Will The Spurs Miss The Playoffs?

DeJounte Murray’s absence places a lot of emphasis on Patty Mills for the Spurs to make the playoffs. Can the 30-year-old meet expectation?

In August I posted on Twitter my half baked projections of the NBA standings for the upcoming 2018/19 season. I held high hopes for many, some teams I had no idea how we believed in them at all. Back in August, I looked at the San Antonio Spurs as an exciting dark horse to make a run at the Western Conference Title. No, really! With LaMarcus Aldridge coming off a All-NBA season and scorer DeMar DeRozan aiding him in the backcourt, the Spurs possess the ability to be the most electrifying team in their franchise’s history since George Gervin.

Unfortunately, the losses of forward Kyle Anderson to the Grizzlies in free agency, and Dejounte Murray to season ending ACL tear leaves two gigantic holes in the Spurs once well-rounded rotation. Previously, the Spurs were a Kawhi Leonard away from winning 50-games and possibly sneaking back into the final four. As unspectacular San Antonio was to watch, coach Gregg Popovich lead a team of responsible players who all tried very hard on both ends of the floor. Even Rudy Gay, the turnstile he is, seemed to have a come-to-Jesus moment upon entering the Spurs organization.

If you are to simply add DeRozan to this team who’s won 47-games without their MVP candidate and also subtract two-way wing player Danny Green, the ceiling for San Antonio is higher than we give them credit for. But, this is not the reality. History says never bet against the Spurs – it’s as foolish as proclaiming the Patriots dead in early September. Year, after year they’ve tended off the enviable regression. Unlike New England, fans aren’t crossing their fingers for their 41-year-old star to defy Father Time for another season. Aldridge and DeRozan are still relatively in their primes and are not fossilizing – at least right now.

To believe the Spurs can win over 45-games you need to believe there’s another level for 30-year-old Patty Mills to reach. Mills is a fine, adequate point guard. His field goal percentage fell off from 44% in 2016-17 during a contract season, to 41.1%. While a bounce back isn’t unexpected, the Spurs need more than just 44% of his shots to go into the hole. They’ll need Mills to pick up the slack on efficiency and on the defensive end, seeing as Aldridge and DeRozan aren’t much of defenders themselves. At 6-0 Mills isn’t intimidating no one, the Spurs regularly don’t make in-season trades but under these circumstances a call to Ainge inquiring him about Terry Rozier or to Cleveland for George Hill shouldn’t be ruled out.

Is this the year San Antonio finally falters and misses the playoffs? I certainly hope not. Not because I’ve adopted the Spurs as my second team, I just have too much respect for them and what they’ve accomplished in 20-years. If they are to regress, the Nuggets, Clippers and Lakers surely are the favorites to take their spot in the pecking order.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

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