’t know if that’s still the case. It sounds like it at least was at one point. And so one of the things that I think a lot about is that while this isn’t technically a new team in terms of the pieces, you know, Dejounte Murray is kind of being reincorporated and Trey Lyles as a starter who wasn’t on the team last year, but a lot of the other pieces are the same, but you can you can see that there is definitely a actually growing pains on defense like this, this team has the personnel to be a better defensive team than last year’s team. But you can see the growing pains of a maybe a missed rotation or maybe a little bit of confusion on who should be doing what, where. And you would think that eventually that the transition defense would be the one that improves, I actually think that that is one of the areas that Dejounte will improve on because it’s hard to have. So a lot of the times they can be separated into two categories where you have transition off of dead balls and transition off of live balls and the Spurs have actually had some opponents scoring off of them off of dead balls and some kind of embarrassing ways. But you know, more often than not, is probably off of the live ball turnovers. Yeah, and you’ll see it a lot especially when the Spurs guards go into the post, which they’ve been doing a lot this season. Murray might start backing someone down or DeRozan might start backing someone down and they’ll lose a handle or someone will kind of come in front of them and steal the ball. And I think as Dejounte gets more time and as he gets more comfortable with the system, I think his turnovers will go down. And those numbers will naturally get better just because there’ll be less live ball opportunities, and then, you know, hit him and Derek are so fast that once those do happen, once those two can play together, you’re probably going to have someone who is a very capable defender getting back on time to help defend it. So some of these problems, I think, are like a system thing where they’re kind of everyone’s learning the system. Everyone is learning to play with this better personnel but also, as Dejounte gets more minutes and as he gets more comfortable, and as they’re able to play him more with Derrick which I think will come one says minutes restriction is lifted, I think that the transition will be better. I do think that the stuff at the rim though is worrying because you look at their personnel and you look at like who they have. And it’s like, okay, where do they grow from what they already have on protecting the rim unless they want to start Poeltl with Aldridge again, which they seem to have moved away from because they like Poeltl’s contributions off the bench so that there’s like maybe one move they can do there other than just individual players playing better. So that the transition you can like see a pass to that getting better. But the rim defense I think is one of the things where you’re like, Man, that’s just going to be have to be individuals kind of improving, you can’t really see a good system fix for that.
Paul Garcia 18:29
Yeah. You know, one thing that I think is very concerning in terms of the fact that they’re like their 25th. And allowing opponent fast break points is the fact that like, they’re actually pretty good. They’re like, second, I think in terms of not letting teams score off them off their own turnovers. Actually, I think they’re holding teams like 12.6 points off of the Spurs, turnovers like that. And so it’s actually a really good number that they’re getting back on those to attempt possessions, but it’s the fact that like that team to have to be 25th in opponent fast break points. I mean, they’re gonna like 16 points, a game that just tells you like, you’re just not getting back in time and stuff like that. And you know, like, you just mentioned the They live ball turnovers in the dead ones, especially as well. And to be 26th in half court defense again, what does that tell me that tells me you’re missing rotations. You know, when teams penetrate you on your way, especially when teams run stuff into pick and roll, maybe off off ball screens, things like that, that you’re just not communicating, you’re not cohesive. And then you know, you just got to look at the defenders that they’re running out there and you know, we obviously know that their two best defenders are Dejounte and Derrick White, but like we mentioned also you know, you only have one of those guys right now until that minutes restrictions lifted, playing on the floor at all times. I know pops just kind of experimenting with having both of those guys out there twice so far this year, but very minimal possessions. But you know, Pop’s kind of said that not until Dejounte minutes restrictions lifted is when we’re going to see more of those Derrick White Dejounte type lineups, which is again gonna have an effect on their defense because you only have one guy who can kind of stop some dribble penetration and Dejounte or Derrick, while, the other defenders are going by DeMar DeRozan or Bryn Forbes or Patty Mills and Marco and all these other guys. So So yeah, I think a lot of that is to like you said maybe it is just early you know trying to get back on the same page learn it, relearn the defense, those kind of things but I just feel like it’s really concerning still and like you mentioned Collin there’s not a lot of answers for that rim accuracy defense because what are you gonna do? Okay, you’re gonna you’re not going to lose LaMarcus from the starting lineup that’s for sure. So you can either pick put in Poeltl like you said, or continue going small with like Rudy Gay or even like DeMarre Carroll as the four and that was like your only few options that you have you know, outside of you know, signing players or making a trade and our I doubt they put Chimezie Metu bring him add him to a starting lineup. So, so yeah, so a little bit concerning the fact that like teams when they even though teams aren’t getting to the rim a lot when they do get there. It’s very efficient rate. It’s like it’s the best rate in the league basically, when they get into the rim. So I think that is very concerning, like you mentioned. I also think a lot of it too, is like almost like it’s just really inconsistency like you look at this Grizzlies box score, I mean, they give up 35 in the first quarter bad defense, then they give up 22 in the same court, that’s actually a good defensive number in in 2019. Then a third quarter Grizzlies scored 34. Fourth quarter the Spurs hold them to 22, which is a good mark outside of the Grizzlies game, those few offensive rebounds in the fourth, you know, the Spurs played really good defense there. And you know the numbers for me I feel like they have improved but you know, when you see the end result, that’s still their issue is still on the defensive end, it’s not really there. You know, I’ve been tracking the drives allowed per game, you know, they’ve given up like 41 drives per game. And even those numbers aren’t that bad when you when you really look at how teams are scoring on them and the efficiency there. The wide open threes, you know, they’re kind of outside of the Celtics game and Grizzlies game, they’ve kind of been guarding them at a decent percentage. They haven’t been given up to too many as I thought, and I just felt like the numbers right now don’t match the eye test. I feel like the numbers are very much like, you know, league average to, you know, not horribly bad right now and a lot of different categories outside of the rim accuracy. But when you watch the eye test, again, it just feels like it’s not all the time that they look this bad on defense. It’s just like I mean like a quarter, two quarters a game It looks like this What do you think about that the fact that some of the numbers paint them not as bad as it looks on defense, but the end result is that they’re still the 19th ranked defense?
Collin Reid 22:12
So I think a lot of that goes back to how well their benches played. And that’s been kind of subtle in some ways. So I pulled cleaning the glass’s on off stats, and the Spurs ot rather opponents have shot 11.6% worse at the rim when Poeltl’s on but they’ve shot 14.3% better with Aldridge at the rim. So it’s one of those things again with with that habit, and I think so I actually don’t think kind of having watched it and kind of and I don’t know how much of this is actually the case or if it’s just the what I’ve seen and what stuck out. I don’t actually think all of that is Aldridge’s fault either. For whatever reason, it seems like the Spurs guards have been like particularly susceptible to getting caught on screens this year. Especially you know some of the ones in the starting lineup obviously Dejounte has incredible strength and footwork and can kind of move around screens in a very masterful way but it seems like it’s getting to the point with their drop defense where because the the guard defending this is getting stuck on a screen it’s kind of leaving Aldridge to defend two on one and you either have like a big rolling to the rim or you have a smaller guy that is able to kind of get around Aldridge and that’s just it’s it’s one of those things where hopefully that kind of improves as the year goes on to and actually that’s one of the things where Patty, I feel like has been really bad at that historically. And he’s actually been doing a pretty dang good job of that this season is getting around screens that’s kind of been something that I’ve always kind of knocked him for on my side is just like okay, man, like Patty can be. He has a lot of energy, which I think goes a lot further than a lot of people realize, but he can just be taken out of possessions when someone tsets a good screen on him. This year, he’s actually been doing a much better job about getting around screens. And I think that does help the big man and these drop defense coverages because now you’re not playing two on one, you have the the guard kind of chasing behind. And I think that’s happening a lot in the starting lineup where Forbes or DeRozan are kind of getting caught on these screens, and now Aldridge is kind of left picking which person he’s going to guard and then the other one has like an empty lane to the back.
Paul Garcia 24:25
Yeah, I know for sure. And I know I’m looking at some of the massive data the maid puts out and, you know, it’s it’s really tough because, you know, Dejounte is usually garden the best matchup out there in terms of like, the backward rotation, but then you got it, you know, Forbes has to guard the second guy. And a lot of the numbers, the matchup data numbers don’t look good for Forbes where multiple players are attacking him nightly. And then you know, they’re shooting there at least getting one or two shots made against him when he’s their primary matchup. And then I guess he had the same thing for DeRozan too. So I mean, that’s it’s just, I think part of it too, is you know, there’s just a limitation of the personnel when you’re starting these guys and You know, now that you’re ready that Poeltl stat I am eager to see if Pop does experiment with going back to a slower, you know, more traditional big man lineup. I know, obviously the offensive to probably take a hit a little bit, but I mean, like we mentioned earlier, the starters already have a negative net rating, you know, even and actually, I wrote a piece on Trey Lyles recently, and the offense is just it’s actually the issue with it with the starting unit, it’s the offense, it’s actually worse than the defense for them. And like you mentioned earlier, you know, that’s why they go into those lulls, and they fall behind cuz they just can’t score for a long time and they have these really bad half court possessions that they just can’t use feasibly So, so it kind of, you know, we’ll see what happens, obviously, you know, like you mentioned, Collin it’s five and five, they could be, you know, who knows, it could be maybe like six and four right now, if things go differently, or 7-3 or you know had they lost to the Wizards it could be like really bad, like three and seven right now or something like that. So it’s really like, you know, this is kind of what the numbers are showing right now. its kind of like a very average mediocre team. And that’s kind of what why they’re five and five and you know, based on their play on both ends right now. It’s what it’s showing the numbers I think that for the guys like like you and I that like like to look a lot of the math models you know right now that part is winning this argument right now just because a lot of these math projections did have the Spurs with like 41 you know 38 wins and a lot of fans got upset in the summertime they were like no this team won you know 47 games and or 48 games whatever it was and and they’re bringing Dejounte and yeah, but you know, the rest of the league did get better even though I know a lot of teams are struggling it’s just that you know, right now this is kind of what these models saw in in the Spurs that as good as Dejounte is and as good as Derrick White can be you know, they just don’t have a lot more upside on this roster. It’s very much a team that’s kind of set in what they are. Yeah, so did you have anything else you wanted to add before we get ready to close this one out?
Collin Reid 26:43
So I was thinking about that about how you talked about the whole league getting better. So when we talked about we went through the schedule before the season began, and we were looking at wins. You know, you would probably look at like Suns and Timberwolves games as easy wins for the Spurs. That’s not maybe the case anymore. Like both of those teams have been really good this season. And I think that’s true kind of up and down. There are teams that are bad in the West. But I still think that those are teams that the Spurs can’t take lightly just because, you know, this isn’t the big three era Spurs. this isn’t the Kawhi era spurs, where if you have kind of an off night, you’re still going to kind of beat some of these bad teams. And I think that’s what we saw the first two games of the season, against the Knicks and the Wizards, where, you know, the Spurs had some sloppy play, and they kind of ran a risk of losing to teams that they were definitely better than. So, you know, it’s definitely one of those things where like, hey, the whole league is getting better, like you said, especially the West, and that’s, I mean, people say it every year, but like this year, it’s more true I think, than it has been in the past in terms of at least, like the average level of play in the West. And not only that, but if you look at kind of there, and I know we’ll probably talk about some of this too, this kind of has a year that looks like it’ll start very similar to last year. You know, they haven’t been very good at the road and they have 100 road games. Yeah. And, you know, I think they could start in the hole and then recover. So I think, you know, if we hit the 14th in the West 11 and 15 spot again, you know, again, I would say don’t sound the alarm don’t pull the levers of the air raid sirens , it’s probably will still be that they’re fighting for a playoff spot near the end of the season, but I can definitely see with how their schedule is, is kind of set up that they could fall into one of those holes like they did at the beginning.
Paul Garcia 28:25
Yeah, so you don’t find that as you saying that if they fall behind? See, I’m a little more like, you know, 30 listen to it to the Hawks and the Grizzlies. I feel like that’s even more a little bit more alarming the fact that they’re going to lose now road games that we know because they’ve had a really nice home schedule for themselves to begin the year and now it was and they’ve already lost three games there or four games. It’s harder for them, you know ifthey don’t win on the road right now. So, I would actually argue that, you know, it’s going to be a little bit you know, more, you know, risky for them if they start going out there on the road to and then falling in a hole. Just because like you mentioned there’s more there’s teams that have gotten better, you know, and in Phoenix and Dallas and Minnesota right now early on. We see Portland the Spurs, OKC obviously all slipped. And then you know you got those games, those weird ones where you play like the Grizzlies who can beat you or you got the Pelicans on a night when they get hotter, or somebody like that, or some of the teams out east, so so that’s interesting what we’ll kind of see what happens there. Yeah, so you know, we’ll see what happens Spurscast listeners, you know, by this time next time next week, we’ll see if the Spurs have won a few games or, you know, going on the road, we know that they don’t play well so they could end up losing a few more here, andnd they could be, you know, under 500 to start so early in the year, so we’ll kind of see what happens. And again, it’s kind of just for me, it’s a lot of it’s on the on the defensive end, you know, how are they going to shore up that area if they can’t, that’s the one thing Collin I think that that kind of gets lost in terms of watching this, you know, watching the Spurs for so many years and getting used to start with the big three. And then and then even though you know, when Timmy sort of retired, then Manu, then obviously, Tony, is the fact that like defense has always been coach Pop’s team’s backbone, it’s always been their backbone. They’ve never really had to worry about that and slipping up and now You know they’ve had in the past, you know, in what Tim and Tony and Manu, they had some seasons where they had, they had some tough offensive stretches, but they would survive in those games because again, they could always rely on their defense to hold the other team to certain amount of points. Well, now that’s not the case anymore. Like the minute they hit one of these lows, and they fall behind a 16 by 19 points, like we’re seeing these last two weeks, it’s over. I mean, they have a tough time coming back for those kind of outcomes, because again, they cannot stop the other team. So that’s why my focus, and that’s why I wanted to really spend a whole episode on defenses because that’s kind of, you know if the Spurs don’t have that as their backbone, then it’s going to be it’s going to be tough going forward, you know, and whether they’re going to get into the playoffs or not. It’s just going to be really tough for them going forward. All right, Collin, thanks for joining Spurscast Episode 560. Spurscast listeners if you’re on Twitter, please follow him at CollinReidPS again, that’s @CollinReidPS. Just a few reminders this week at Project Spurs what we have going on. Benjamin Bornstein released his latest prospect watch it’s over Obi Toppen I don’t know how to say that Obi Toppen by Ben Bornstein. Joe Garcia, Ben and Stephen Anderson all got together for the Spurs Takeover. That’s our postgame video that we’ve been running with two shots podcast. So go and check that out if you’d like. Stephen Anderson also has his three standout players article versus the Grizzlies. Vickie Villarreal wrote a piece called Tony Parker impacted the Spurs, league and San Antonio. So that’s kind of Vickie reflecting on Tony, you know, his jersey retirement and kind of the memories of him as a Spur. I actually had a piece if you want to read it about Trey Lyles, who’s actually playing really well on both ends, called Player Spotlight: Trey Lyles through nine games. And then thank you again to Michael De Leon for mixing and producing this episode. So for Collin Reid, I am Paul Garcia. Thank you. Have a great day.