Spurs now have a powerhouse of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, having Aldridge who had an all star season previously and the addition of another all star caliber wing player in DeRozan the expectations of Spurs would still be a strong playoff contending team. However Dejounte Murray sat out the season with an injury he picked up in pre season. Derrick White got more minutes and played more games he showed his potential, SA ended the season with a 48-34 record finishing 7th and eventually took the Denver Nuggets to a game 7 series which they lost. It was a tough season for Popovich and his team, Spurs dropped in defensive rating however offensively their rating went up, 2017-18 had an ORtg (offensive rating) of 107.9 which ranked 17th that season compared to the season after (2018-19) in which their ORtg was 112.9 which ranked 7th. Defense on the other hand had decreased in the 17-18 season they had DRtg (defensive rating) of 104.8 which ranked 3rd best in the NBA compared to their 18-19 season in which their DRtg was 111.2 which ranked 19th. Looking at the G-league Austin Spurs and their young prospect Lonnie Walker IV a very athletic wing player who has a confident shooting stroke and able to get to the basket, decent ISO player as well as having a very good vert. Coming into the 2019-20 season Lonnie was expected to become a starter or at least get 15-20 minutes per game.
The off-season and 2019-20 season the Spurs had drafted Luka Samanic, Keldon Johnson and Quinndary Weatherspoon. 3 very talented players who were immediately sent to the G league. Bertans was let go opening up cap space for Marcus Morris who decided to sign for the Knicks and the addition of Demarre Carroll and Trey Lyles. This season at the start Dejounte Murray was on minute restrictions, Lonnie Walker coming off the bench for 3 minutes, Demarre Caroll barely getting game time. Spurs currently rank 24th in DRtg but are 10th in ORtg. The Spurs are heading for their first losing record since the 1996-97 season. DeMar DeRozan has erupted in January playing All-Star basketball averaging 26.3 points on 56.9% shooting taking 16 shots per game, 6.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Poeltl has shined this season being one of the top rim protectors this season behind the Lopez brothers and MVP Giannis. Aldridge on 50% shooting with 13 shot attempts per game and averaging 19 points per game (In January). So where has it all gone wrong? The rotations, defensive and offensive plays and consistency.
There has been heavy criticism towards the rotations and minutes as well as play calling. At the start it seems Spurs did not want to play defense at all. Easy buckets, wide open 3s, mismatches and poor defensive readings. Bryn Forbes is not the best defender and it is clear to see in games a DRtg of 114.4 the worst on the team, not only this but mismatches hurt us too we are overwhelmed when we play bigs who are dominant in the paint we also allow 12.8 threes a game ranking us 25th our perimeter game needs to improve however the pace of the NBA is changing drastically. Offensively we usually look to DeRozan for points who occasionally will get fouled and won’t get called. We also go to Aldridge in the post a lot. We also see a lot of poor shot selection from a few players like Marco Belinelli and others. We often tend to run screens for Patty which does work very well, it also doesn’t help that we have a good vet in Demarre Carroll who is on the bench getting rookie minutes. DeMar is still a top isolation player and Aldridge is either a hit or miss player (LITERALLY) . The inconsistency in Aldridge’s game is a big problem for him, he will drop 20+ points one game then come back next game and drop 10 points there is no inbetween for him. It is very frustrating watching Spurs it might be time to accept it is over and it’s time for a tank and a rebuild and let the young players like Murray, White, Samanic and others take over. Instead of extending the contracts of DeRozan and Aldridge they should be traded for picks and possibly another young talented player for example Aaron Gordon.
With the trade deadline being over Spurs not moving any pieces or adding any it’s clear to see the Spurs might be missing the playoffs this year having to compete with teams like Grizzlies, Blazers, Pelicans and the Suns. DeRozan has been on all star path this year and has been a top scorer for us this season who should be on a top quality championship pushing team, we have tried to maintain a playoff push but it is hard to compete when the defense is not as strong as it should be it is also tough to fill the shoes of Kawhi Leonard. It is best for a tanking season instead of losing in the first round AGAIN, at the end we trade DeRozan and Aldridge and others and we start fresh ideally pick up some first round picks and young players like Aaron Gordon for example and pick up some ideal role players as well as back up centers or a new center if we wish to trade Poeltl too, we also need to see what vet players we can take on and sign to help grow young players like Murray and Lonnie and the future players we draft this year.